new AT&T Wireless administration fee

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Don't sign the NDA unless they are offering something to you in return for signing the NDA... why give something up for nothing?

Success!
I spoke to their lawyer, and they offered to mark my account as having completed its contract. I'm now free to cancel service without paying an early termination fee. I will not lose my phone number, and I can keep my AT&T service on a month-by-month basis.
I told them I will accept the offer. They are sending paperwork for me to sign...

I did not sign the NDA.

Perhaps the reason that they waited until May 30th to settle is that it may be too late now for anyone who hasn't already complained about the additional fee. My notification was sent out in April. So, it may be that the 30 days has already past for all their customers. They don't want to encourage other customers to cancel their contracts.

ilikebtmoney said:   elektronic said:   bullorbear said:   BBB closed my case yesterday as AT&T was not giving up.

Got a call from AT&T attorney today regarding my dispute.

I have to sign a non disclosure agreement before we proceed with settlement talk.


Where in the contract does it say arbitration is contingent on signing an NDA?


It's not, this is part of their "settlement" process. Customer is under no obligation to sign this, but to hear their "best settlement" they require it. Will be curious to see it when it comes in...


It doesn't say anywhere in the agreement. I am thinking of not signing it.

I am going to laugh if they close your accounts after all this.

Crazytree said:   I am going to laugh if they close your accounts after all this.

For me, that is exactly what I want.. my bundle of iphones free and clear, and jump ship to T-Mobile with their father's day trade-in program. Very nice perks.. nice monthly savings.

Crazytree said:   I am going to laugh if they close your accounts after all this.

Just my experience as an arbitrator, but if they do this then the consumer is likely entitled to more money. I have had one case where a cell phone company did this after the consumer got in writing that they were to be released from the contract but had 90 days from the date of the letter to move to a different carrier so they could port to their number. The cell phone company closed their account on day 2. It went to arbitration, got to me, and the consumer got $1500 as they demonstrated it was a number they had for years and was also a contact number for their job.

Now, $1500 is to you I am sure pocket change, but most consumers would gladly exchange that kind of money for AT&T doing something like this.

I am getting multiple reports of settlement offers via PM and see some in this thread - congrats everyone! And yes, there is a reason why they waited until the end of the month - this way everyone who was scared of the process will think its to late.

Remember, though, that if you want to take advantage of this opportunity it is not to late. You have until the end of business tomorrow. What you would need to do tomorrow is get your notice of dispute postmarked AND call AT&T customer service and get it on the record that you formally dispute the fee increase.

A few suggestions to people settling:
(1) Do not agree to anything verbally without a contingency statement requiring that you get the offer in writing, they sometimes record the calls from the lawyer. If the AT&T lawyer offers you settlement over the phone, say something like "I accept your offer contingent upon receiving the terms we discussed in writing. I reserve my right to escalate this dispute in the event that I do not receive the terms we talked about in writing within 14 business days."
(2) If you want to port your number, make sure that is included as part of your settlement letter. Tell them that you want XX days (60-90, whatever works for you) to continue service without contract to port your number. This is important in case they cut off your number, as if they do now you have another arbitration claim are are likely to get some notable compensation for them breaking a settlement offer.
(3) Do not sign the NDA under any circumstances. You don't have to offer them a reason for your refusal. Tell them you decline, end of story. They do this sort of stunt because they rely on people not understanding their rights in the arbitration process. If they refuse to settle or imply their settlement would be less than normal because you don't sign a NDA, you now have further evidence in arbitration that their settlement negotiation was in bad faith. If they do this, tell them you will consider signing and to send you a copy of the NDA (do NOT SAY YOU WILL SIGN, say you will consider it). You are doing this to get a copy of the NDA so you can present it to the arbitrator at the hearing as evidence. Then when you get a copy, tell them you decline and escalate the claim.

Thank you Magika and others. I jumped on the bandwagon: called CSR and annotated disagreement with new fee and shipped off dispute letter.

magika said:   I am getting multiple reports of settlement offers via PM and see some in this thread - congrats everyone! And yes, there is a reason why they waited until the end of the month - this way everyone who was scared of the process will think its to late.

