new AT&T Wireless administration fee

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iamwildbill said:   
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).

Nice to know. I hope I get a polite one too, I'm just really after getting out of a contract w/o ETF and continue a month to month service.

Am I too late to the party? My GF wants to do this and would need my help.

nope not too late , call and be nice... do not accept first offer ask to speak to retention dept.

I sent my notice of dispute in last week, and they got it on 31 May. Anyone know what the time frame is for them contacting you? Is it a phone call? An email?

For those who have been successful, was the notice of dispute enough, or did you have to send a notice of intent for arbitration too?

Finally, my state consumer protection board sent them a letter on my behalf too. Is that going to complicate things?

TheDP said:   I sent my notice of dispute in last week, and they got it on 31 May. Anyone know what the time frame is for them contacting you? Is it a phone call? An email?

For those who have been successful, was the notice of dispute enough, or did you have to send a notice of intent for arbitration too?

Finally, my state consumer protection board sent them a letter on my behalf too. Is that going to complicate things?


You will get a phone call by second week. I am still having discussions with AT&T attorney we haven't settled yet. Which state are you in?. California utilities commission is just sitting on my complaint. I don't think it should be a problem.

Thanks! I'm in Maryland, and a mediator called me on Tuesday and mailed a letter to the ATT CEO on Thursday. Just didn't want that to complicate a pretty straightforward interaction.

So you're still negotiating to settle with ATT? What's the sticking point?

AT&T did not attempt to call me, nor did they attempt to settle with me. Instead they sent me this letter (yay blurry iPhone camera) - looks like I will be going to arbitration?

Did you send a notice of dispute letter to the right address?. Did you use forms from this link?.
You should receive an acknowledgement letter from AT&T after their legal department received letter.

TheDP said:   Thanks! I'm in Maryland, and a mediator called me on Tuesday and mailed a letter to the ATT CEO on Thursday. Just didn't want that to complicate a pretty straightforward interaction.

So you're still negotiating to settle with ATT? What's the sticking point?


Negotiating on refund of my bills.

I mailed mine here:
Office for Dispute Resolution, AT&T, 1025 Lenox Park Blvd., Atlanta, GA 30319

instead of General Council. Would that make a difference?

You are fine I sent to same address.

calwatch said:   AT&T did not attempt to call me, nor did they attempt to settle with me. Instead they sent me this letter (yay blurry iPhone camera) - looks like I will be going to arbitration?

That is a bizarre response - check the address - did you send it to the "general inquiries" address by mistake perhaps? If you sent it to the address outline in the arbitration provisions, then write back saying:

"To Whom It May Concern:

Your response is not satisfactory. Consider this letter as notice that I wish to escalate this matter to arbitration. as provided in the customer agreement."

If you send it to the right address keep both this letter and the tracking info. The only type of billing change I am aware of in the agreement that requires them to notify a customer in advance of an increase is a material change. They both admit they did that and then claim its not a materially change. Wrong answer. Enter it into evidence at the arbitration hearing as Exhibit #1 of bad faith.

okashiraaa said:   Am I too late to the party? My GF wants to do this and would need my help.

You realistically have until the end of June (or 30 days from when the fee appeared on your statement for may, whichever comes first).

By the way, if anyone escalates this to arbitration and your letter of intent was after June 1, PM me or post something here if you are going to use my brief. I probably need to add an section to preempt the AT&T argument that you are to late by waiting after June 1, which is a procedural argument I think they would bring up at the hearing to try to derail you.

ant1271 said:   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?

I have received several PMs about this so just so everyone knows - no, in fact you should continue to pay your bill. You calling them and getting it on your customer file that you formally dispute the charge is sufficient. The arbitrator understands that if you fail to pay even the $0.61 cents part of the bill, they will charge late fees and eventually put you in collections. Just make sure you include the $0.61 for every month you've paid it as a required part of your settlement or part of the requested remedy at arbitration.

Is it reasonable to ask the attorney for the $0.61 per line back, in addition to say $125 for my time/effort and for breach of contract as part of the settlement? This of course would be on top of ETF waived. I figured if AT&T can charge me $325 minus $10 for each month I am with them for breaking the contract, I can charge them XXX amount for their breach of the contract.

