Ridiculous Mobile Phone Upgrade Charge

Last week John C. Dvorak wrote a column entitled A Crusade Against Roaming Charges in which he complains about ths silliness of roaming charges. The whole things is a scam, he says. Rather than charge customers exorbitant fees for roaming outside their carriers coverage area wireless providers should charge their customers whatever the local charges are and work out the details among themselves. But no, Dvorak says, the carriers like roaming charges because it’s found money for them.

My current personal phone situation brought to light another one of these bogus charges. I’m currently using a very old mobile phone in order to preserve an old family plan in which I’m paying less money for more services than any of the newer plans my carrier offers. If I want to change my phone for a newer one, such as an iPhone or Android phone I’d have to sign up for one of the newer plans which would double my monthly bill. That’s not an exaggeration. I’d be paying twice as much a month for the same exact services.

As crazy as this may sound that’s not what I’m writing this post to complain about (though those who follow me on Twitter have seen my complaints about that). Read on.

Recently I’ve become more open to the idea of a new phone because there are certain things I’d like to do that my old phone just can’t do. So I talked with someone from my carrier who gave me a very nice breakdown of my plan options including prices (before taxes and other charges, which is a rant for another time). One of the items mentioned in the breakdown was a one time upgrade fee. To borrow a quote from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off “Here’s where Cameron goes berserk”.

Apparently my decision to pay this carrier twice as much money each month is not enough. I actually have to pay them for the privilege of paying them more. Of all the ludicrous things American mobile carriers do this has to be right at the top. (It’s right up there with the way they subsidize phone prices but again I digress.) This is a charge for charge sake. Considering the additional money I’m committing to pay them for the next two years (because, of course, I must renew my contract for another two years – yet another complaint) you think they’d hand deliver me the phone the second I called to inquire. But no, these money grubbers take the opportunity to throw another charge at me instead.

Unfortunately I have no choice but to pay the fee for the upgrade. I’m already under contract because of a different phone on my family plan and to break my phone out to another provider where, presumably, I could get started at a cheaper rate would cause me to incur even more charges for breaking out of my contract (still another complaint).

I know it sounds silly complaining about a fee that, in the grand scheme of things, doesn’t amount to much. But it’s the principle of the whole things that upsets me. An I’m sure I’m not the only one.

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