Remember, though, that if you want to take advantage of this opportunity it is not to late. You have until the end of business tomorrow. What you would need to do tomorrow is get your notice of dispute postmarked AND call AT&T customer service and get it on the record that you formally dispute the fee increase.

A few suggestions to people settling:
(1) Do not agree to anything verbally without a contingency statement requiring that you get the offer in writing, they sometimes record the calls from the lawyer. If the AT&T lawyer offers you settlement over the phone, say something like "I accept your offer contingent upon receiving the terms we discussed in writing. I reserve my right to escalate this dispute in the event that I do not receive the terms we talked about in writing within 14 business days."
(2) If you want to port your number, make sure that is included as part of your settlement letter. Tell them that you want XX days (60-90, whatever works for you) to continue service without contract to port your number. This is important in case they cut off your number, as if they do now you have another arbitration claim are are likely to get some notable compensation for them breaking a settlement offer.
(3) Do not sign the NDA under any circumstances. You don't have to offer them a reason for your refusal. Tell them you decline, end of story. They do this sort of stunt because they rely on people not understanding their rights in the arbitration process. If they refuse to settle or imply their settlement would be less than normal because you don't sign a NDA, you now have further evidence in arbitration that their settlement negotiation was in bad faith. If they do this, tell them you will consider signing and to send you a copy of the NDA (do NOT SAY YOU WILL SIGN, say you will consider it). You are doing this to get a copy of the NDA so you can present it to the arbitrator at the hearing as evidence. Then when you get a copy, tell them you decline and escalate the claim.


Thank you. Wasn't sure if I wanted to sign.

I do want to point out 100 days is available from bill date to send notice dispute.

Wireless Agreement said: IF YOU DISPUTE ANY CHARGES ON YOUR BILL, YOU MUST NOTIFY US IN WRITING AT AT&T BILL DISPUTE, 1025 Lenox PARK, ATLANTA, GA 30319 WITHIN 100 DAYS OF THE DATE OF THE BILL OR YOU’LL HAVE WAIVED YOUR RIGHT TO DISPUTE THE BILL AND TO PARTICIPATE IN ANY LEGAL ACTION RAISING SUCH DISPUTE.

I don't think that part of the agreement applies here, due to this:

AT&T said: IF WE INCREASE THE PRICE OF ANY OF THE SERVICES TO WHICH YOU SUBSCRIBE, BEYOND THE LIMITS SET FORTH IN YOUR CUSTOMER SERVICE SUMMARY, OR IF WE MATERIALLY DECREASE THE GEOGRAPHICAL AREA IN WHICH YOUR AIRTIME RATE APPLIES (OTHER THAN A TEMPORARY DECREASE FOR REPAIRS OR MAINTENANCE), WE’LL DISCLOSE THE CHANGE AT LEAST ONE BILLING CYCLE IN ADVANCE (EITHER THROUGH A NOTICE WITH YOUR BILL, A TEXT MESSAGE TO YOUR DEVICE, OR OTHERWISE), AND YOU MAY TERMINATE THIS AGREEMENT WITHOUT PAYING AN EARLY TERMINATION FEE OR RETURNING OR PAYING FOR ANY PROMOTIONAL ITEMS, PROVIDED YOUR NOTICE OF TERMINATION IS DELIVERED TO US WITHIN THIRTY (30) DAYS AFTER THE FIRST BILL REFLECTING THE CHANGE.

You have 100 days to dispute the item on the bill itself - the $0.61. But disputing that $0.61 won't get you out of the ETF. You have 30 days to notify them of your intention to get out of the ETF.

I'm in. Sent the notice of dispute yesterday by certified mail & called the CSR this morning to notate the dispute on my account.

My goal is to get out of my current contract & have 2 iPhones unlocked.

