Understanding Hidden Fees in Your AT&T Bill

If AT&T is not taking your complaint seriously, we have a legal option that you can use to get a fair resolution for your dispute. 

Do you have a service with AT&T or you’re considering getting a service but you can’t quite tell what the charges are going to be? To help you understand what it is you’re paying for it, we’ve put together an explanation of the hidden fees you might see in your AT&T bill.

Your First AT&T Bill

Your first bill is going to be higher than all of your subsequent bills from AT&T. The first bill is typically higher than your average AT&T bill because it includes a few extra charges:

  • First full month of service in advance
  • Prorated charges for partial service
  • One-time activation fees and Equipment fees

First full month of service in advance

Your monthly recurring charges are always billed one month in advance so when you get an AT&T bill for July, for example, it includes the charges for the next month’s plan so you are effectively paying for August in advance. What things are billed in advance?

  • Your regular rate plan for all data, voice, and messaging services
  • Your data or messaging packages
  • Any additional services you have like Mobile phone insurance
  • Taxes, surcharges, and any additional fees

*Note: any applicable discounts you have will also be applied to your advanced bill from AT&T

Prorated charges for partial service

If you start your service right in the middle of a billing cycle then your first AT&T bill will include prorated charges for however many days there were between the start of your service and the start of the next full billing cycle. 

This can also take place if you change your plan in the middle of a billing cycle, so expect to see prorated charges that are a bit different on the first bill from AT&T directly after you sign up for the service and directly after you make changes to your plan.

One-time activation fees and equipment fees

You can see one-time charges for activation much like when you sign up for a gym in that first month includes an extra activation fee. You might also find equipment fees the amount of which will vary based on where you live and what type of plan you have. 

AT&T Bill Breakdown

After your first AT&T bill, the rest of your bills should break down in exactly the same way.

At the very top right-hand corner you will see the statement date and your account number.

Directly below the AT&T sign on the left you will find any important messages and reminders. Across from that is the total amount due and the due date by which you must pay that amount.

Account summary

Beneath this you get a breakdown of your account summary and the account summary includes your last bill amount, when the last payment was received, and how much it was, and any remaining balance. It will also include a serviced summary which gives you an overview of your charges and it is here that you will find information on the type of devices or service that you have with a brief description of what things have changed between your last AT&T bill and the current bill. It will tell you the total do underneath all of this.

At the bottom of the page you will find a list of the three easy ways that you can pay your bill or contact AT&T if something is wrong.

Service activity

On the second and all subsequent pages you will find the service activity section. The service activity gives you a detailed explanation of your charges and your taxes.

It starts with an overview of charges for your particular plan and all the different devices you have.

Below that you will get grouped sections that indicate any activity since your last bill like data overage charges, prorated monthly charges or prorated credits, or any other charges that were not included in your basic plan.

There is a usage summary that will detail things like how much Wireless you said you have if you are looking at a mobile phone bill based on the plan you have, any rollover data or minutes, and overage charges. Depending on how many services you have with AT&T, how many devices are grouped under the same household, this service activity section can be just a page long or multiple pages long.

If you purchased your device with the AT&T installment plan, the details for what’s remaining in your installment plan will be listed on the right hand column next to this information.

Are there other hidden fees I’m being charged for that I’m not aware of?

Beyond these items the only thing that might be a hidden charge in your AT&T bill takes the form of unexpected price increases or taxes. 

Can I refute charges?

If you are looking at your bill and things don’t look right, there’s a charge on there that shouldn’t be there or the information shows that they charged you twice, you can refute the charges by first trying to contact AT&T customer service using the contact methods they list at the bottom of the first page of your AT&T bill. This will connect you to customer service and you can review the details with the customer service rep while looking at your bill.

What can I do if I was incorrectly charged a fee?

If you were incorrectly charged a fee and you have already tried to fix it with AT&T customer service and they haven’t been able to help you, you have two options:

  1. The first option is to use a small claims court. If you go with this option you need to make sure that your case qualifies. Most small claims courts have a minimum and maximum amount for monetary damages that hover between $5,000 and $10,000. So in some cases your situation might not apply because the amount in questions is too little or too high.
  2. That doesn’t mean however that you have no options. The second option is to use consumer arbitration. When you use consumer arbitration you have a lot more flexibility as to what qualifies and it’s often a much faster and easier way for a quick resolution when you are incorrectly charged a fee on your AT&T bill.

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