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Cricket Wireless Adding New Fees and Increasing Others April 23

Cricket Creatures
AT&T's Cricket Wireless has announced that it will be adding some new fees and changing the prices of others starting April 23, 2017.

The new fees and changes are :

  • A new $3 Customer Assistance Fee will be charged if you pay your monthly bill at a Cricket store or authorized dealer. The fee for paying over the phone with Cricket customer support will be lowered to $3 from the current $5.
  • The Bridge Pay fee is increasing from $5 to $10 for multi-line accounts. It remains $5 on single line accounts. Bridge Pay allows users to split their monthly charge into two smaller payments. The customer pays half the plan cost plus the Bridge Pay fee and gets seven days to pay the rest.
  • The Reactivation Fee is increasing from $5 to $10 for multi-line accounts only.  This fee used to be called a Late Fee and is charged when you are between 2 and 29 days late with your monthly.
Cricket's other fees that are not changing are listed below:
  • Activation Fee: in-store $25, no fee for online activations.
  • Device Upgrade Fee: in-store $25, no fee online.
  • Reactivation Fee: $15 - this is the late fee that's charged and payments that are 30 to 59 days late. If you are 60 or more days late, your account will be canceled and your phone number lost.
  • Non-Compliant Return Fee: $25 charged for device returns that are damaged or missing their original packaging. 
  • Phone number change: $15 - this applies to current customers who want a new number, not to port-ins.
Cricket undoubtedly incurs extra costs when a human is involved in collecting payments or restoring service that's been suspended for non-payment.  Cricket isn't unique in charging fees. Sprint's Boost Mobile and T-Mobile's MetroPCS both charge customers $3 extra to make a payment at a dealer, although neither charges late fees.

Unfortunately, these new fees will hit people living on limited incomes the hardest. The late fees penalize people who have to make the unfortunate choice to use what little money they had on food or shelter rather than phone service. People paying for service in store are likely doing so because they lack debit cards due to not meeting the banks minimum deposit requirements. They could use prepaid debit cards to pay online, but most prepaid cards also charge fees. While I don't expect corporations to show compassion for the less fortunate, I do think charging three bucks to take the customer's money is out of line.

Source: Cricket, Image: Facebook

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68 comments:

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  1. Activation fee? Is that in addition to having to pay for a SIM card?

    I guess they don't want people going to stores to pay their bills. I wonder how much money they'd lose in discretionary/impulse accessory purchases over this. Must not be a lot, if they went ahead with the $3 fee anyways.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I reject the idea that these are junk fees, however, the high fee for going into a storefront is basically a tax to discourage anyone from going into the store fronts.

      Cricket is lumping those who open the doors of their stores along with those who don't pay their bills. Enemies of the company.

      Delete
    2. People who choose between food, shelter and a phone bill are not impulse buyers.

      Delete
    3. There are plenty of people who are like that BECAUSE they have poor impulse control.

      Delete
    4. Its a shame that a company of this size doesn't have people working at their computers that cant even spell. Since when is CHANGING a fee spelled CHAINGING?????. Not the brightest bulb in the box.

      Delete
  2. Wow.. laugh at me all you want, but I'm sticking with Boost, even if it doesn't have the greatest coverage compared to others. It works in my area so it's good for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Wow.. laugh at me all you want, but I'm sticking with Boost, even if it doesn't have the greatest coverage compared to others. It works in my area so it's good for me."

      And if you leave your area, you will need a paygo Gophone or something similar on a real network for emergencies. I know, that is what I used to do when I was on Sprint.

      Delete
    2. Still living in the past. When will you let go? Boost has 50 min. roaming/month on Verizon "for emergencies" and other reasons now. And the Sprint network is much better than the one you claim you used.

      Delete
    3. I'm living in the present and foreseeable future: Sprint (and Boost) aren't ready for prime time. A network that allows 50% min of voice roaming and NO DATA in most of the country (while the real networks just cover it) doesn't cut it.

      The Sprint network is still as bad as the one I used a few years ago, and it meets the needs of a rather small minority of Americans. Most of whom are there not because they think bad coverage is good, but because they are willing to put up with an inferior experience in order to save money.