Ironmonkey696 said:   Is it reasonable to ask the attorney for the $0.61 per line back, in addition to say $125 for my time/effort and for breach of contract as part of the settlement? This of course would be on top of ETF waived. I figured if AT&T can charge me $325 minus $10 for each month I am with them for breaking the contract, I can charge them XXX amount for their breach of the contract.

The problem that comes into play is.. X dollars (and that X is finding the certain threshold that may be difficult for them to do) when it comes to how they... do things.

Ie: backdating a contract is a simple change they have access to do in the system, where issuing a 3 figure credit may bring about additional operational issues in how they do things. They may have to involve other parties, etc. It's a big company. I'm just guessing.. but speaking from experiencing in how these things normally work for large companies. The less "type" of things you ask for is often far easier to work with as it involves less teams/depts.

But.. they may very well have easy $$$ capabilities as well. I think it's getting far more risky to ask.

For me, getting out was enough and keeping my phones.. I'm happy with that, all done and gone from ATT now

calwatch said:   AT&T did not attempt to call me, nor did they attempt to settle with me. Instead they sent me this letter (yay blurry iPhone camera) - looks like I will be going to arbitration?

FWIW, I got an email from an AT&T Customer Account Management about the letter from my state's consumer protection office, and it is pretty much word for word what is in this letter. Make sure you send your notice of dispute to the right office.

ilikebtmoney said:   Ironmonkey696 said:   Is it reasonable to ask the attorney for the $0.61 per line back, in addition to say $125 for my time/effort and for breach of contract as part of the settlement? This of course would be on top of ETF waived. I figured if AT&T can charge me $325 minus $10 for each month I am with them for breaking the contract, I can charge them XXX amount for their breach of the contract.

The problem that comes into play is.. X dollars (and that X is finding the certain threshold that may be difficult for them to do) when it comes to how they... do things.

Ie: backdating a contract is a simple change they have access to do in the system, where issuing a 3 figure credit may bring about additional operational issues in how they do things. They may have to involve other parties, etc. It's a big company. I'm just guessing.. but speaking from experiencing in how these things normally work for large companies. The less "type" of things you ask for is often far easier to work with as it involves less teams/depts.

But.. they may very well have easy $$$ capabilities as well. I think it's getting far more risky to ask.

For me, getting out was enough and keeping my phones.. I'm happy with that, all done and gone from ATT now


To me it would be interesting to see how far they would go to avoid arbitration. Suppose they don't accept my $xxx demand, we would go into arbitration. If it's a win for me (likely), they would have to pay for arbitration and accept the remedies in addition to the potential $10k. If I lose, I may have to pay for some of the arbitration, still be under contract (which is fine), and still pay for $0.61 per line. Doesn't sound risky for me, lol.

Appreciate the continued replies and play-by-play from our members. Incredibly helpful.

Here's the letter I just received re: Notice of Dispute. Side note, I was already contacted and received paperwork from the lawyer before getting this in the mail today...

Ironmonkey696 said:   
To me it would be interesting to see how far they would go to avoid arbitration. Suppose they don't accept my $xxx demand, we would go into arbitration. If it's a win for me (likely), they would have to pay for arbitration and accept the remedies in addition to the potential $10k. If I lose, I may have to pay for some of the arbitration, still be under contract (which is fine), and still pay for $0.61 per line. Doesn't sound risky for me, lol.


One thing I have learned in consumer arbitration is the company - although it should be acting in its own financial best interests by settling in these cases - occasionally does stupid things. Getting money for your time outside of arbitration will tend to be more difficult, but you can ask. The settlement people tend to have a boundary that they can negotiate in and cannot go higher than X, but they won't tell you what X is. X in this case certainly includes releasing you from the contract and paying you the $0.61 every month that youve paid it, but as for cash on top of it for your troubles I think its going to be more difficult to get it. You can try - most they can do is say no - but if you do just be aware they may escalate even if they know they are going to lose.

I think anyone would ultimately prevail in arbitration but that process is a lot more involved than settling. AT&T would not be the first company to escalate after refusing to settle even though they objectively knew it was cheaper for them to settle. People ultimately have to decide what their time is worth in getting more $$ from formal arbitration vs settling. Plus, although again I think its highly likely you will win in arbitration, its never a sure thing. Is it worth it to give up a 100% win via settlement for a 85%-90% chance of winning at arbitration? Depends on the individual, I think.

calwatch said:   AT&T did not attempt to call me, nor did they attempt to settle with me. Instead they sent me this letter (yay blurry iPhone camera) - looks like I will be going to arbitration?

