AT&T Billing Dispute - this time iPhone 5 upgrade

Personal Finance >>

It is not uncommon that AT&T have billing issues.  I like to think that they still have challenges to integrate their legacy system into one system.  For example, the bills for U-Verse Internet and AT&T wireless are still separate accounts.  If the bill overcharge is less than $10, I probably would not want to go through the AT&T customer support experience, or my eye may overlook the difference.  This month bill, however, has a whopping $40 more than my last month's wireless bill, as it is also the first month bill of using iPhone 5.  To assure that there is no hidden charge of using iPhone 5, I found an iPhone 5 upgrade charge, again!  The upgrade charge is required for iPhone 5 upgrade, in addition to the regular $199.99.

However, my memory recalls that the entire upgrade fee was already paid for during last month credit card statement.  Old credit card statement confirmed my hypothesis.

For a $199.99 upgrade, the total cost is $269.38 + $36 = $305.38. One extra hundred dollar for one device upgrade is apparently disputable.  I contacted the following phone number, as the time was still before 10 pm PST.

AT&T Billing Payment Support Phone Number
1-800-331-0500 or 611 from your wireless phone
Mon.-Fri. 7 a.m.-10 p.m. PST
Sat.-Sun. 7 a.m.-10 p.m PST

In about 10 minutes, Customer care initiated the process to credit $36 + tax to the next billing statement balance

This email is a follow-up to our conversation earlier today; below is a summary of our discussion:

  • The following adjustment(s) have been applied to your account:
    Date Applied: 01/18/2013
    Credit Amount: $38.71

    This credit will appear online within 1-2 business days.
    - It may take 1-2 billing cycles to appear on an invoice.
    Use one of the following self-service options to view your account balance or make a payment:
    - Log into your myAT&T account at
    - Dial *BAL# (*225#) for Balance Inquires
    - Dial *PAY (*729) to Make a  Payment
    If you have further questions about your AT&T account, please refer to or by calling us at 1-800-331-0500.

    Take-away:  Do not blindly accept wireless billing charge.  
    When I first bought iPhone 4 and calling plan two years ago, there was once a mysterious monthly charge of $10 of music tone download fee. I do not have the billing proof anymore and still do not understand what the charge was about.. AT&T simply removed that charge since then.  $10 saving monthly is equivalent to $120 without sweat and applying for any credit card sign-up bonus.  Lowering recurring expense is one important discipline of budget planning.

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