I hope to continue my AT&T service on a month to month basis. 4 lines - 2 iPhones/ 2 dumb phones for ~$200/month after 24% FAN discount.

magika said:   I don't think that part of the agreement applies here, due to this:

AT&T said: IF WE INCREASE THE PRICE OF ANY OF THE SERVICES TO WHICH YOU SUBSCRIBE, BEYOND THE LIMITS SET FORTH IN YOUR CUSTOMER SERVICE SUMMARY, OR IF WE MATERIALLY DECREASE THE GEOGRAPHICAL AREA IN WHICH YOUR AIRTIME RATE APPLIES (OTHER THAN A TEMPORARY DECREASE FOR REPAIRS OR MAINTENANCE), WE’LL DISCLOSE THE CHANGE AT LEAST ONE BILLING CYCLE IN ADVANCE (EITHER THROUGH A NOTICE WITH YOUR BILL, A TEXT MESSAGE TO YOUR DEVICE, OR OTHERWISE), AND YOU MAY TERMINATE THIS AGREEMENT WITHOUT PAYING AN EARLY TERMINATION FEE OR RETURNING OR PAYING FOR ANY PROMOTIONAL ITEMS, PROVIDED YOUR NOTICE OF TERMINATION IS DELIVERED TO US WITHIN THIRTY (30) DAYS AFTER THE FIRST BILL REFLECTING THE CHANGE.

You have 100 days to dispute the item on the bill itself - the $0.61. But disputing that $0.61 won't get you out of the ETF. You have 30 days to notify them of your intention to get out of the ETF.


Yea looks like it is 30 days.

I didn't sign NDA. Attorney told me its fine it is just a procedure they follow. He is going to write up a settlement offer and email it to me.

bunghole said:   I'm in. Sent the notice of dispute yesterday by certified mail & called the CSR this morning to notate the dispute on my account.

My goal is to get out of my current contract & have 2 iPhones unlocked.

I hope to continue my AT&T service on a month to month basis. 4 lines - 2 iPhones/ 2 dumb phones for ~$200/month after 24% FAN discount.


Question, I'm new here and just read the whole thread. I kinda wanted to do what you're hoping for, continued service on a month to month without contract - will they allow me to do that?

Btw thanks for all the amazing posts, esp magika! Thank you for all the help. I need to call AT&T and send my dispute today in the mail

Rayfire said:   
Question, I'm new here and just read the whole thread. I kinda wanted to do what you're hoping for, continued service on a month to month without contract - will they allow me to do that?

Btw thanks for all the amazing posts, esp magika! Thank you for all the help. I need to call AT&T and send my dispute today in the mail


I think you can do that. Attorney asked me if I wanted to stay with AT&T on a month to month service or transfer out.

AT&T would love to keep you as a customer. You just tell them that during settlement.

Successfully have gotten my ETF waived (signed a new contract in September) and will have iPhone 5 unlocked. Just waiting on the paperwork and refused to sign NDA. Very happy with results at this point.

magika said:   I don't think that part of the agreement applies here, due to this:

AT&T said: IF WE INCREASE THE PRICE OF ANY OF THE SERVICES TO WHICH YOU SUBSCRIBE, BEYOND THE LIMITS SET FORTH IN YOUR CUSTOMER SERVICE SUMMARY, OR IF WE MATERIALLY DECREASE THE GEOGRAPHICAL AREA IN WHICH YOUR AIRTIME RATE APPLIES (OTHER THAN A TEMPORARY DECREASE FOR REPAIRS OR MAINTENANCE), WE’LL DISCLOSE THE CHANGE AT LEAST ONE BILLING CYCLE IN ADVANCE (EITHER THROUGH A NOTICE WITH YOUR BILL, A TEXT MESSAGE TO YOUR DEVICE, OR OTHERWISE), AND YOU MAY TERMINATE THIS AGREEMENT WITHOUT PAYING AN EARLY TERMINATION FEE OR RETURNING OR PAYING FOR ANY PROMOTIONAL ITEMS, PROVIDED YOUR NOTICE OF TERMINATION IS DELIVERED TO US WITHIN THIRTY (30) DAYS AFTER THE FIRST BILL REFLECTING THE CHANGE.

You have 100 days to dispute the item on the bill itself - the $0.61. But disputing that $0.61 won't get you out of the ETF. You have 30 days to notify them of your intention to get out of the ETF.


So what exactly does "AFTER THE FIRST BILL REFLECTING THE CHANGE" mean?

Does it mean the blurb on my April bill "Effective May 1, 2013, the Administrative Fee will be $0.61 per line per month for Consumer and Individual Responsibility User IRU) lines."

