new AT&T Wireless administration fee

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My clandestine sources within AT&T corporate tell me that they are overwhelmed right now - so while they aren't intentionally ignoring everyone, they did not expect this volume of response (FWF effect?).

If you have not received a letter within 30 days, consider sending what I suggested earlier in the thread:
Me said: On Date XX, 2013 I sent a letter disputing the $0.61 administrative fee recently imposed by AT&T as a material breach of contract in accordance with the process set out in the customer agreement. This letter was received by AT&T on Date XX, 2013I (see USPS Tracking #XXXX). Over 30 days have passed since this letter was received, and I have not been contacted. I have acted in good faith to resolve this issue, and I am concerned that AT&T is acting in bad faith by not complying with its own time table guidelines for disputes. In the event this matter is escalated to arbitration, I will present AT&T's failure to respond to my first and any subsequent letters within the time table provided by the customer agreement as evidence of bad faith negotiation. Please reply to this letter within 14 business days, you can reach me by <phone number> or <email>.

Remember to print out all the tracking info and send them a second letter pointing out their failure and giving them an additional two weeks to correct it. This is actually good news believe it or not, as you now get more leverage. Failing to respond on time lines is a very bad thing in arbitration, and it gives you a procedural argument against them. Now they must answer not only the procedural argument that their position is void because they failed to follow the contract time tables, but they must also answer the merits as well.

Essentially, you have them cornered when they do things like this. The best thing for you as a customer to do is to be the epitome of politeness on the record yet request they abide by their own time tables. You end up looking like a patient flexible customer by doing that, which only helps your case. Every time they fail to respond after you make a request for them to do so (after the first 30 days have elapsed), your potential arbitration award is that much larger.

Over on SD people are saying that they have been receiving $50-100 credits and getting out of contract without talking to the lawyers. Apparently some of them have just received letters in the mail in the past 2-3 days.

Success. I was going to write a followup letter this weekend, but today in the mail I received a letter from AT&T saying they have waived my ETF fees for my two lines and I can continue service on a month-to-month basis. They also gave me a $50 credit. I verified online and it says that I am no longer under contract and it shows the $50 credit. It says I was ineligible for a phone upgrade, but since I plan on canceling service that isn't a concern for me.

I didn't have to talk to anyone or sign anything. In my original letter I stated that I wanted to not pay the ETF fee and switch to month-to-month. I guess they assumed that if they gave me what I wanted plus $50 I would be ok with it. I would have liked to get one month of service credited since they took over 30 days to get back to me (about $100), but I'll go with $50 since it was easy and no hassle was required.

Thanks especially to magika for your insight and advice on the process, I might not have spent the time on this otherwise.

Congrats Radium

Fingers crossed on mine. My letter was received in June 18th.

Hey everyone, just to let you all know that I received a letter yesterday letting me know that they voided the contract on all my lines and gave me a $50 credit.

I didn't have to sign an NDA, and now I'm month to month.

I didn't have to back and forth with them at all since I left it clear in the notice what I wanted as a solution. The $50 was a bonus I didn't ask for.

Overall good experience, I am pleased with how it turned out.

Thank you very much everyone, and especially Magicka for making this possible.

It sounds like they've figured out the issue has gone viral and there is zero value in drafting settlement contracts with NDAs when they can just give the customers what they want (credit for more than the fee plus release of contract) and moot the arbitration complaint.

My question is whether imposing a small fee on millions of customers under contract turned out to be a net money maker.
I'm thinking the few squeaky wheels put a small dent in ATT's windfall.

I too received my letter today stating the ETF was cancelled and $50 credit. But I just logged into OLAM and the contract end date and the $50 credit was not posted. There's no phone number or email. What should I do?

Has anybody taken this to arbitration yet? Looks like you could actually come out with 10k?!

10. The Alternative Payment. If the arbitrator grants you relief that exceeds AT&T's last written settlement offer before the arbitrator is appointed, then AT&T will pay you the amount of the award, or $10,000, whichever is greater. If AT&T did not make a written offer to settle the dispute, you will be entitled to receive this alternative payment if the arbitrator awards you any relief at all on the merits.

From here:

I also got the letter today voiding my contract and giving me $50 credit.

A specifically asked to be eligible for early upgrade but looks like they are giving everyone the same thing. I assume we are not eligible for early upgrade? If it terminate my contract, I lose my 27% discount and the unlimited data plan.

For those that received the ETF waiver, how long did you wait between when your notice of dispute was received and when AT&T you received the letter from AT&T?

And for those of us who signed an agreement and got the ETF waiver, do we have any recourse for this $50 credit being offered seemingly to everyone else?

About 25 days for me.


AT&T Offer Letter
For those who haven't seen it, here's the letter. It's a form letter since I just asked for $0.81 times the number of lines I had times the number of months left on my contract (I just reupped in December). I did not ask for a waiver of the ETF since I would prefer to stay with AT&T due to the number of rollover minutes and my grandfathered unlimited iPhone data status. The $50 covers that and postage with little left over, but I am not litigating this further.

Yay! After receiving the letter on Monday, I only now just received the $50 credit and online it indicates my contracts ended today.

It also indicates I am eligible for full iphone upgrade on 8/14/2013. I previously was only eligible for the upgrade in 9/2014. iPhone 5s here i come!

Oh, and I also got a $75 credit from when I called to complain before sending in the letter.

I think options are unfortunately limited if you received an ETF waiver previously but didn't get a credit - you can try writing to their legal department and asking nicely, but really they are doing this to show "good will" which will work in their favor in an arbitration case. If you've already settled you can't arbitrate, thus it seems unlikely. Frankly I wasn't expecting them to do this, but the volume of disputes (FWF effect?) apparently became so large they are no longer looking at them at a case by case basis and basically doing mass ETF waivers plus approximately $50-$100 credit (amount seems to depend on your number of lines/length of service).

minibooman said:   Has anybody taken this to arbitration yet? Looks like you could actually come out with 10k?!

