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I think someone best summed up the reason behind it with this: Because they can. But you know what you can do? Because they changed the terms of your contract, it triggers a 30 day window for you to cancel your contract without the normal extortion-like termination fee.
Here is the thing, the fee is NOT a regulatory fee, it is a way to increase revenue (about ½ billion dollars a year, in fact). AT&T will, frankly, lie to you and tell you it is a regulatory fee, but IT IS NOT. Ask to speak with a manager, and even then they will probably be evasive and refuse to comply with the contract terms. One thing AT&T has done is to remove your right to legal recourse by inserting a mandatory arbitration clause in the tiny print contract that no one reads, so you can’t just sue them. On the other hand, under the contract terms AT&T has to pay for arbitration, so I am angry enough about years of dealing with the company and their wretched customer service that I am going to take them up on it. It may take an hour or two of my time, but worse case scenario, I will force AT&T to spend many times more than they will ever get from me from their death by a thousand cuts method of revenue increase. Best case scenario, arbitration will go in my favor and it will cost AT&T additional money in addition to decreased revenue from losing me as a customer forever. This is the last straw for me, I’m going to a pre-paid carrier after this.
The CEO of AT&T only made $22.2 million dollars last year. How do you expect a brother to scrape by on that? Have you seen the price of a Senator or Congressman these days? It's outrageous! And don't even get me started on the cost of a new Ferrari! Plus they get terrible gas milage.