'We didn't raise the price by 0.61 per month, we just added a fee to enhance our profitability, and you can't avoid the ETF because we didn't change the price.'

Would that pack of lies qualify as mail fraud according to the postal inspectors?

Looks like I sent this to the billing dispute address not to the address on the Notice of Dispute arbitration form, so here it goes again (with the mailing receipt and the letter above included as evidence).

I just got a phone call and got a appology with saying they would remove ETF from my account. Is it end of this whole story or something more?

I also just got a call from AT&T. Said non disclosure was required to begin negotiations. I refused to sign it so she then began negotiations lol. I was offered waiver of ETF and one month of admin fee both of which I paid after I ported my number. Didnt want to look like I acted in bad faith by not paying my bill. I'll have to wait until later in June to see what is left on my account tho. I sorta like the idea of AT&T mailing me a check for $.61 kekeke

<double post sorry>

Just spoke with AT&T again after having everything supposedly cleared by the lawyer. Even though the contract has been backdated and I'm month-to-month, they didn't move the upgrade eligibility date. So even though I'm not under contract, I can't upgrade to a new phone with upgrade pricing until 18 months after I upgraded my last phone (currently listed as 4/14).

Having someone at AT&T work on trying to get that sorted out. Long story short, you may want to include that in your settlement info since I neglected to think that would be an issue.

iamwildbill said:   Just spoke with AT&T again after having everything supposedly cleared by the lawyer. Even though the contract has been backdated and I'm month-to-month, they didn't move the upgrade eligibility date. So even though I'm not under contract, I can't upgrade to a new phone with upgrade pricing until 18 months after I upgraded my last phone (currently listed as 4/14).

Having someone at AT&T work on trying to get that sorted out. Long story short, you may want to include that in your settlement info since I neglected to think that would be an issue.


Cancel Service and sign up again?

Duplicated

duplicated.

alamo11 said:   
Cancel Service and sign up again?


Sell the new phones and stick the SIM cards back in the old ones?

alamo11 said:   iamwildbill said:   Just spoke with AT&T again after having everything supposedly cleared by the lawyer. Even though the contract has been backdated and I'm month-to-month, they didn't move the upgrade eligibility date. So even though I'm not under contract, I can't upgrade to a new phone with upgrade pricing until 18 months after I upgraded my last phone (currently listed as 4/14).

Having someone at AT&T work on trying to get that sorted out. Long story short, you may want to include that in your settlement info since I neglected to think that would be an issue.


Cancel Service and sign up again?


Doesn't work if you want the same phone number. They sounded like they wouldn't have a problem making an adjustment (getting a call back tomorrow), but just something to keep in mind for those of you planning in just upgrading to a new phone right away.

iamwildbill said:   alamo11 said:   iamwildbill said:   Just spoke with AT&T again after having everything supposedly cleared by the lawyer. Even though the contract has been backdated and I'm month-to-month, they didn't move the upgrade eligibility date. So even though I'm not under contract, I can't upgrade to a new phone with upgrade pricing until 18 months after I upgraded my last phone (currently listed as 4/14).

Having someone at AT&T work on trying to get that sorted out. Long story short, you may want to include that in your settlement info since I neglected to think that would be an issue.


Cancel Service and sign up again?


Doesn't work if you want the same phone number. They sounded like they wouldn't have a problem making an adjustment (getting a call back tomorrow), but just something to keep in mind for those of you planning in just upgrading to a new phone right away.


A bit of a hassle, but port numbers out to Tmobile prepaid SIMS and then port back to At&t?

iamwildbill said:   
Doesn't work if you want the same phone number. They sounded like they wouldn't have a problem making an adjustment (getting a call back tomorrow), but just something to keep in mind for those of you planning in just upgrading to a new phone right away.


Buy a Tracfone for $10 and port the number to that. Probably easiest to get one with P4 on the barcode sticker on the package, means it comes with ATT SIM card.
Then get a new contract phone and port the number in from Tracfone.