Or does it mean when the $0.61 per line Administrative fee is a line item on the May bill?

iamwildbill said:   Successfully have gotten my ETF waived (signed a new contract in September) and will have iPhone 5 unlocked. Just waiting on the paperwork and refused to sign NDA. Very happy with results at this point.

Well done!

This is exactly the result I'm hoping for.

bunghole said:   iamwildbill said:   Successfully have gotten my ETF waived (signed a new contract in September) and will have iPhone 5 unlocked. Just waiting on the paperwork and refused to sign NDA. Very happy with results at this point.

Well done!

This is exactly the result I'm hoping for.


Of all the crazy things I've done through FW, this was up there as one of the easiest.

I just found out about this fee. Tried calling AT&T customer care, but the agent I spoke to was a complete douche. Was cocky and kept saying things like, "you think our lawyers havent figured everything out?"
So is it too late for arbitration? How do I proceed?

I called and was transferred to IRU retention.

They credited me $10 a month off my text message package for as long as I am with ATT. Thats $120 a year savings. Nice!

Thats great! Did you threaten with arbitration?

Rayfire said:   
Question, I'm new here and just read the whole thread. I kinda wanted to do what you're hoping for, continued service on a month to month without contract - will they allow me to do that?


You can do this but you'll need to make it a specific condition of the settlement offer. Otherwise they will assume you want to port out.

By the way, if anyone is reading this and still thinking about doing it before the close of business: AT&T CS reps are flat out lying people today telling them that if they arbitrate the customer has to pay the fees ($125). This is a lie, AT&T has to pay all the fees, do not listen to CS reps on this (theme of this entire exercise, in my opinion - don't listen to the CS reps).

bunghole said:   
So what exactly does "AFTER THE FIRST BILL REFLECTING THE CHANGE" mean?

Does it mean the blurb on my April bill "Effective May 1, 2013, the Administrative Fee will be $0.61 per line per month for Consumer and Individual Responsibility User IRU) lines."

Or does it mean when the $0.61 per line Administrative fee is a line item on the May bill?


When I initially saw this I thought "reflecting the changes" would actually mean the May bill as that is when the changes are in effect and when you are impacted (different from the announcement, which is just informing you of the changes).

But when interpreting contract timelines with arbitrators it is usually always best to be as conservative as possible. Which is why I have been beating the drum about everyone who wants to do this getting it done before June 1, because in doing so you don't even give AT&T the chance to bring up the timeline argument. I strongly suspect AT&T lawyers also interpret it that way, as they waited until the end of May to begin offering settlements.

I think you could probably still win arbitration arguing "reflecting the change" means 30 days after the May bill, so end of June, using the "clear and everyday language" standard. But generally you never want to give your opponents in arbitration the ability to argue about procedural issues, because even if they are wrong about it AT&T will use it to derail you from your main arguments.

So overall, I think you could reasonably probably do this process until 30 days after your May bill, but I wouldn't advise anyone do so. More work to do it that way and adding an additional layer of complexity to any hearing that might occur if you don't settle.

I just called AT&T, cocky CSR said we have a right to increase the fees and its in the agreement. I did mentioned that I can go to arbitration. Supervisor only offered to waive the fee for 1 year. Didnt bite on that offer. Just came back and filed notice of dispute form. Hope I am not too late.

arpitd said:   I just called AT&T, cocky CSR said we have a right to increase the fees and its in the agreement. I did mentioned that I can go to arbitration. Supervisor only offered to waive the fee for 1 year. Didnt bite on that offer. Just came back and filed notice of dispute form. Hope I am not too late.

Your fine as long as its postmarked today (and really I think you have a reasonable argument until end of next month although I don't advise it, as described above). If you have not mailed it yet I recommend you use something that has tracking so no one can dispute it got into the mail today.

Just to throw out another data point for those who only want a credit... I called and the frontline CSR couldn't do anything but when she transferred to their retention dept, they gave a credit of exactly the amount the fee would affect the contract (0.61 * number of lines * number of months).

IMO, and I'm not an attorney, but if what att has done is a material change, ie breach, of the contract, then where do they get off trying to enforce a 30day time frame to give notice. They can't enforce a voided contract for anything.