10. The Alternative Payment. If the arbitrator grants you relief that exceeds AT&T's last written settlement offer before the arbitrator is appointed, then AT&T will pay you the amount of the award, or $10,000, whichever is greater. If AT&T did not make a written offer to settle the dispute, you will be entitled to receive this alternative payment if the arbitrator awards you any relief at all on the merits.

From here:

Since I keep getting PMs about this, this is almost guaranteed not to happen unless you get lucky and they grossly mishandle your case. If they offer a ETF waiver and a $50-$100 good will credit the chances of an arbitrator awarding your more (and thus triggering the $10k) is near 0. However, if they've dropped the ball - like not responding within 30 days more than once - it is a possibility.

belizeans said:   MMXI
About 25 days for me.

Thanks for the helpful info! It's been 28 days since they received my letter, and I'm ready to draft a follow-up letter over the weekend if I don't hear from them tomorrow.

AT&T settlement letter
And magically, a letter from AT&T showed up in my mailbox today! They promised to waive the ETF's of all 5 lines on my account, and give a $50 credit. Neither of these has appeared on my AT&T account yet; I'll check back in a few days. But thank you SO MUCH, magika, for giving us the vote of confidence and the helpful, comprehensive guidance for the dispute process. I was prepared to go all the way to arbitration, but apparently that won't be needed, unless AT&T refuses to honor their promise.

FYI, according to the letter, the last day to challenge the Administrative Fee and deliver the termination notice was July 1. That would explain why settlement offers after that date did not require any form of non-disclosure agreement. And I would guess that the number of dispute notices accumulated till that date was insignificant enough for AT&T to grant the requests rather than going through arbitration cases one-by-one which would be very costly.

Attached is a picture I took of AT&T's letter

My experience leaving AT&T to Tmo after no ETF:

Got 5 lines for $110 each with unltd talk text and 500mb data.

Was paying $230 at AT&T. Unlock AT&T phones for $2 on eBay.

iPhone 5 made after April 2013 has aws and can get Tmo 4g
But if Tmo has LTE in your area any iPhone 5 will work on LTE.

Hint: apple genius will exchange your iPhone 5 to the latest if you're on warranty
and your phone has GPS issues or wifi antenna problems.

Tmo has great prices but is only good in large metro cities.

If you need the stronger AT&T signal check out airvoice or the list of AT&T mvno.

Today the $50 credit showed up in my account. All 5 lines on my account are showing contract expired. Upgrade eligibility hasn't changed, which was to be expected. This is all I could hope for.

Congrats it pays to read these forums.

ok where are you guys checking if the contracts have ended?

OLAM under profile

Update: AT&T agreed to eliminate my ETF also. They did not offer me a $50 credit, which kinda sucks. But I got what I wanted simply by filing the notice of dispute. They called me maybe three weeks after I mailed it and made the offer verbally. They emailed me an agreement which I signed and mailed back. If there is demand, I can post it, but it seems like we already have a couple up.

It's amazing what a little bit of crowd-sourcing and legal know-how can do. Cheers. Thanks to Magika and everyone else who shared their insight.

The frontline CSR denied getting a lot of calls on this matter but was prep'd on how to respond (offered one month rebate but claimed it was impossible to cancel the fee permanently). Asked for a mgr who, after I suggested the fee was a breach of contract, agreed to offer an advance credit of .61 x remaining months on my contract. Only a few dollars but they yielded on principle. GLTA

FYI, I missed this dispute so I tried disputing the new late fee increase from July 1. I was let out of contract on both of my lines, one of which I took over a day before i sent my dispute. Those of you who missed the admin fee dispute may have another chance!

Here's the other thread:

7 days ago I started a BBB complaint. Today I am off the hook on 4 lines.
I did file a FTC and mailed the letter 5 days ago as backup.
If you just came across this thread and are wondering if you should give it a shot, just do it - you got nothing to lose (maybe postage)

Sister filed BBB dispute 7/17 got call yesterday that she's out of contract. Thx FW!

I am getting at least a few people who are PMing me telling me they are going to arbitration. I just want to reiterate a few things for people who are doing that:

From my perspective as an arbitrator in these types of cases, AT&T was guaranteed to lose if they didn't waive people out of their contract and provide something that showed a gesture of goodwill. They knew this, which is why they settled with everyone. If you choose to reject their settlement offer in which they have both (1) waived the ETF fee and (2) offered some sort of credit in proportion with the number of accounts you have ($50-$300 or so), then I think you will lose the arbitration case unless you can prove two out of the three below:

(1) You have substantial evidence AT&T violated procedural timelines and you incurred additional costs (mail tracking, mainly) that they did not offer a credit to compensate for.
(2) You have substantial evidence (emails, recorded calls) that AT&T negotiated with you in bad faith by lying about the nature of the fee, telling you its a government fee, or ignoring arbitration requests.
(3) You have substantial evidence (emails, letters, recorded calls) that AT&T acted with malicious intent in any other way in the arbitration process.

If you can't prove two out of three with real evidence, and they offered a settlement as outlined above - I have to caution people that you stand a almost certain chance of losing. I hope am I am wrong, of course.

Don't give up. 
I filed past the deadline and got a rejection letter from ATT.   Filed an online complain with my States Attorney General's a couple weeks ago. 

They gave ATT 10 business days to respond with supporting documents..... My contract was cancelled and I am allowed to go month to month. 


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