I spent an hour with CSRs, went to three supervisors to no avail. They all refused to give me their ID numbers and their titles held in the company apart from "manager".

They said they'd call me back in 72 hours, but I'm just going to ahead with arbitration.

I am sending the notice first thing tomorrow. I should be fine since the bill that includes this fee is not due until June 11, so it isn't 30 days?

Thanks everyone!

iamwildbill said:   Just spoke with AT&T again after having everything supposedly cleared by the lawyer. Even though the contract has been backdated and I'm month-to-month, they didn't move the upgrade eligibility date. So even though I'm not under contract, I can't upgrade to a new phone with upgrade pricing until 18 months after I upgraded my last phone (currently listed as 4/14).

Having someone at AT&T work on trying to get that sorted out. Long story short, you may want to include that in your settlement info since I neglected to think that would be an issue.


Thanks for letting us know! I'm waiting for them to call me too. I'm trying to figure out how to word the moving of the upgrade eligibility date, currently I have what magika suggested:

"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."

should I just say after the clause "effective immediately", move my upgrade eligibility date to (insert today's date) ?

Rayfire said:   
Thanks for letting us know! I'm waiting for them to call me too. I'm trying to figure out how to word the moving of the upgrade eligibility date, currently I have what magika suggested:

"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."

should I just say after the clause "effective immediately", move my upgrade eligibility date to (insert today's date) ?


I would just tell them to include language that backdates the contract as well as the upgrade eligibility date. The lawyer will end up putting together all of the paperwork with a list of what AT&T will do for you.

My negotiations with AT&T stalled. At this point I am waiting for 30 day period to end to send out arbitration forms. They offered to let my two phones transferred out without ETF. Point of contention was on refund of bills for May, June and compensation for the trouble I went through.

I have been fighting this since April 4th. Its been 2 months. I gave a detailed explanation of what I have done so far and why I had to do so much.

If they had let me go in April I would have happily switched over to TMobile and not paid service charges to AT&T for May & June. So I asked for refund of May, June bills and compensation for time spent. They declined on both.

I am also writing a letter to my state and federal AG about AT&Ts fraud to tell customers that its a federal fee.

I can confirm that AT&T corporate is reading this thread (someone mentioned "fatwallet finance" in their negotiations). It came to me through the professional grapevine, as it were. So I hate to say this on here as they are reading but everyone needs to know this so you know what to expect - they don't (contractually) have to move your upgrade eligibility date. The contract only requires they release you from the ETF - when they choose to give you your next free upgrade is up to them. That doesn't mean you won't get it - you still could - but they have no contractual obligation to do so and you wouldn't get it at arbitration (although your likely to get more in terms of compensation at arbitration, which may make no free upgrade anytime soon very worth it). If you really want to stick with AT&T and upgrade again, the quickest thing to do is to port away and port back like its been said here.

Bullorbear - How much compensation are you asking for? Two phones out of ETF + two months bill refunds is probably near their max limit for negotiation. In arbitration you are not likely got both refunds for your bills (beyond what you paid in the $0.61 fee) AND compensation for your time, unless you can prove gross negligence (keep absolutely meticulous records for this one, as well as a journal detailing any customer service abuses).

Happyzaza - You should be fine. I think while it was better for procedural reasons to do this before June 1, you have up until 30 days past when the fee is charged on your bill (July 11, in your case) to send the notice of dispute. Just make sure you record down all the information you can about the times you called because it sounds like they didn't want to put it on your account that you disputed the fee.

First rule of FWF is don't talk about FWF! If ever there were an argument for using an alt....
Thanks for the heads up, Magika.

iamwildbill said:   Just spoke with AT&T again after having everything supposedly cleared by the lawyer. Even though the contract has been backdated and I'm month-to-month, they didn't move the upgrade eligibility date. So even though I'm not under contract, I can't upgrade to a new phone with upgrade pricing until 18 months after I upgraded my last phone (currently listed as 4/14).

Having someone at AT&T work on trying to get that sorted out. Long story short, you may want to include that in your settlement info since I neglected to think that would be an issue.


Just checked the website and I'm now showing that I'm eligible for a full upgrade discount. Very happy with my experience. Not happy that I'm paying an extra $0.61 a month, but happy that I'm contract free and eligible to upgrade six months into my contract.



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