The issue I have is I can't find a better carrier, or better price, and might be better served, as just accepting this as a inflation adjustment.

magika said:   Rayfire said:   
Question, I'm new here and just read the whole thread. I kinda wanted to do what you're hoping for, continued service on a month to month without contract - will they allow me to do that?


You can do this but you'll need to make it a specific condition of the settlement offer. Otherwise they will assume you want to port out.


Do you mind helping out how to do it? Sorry, I tried to PM but I don't think I can yet.

My brother called and initially got a one time $25 credit, but after he heard about my luck with getting the $10 off a month he called back and was able to get the same deal.

I am happy with ATT, much happier now that its $10 cheaper a month for unlimited texts and will save me $120 a year.

Good luck getting that same deal everyone!

livedog said:   Don't sign the NDA unless they are offering something to you in return for signing the NDA... why give something up for nothing?

I don't give away my free speech rights, but I could be persuaded to sell them.
ATT wouldn't like my price though, it starts around $5k for something minor like this.
My civil rights are important to me.

Yesterday when I called, the CSR told me the fee was a Federal Gov't fee that they had to pass along to us. I immediately asked to talk to a supervisor and told him he should be VERY careful about having his CSR's call this a Gov't fee, as that would be fraud. He apologized and said he would make sure no one called it that. Then after about an hour arguing he agreed to the $25 credit. That's all I really wanted.

Just to be clear, I don't want a credit, I don't want to switch service, I just want to be out of the contract and go month-to-month and specified as much in my written dispute. Happy to update as it progresses.

My contract is over in 3 months. They give me $25 and I give them .61*3=$1.83. In 3 months I'll prob go prepaid. Unlocked WP8 phone with a slight mod to a Net10 SIM and I'm back on AT&T unlimited everything month to month for $45

Rayfire said:   

Do you mind helping out how to do it? Sorry, I tried to PM but I don't think I can yet.


Your request for remedy in the brief and in the letter of intent should go something like:

"AT&T Wireless shall follow the terms of the contract and remove the early termination fee (ETF) from account #XXXXX. Effective immediately upon the removal of the ETF, the customer shall continue to have service with AT&T on a month-to-month basis."

I didn't see this until today, so I'm past 30 days from the date of notice. Just asked billing for $15 credit for the cost of the fee for 2 years and got the $15 credit. Should have asked for more I guess, but only took 5 min to call, no argument from ATT.


Rayfire said:   magika said:   Rayfire said:   
Question, I'm new here and just read the whole thread. I kinda wanted to do what you're hoping for, continued service on a month to month without contract - will they allow me to do that?


You can do this but you'll need to make it a specific condition of the settlement offer. Otherwise they will assume you want to port out.


Do you mind helping out how to do it? Sorry, I tried to PM but I don't think I can yet.


You'll eventually talk with one of the AT&T lawyers to finalize the settlement. I did not specify that I wanted to be on month-to-month until I spoke to the lawyer.

iamwildbill said:   Rayfire said:   magika said:   Rayfire said:   
Question, I'm new here and just read the whole thread. I kinda wanted to do what you're hoping for, continued service on a month to month without contract - will they allow me to do that?


You can do this but you'll need to make it a specific condition of the settlement offer. Otherwise they will assume you want to port out.


Do you mind helping out how to do it? Sorry, I tried to PM but I don't think I can yet.


You'll eventually talk with one of the AT&T lawyers to finalize the settlement. I did not specify that I wanted to be on month-to-month until I spoke to the lawyer.


Thanks for the tip! This is my first time, so I guess it's a waiting game for now since they have 30 days to respond.

Well, I have a stupid question and i think i might have been a huge ASS for not paying enough attention. Encouraged by the posts here, i did send in a notice of dispute via certified mail to ATT that i am not satisfied about the new admin fee and i want out. Due to absurd habit of automating stuff, i had my account on autopay. I saw my email today and ATT pulled in the payment last night. Will this have any effect on the arbitration process at all?

Rayfire said:   
Thanks for the tip! This is my first time, so I guess it's a waiting game for now since they have 30 days to respond.


They called me within 4 days of receiving my notice of arbitration. Lawyer was very polite and basically knew exactly what I wanted done (back-date my contract to ultimately complete my contract early).



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