ATT: Why do we pay the bill a month in advance?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by puma1552, Nov 14, 2011.

  1. puma1552 macrumors 601

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    #1
    I just got my first AT&T bill, and paid it, which was $385 for two phones, which is about what I expected since there was activation charges and I had to pay a prorated bill from the date I ordered the 4S until November 8th, and a bill for 11/09/11-12/08/11.

    My question is, what is the point of paying a phone bill a month in advance? Given that it's a service that can fluctuate in charge based on usage, wouldn't it make more sense to use the service, then get billed for the service you used?

    I can't understand why AT&T bills you a month in advance, so if someone could shed some light on it, I'd appreciate it.
     
  2. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere

    Applejuiced

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    #2
    Every wireless carrier does the same I believe.
     
  3. Digidesign macrumors 6502

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    Jan 7, 2002
    #3
    AT&T has their convoluted ways of doing things. We noticed this too with our phone bills. I think the rep said that it's because of how their systems work, when you start, they have to charge the full billing cycle. But after a billing cycle or two, you should be billed normally.
     
  4. DryEyez macrumors 6502

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    Nov 21, 2010
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    UK
    #4
    In the UK we are billed after the month cycle...Also $385 dollars, holy crap, you guys in the US get ripped off, additional charges or not...In the UK you can have TWO iPhone 4S for £35 per line, which is £70 so around $100 per month? That's unlimited data and pretty much unlimited text and voice.

    Crazy US phone carriers
     
  5. nostresshere macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    #5
    Phone companies have billed in advance for a long time. The monthly charges are fixed, and only certain usage changes.

    Could they bill AFTER the month ends? Sure they could. And, if they did, there were be an increase in the rates.

    Why an increase? Cause the current billings assumes they get the money in advance. If it comes later, then they have to make it up somewhere. They would also have to raise rates to account for the people that do not pay and eventually get shut off. It is all cooked into the business model - something most people forget, and even more have no idea how it works.

    It is just the way it is.
     
  6. Shadowbech macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2011
    #6
    Are you sure? Because I'm on AT&T and I get billed for the last month usage. Right now is november. My cycle starts on the 8th of every month. The bill I just got is from 10/8/11 - 11/7/1. But it doesn't go out the bank yet. I do have auto pay set up so it will go out of my bank automatically at end of each month.
     
  7. Stealthipad macrumors 68040

    Stealthipad

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    #7
    Me too, I do not understand what the OP is talking about.
     
  8. tardman91 macrumors 6502a

    tardman91

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    #8
    That's how my Verizon bill works. There's a reason they call it a post-paid account. The first month's bill is always screwy because of the pro-rated stuff.
     
  9. jca24 macrumors 6502a

    jca24

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    #9
    were you with the old att wireless before cingular bought them?
     
  10. bobr1952 macrumors 68020

    bobr1952

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    Melbourne, FL
    #10
    I too get billed after. I have auto pay set up and my bill was paid on Nov 6 for the period Sep 14-Oct 13. I did have Cingular before it was bought by ATT.
     
  11. Josh125 macrumors 6502

    Josh125

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    #11
    VZW does this as mentioned as well. I just got my first bill with them. Also, cable companies also do this or at least Comcrap does.
     
  12. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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  13. puma1552 thread starter macrumors 601

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    Nov 20, 2008
    #13
    If that's the case, then I should have a month where no bill is due?

    Have a look (just a portion of the bill):

    [​IMG]

    I paid a prorated bill for 10/14-11/08 which makes sense, but ALSO the bill in full for 11/09-12/08. This is what I expected, since that's what the rep told me when I bought the phone, but it's a pretty stupid way to bill for wireless service IMO. Still don't see why this is a logical way to do things.
     
  14. Wide opeN macrumors 6502

    Wide opeN

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    Aug 27, 2010
    #14
    Yeah AT&T Wireless was the last carrier I knew who billed in arrears.
     
  15. Krandor macrumors 6502

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    Jul 15, 2010
    #15
    A lot of places with service like to bill in advance. The reason being that if you use the service and then don't pay for it after you used it there is no easy way to take a service back. As opposed to say a car that can be repossessed. So billing in advance often saves service companies money by reducing their liability for people who don't pay. A cell phone is often seen as a luxury so even though they can turn off the service there are people who would be fine with that and then just go on leaving AT&T in a bind trying to collect for service already rendered.

    Bottom line - businesses prefer money up front because it is easier then trying to collect money after the customer already has used the service.
     
  16. jca24 macrumors 6502a

    jca24

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    DFW
    #16
    Correct. If you were an old att wireless customer, then cingular, then att, your bills are in arrears.

    If you became a customer during the cingular days thru now, you are billed a month in advance.
     
  17. admanimal macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2005
    #17
    I became an AT&T customer in 2008 (i.e. with the iPhone 3G) and I am billed for the previous month. For example, my current outstanding bill, which is due 11/28, is for activity from 10/3 to 11/2.
     
  18. fizzwinkus macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 27, 2008
    #18
    seems to be a funny way to run your postpaid customers, as opposed to your prepaid customers...
     
  19. Sandman1969 macrumors 6502a

    Sandman1969

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    #19
    Yeah my AT&T bill just shot up for this month.

    It was $168 for two phones.

    Halfway through October (that I already paid for) I added a third line (my mother-in-law on wife's old 3GS) and bumped wife's 200MB plan to 2GB and then at end of month bumped her to a 4gb tethered.

    My bill is $303 and I am trying to figure out why my wife's total data bill is over 80 bucks.

    I expected it to be more with the In-Law's activation and prorated phone and data but that total surprised me.
     
  20. hexonxonx macrumors 601

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    Denver Colorado
    #20
    Correct, it's the same with every carrier, Sprint and Verizon included.
     
  21. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere

    Applejuiced

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    #21
    Weird how people still dont get how contracts and subsidies work, prorated charges and monthly bills etc....
    Its all been the same for what the last 15+ years with wireless carriers?
     
  22. hexonxonx macrumors 601

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    Jul 4, 2007
    Location:
    Denver Colorado
    #22
    That's right. All carriers will take the few days from when you activated the account and add those few days on to the first full months bill so the first bill will always be a bit more than what you would normally pay.

    I've had cell phone bills since 1993 or so and the bill was always a month in advance. I think even back in the old pager days, the bill was in advance as well.
     

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