      See this up-to-date map from this web site, of Boost (Sprint "native") coverage:

      click here

      Wow, that's pretty bad. The vast majority of states have very little Sprint at all.

      The green area is Boost. and that is rather meager. You won't be able to use data on the vast majority of the land (orange and white on the map), and you get a tiny amount of talk minutes ONLY roaming into orange.

      Life is too short for bad networks, and most consumers agree. Sprint is a complete failure, and it waits for T-Mobile to buy it and loot its assets.

      Sprint's rather lousy. That is the past, present, and foreseeable future, in objective black-and-white (or green and orange). When will you let it go?



      Delete
    4. I'll let go when false statements about Boost like this one stop:
      "And if you leave your area, you will need a paygo Gophone or something similar on a real network for emergencies."
      "The Sprint network is still as bad as the one I used a few years ago,.."
      "Sprint's rather lousy. That is the past, present, and foreseeable future, in objective black-and-white..."

      Delete
    5. It's not false. The Boost native footprint (the only place where you can use data on it) is very small. The coverage maps do not lie.

      I also compared the Sprint/Boost map to a few years ago. There is no change, while T-Mobile has expanded a lot, and even Verizon and AT&T have grown a little.

      Delete
  3. I agree. These excessive fees hurt people who can least afford them. Cricket should just raise all monthly prices by $5 and eliminate all fees. Spread their costs around to everybody. Then poor people can go to stores and get Unlimited Free Services. This will also create more jobs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with you completely. I was a cricket customer, single parent, paycheck to paycheck, but I know I'm not the only one struggling out there in the world. My phone was shut off while waiting for my paycheck, glad I didn't get it turned back on!! So long Cricket!!! Oh don't forget how they also try and screw people by telling them they have used all there data or mega bytes for the month just to get you to pay another ten dollors. Its all B.S. Guarantee there sales are going to drop. Oh well, again so long to Cricket. Take care n have a positive day!!

      Delete
  4. Sorry, but it's hard to have sympathy. All of these fees are completely avoidable. Also, the lack of debit/credit is not an issue since these MVNOs sell refill cards at most local retail outlets. Lastly, if they have trouble paying the monthly rate in full, perhaps they need to better prioritize their monthly expenses. If food and shelter is more important, they need to downgrade their plan to perhaps limited data, or voice. I probably pay less than these low-income customers in phone expenses because I know how to prioritize and make the appropriate sacrifices (more data & less voice minutes, for example).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sanctimonious ApeMarch 16, 2017 at 2:39 PM

      My, how... sanctimonious... of you. You've NO right to be so judgemental of others. EVERY situation is unique & it can be extremely difficult and tiring to be constantly having to juggle finances without any room for mistakes.

      Try living a few years working for minimum wage (because you can't get a decent job when you have the wrong shade of skin), supporting kids (& maybe even siblings or parents), with what little support you ever got from the government being whittled further and further down by self-righteous jackasses like yourself. Then come back here and say that, 'cause we all know you wouldn't put yourself through that even if you could - who would *want* to?

      I sooooo wanna smack you right now, it's not funny.

      Delete
    2. For the vast majority, there are no poverty wages. But there are poverty lifestyle choices. Just if you don't live extravagantly, and take roommates and all, you can get by.

      And it's great that handouts to the able-bodied are being whittled down. They should be zeroed out.

      Delete
    3. I see people ahead of me in line using food stamps and talking on the latest iPhone at the same time. No sympathy from me at all.

      Delete
    4. Jason Chaffetz, is that you?

      Delete
    5. No, Barry O. Said it first, and got a free pass because....you now.

      Delete
    6. Chaffetz? Obama made that argument 1st in 2014.

      Delete
    7. @ Santimonous Ape. You sound like you might have anger issues, and that could be why you have a hard time finding a job. I have a family and kids. And I've qualified for government assistance, but I never took it. Because I realized that once your on the government's dole, it's hard to get off of it. I cancelled my TV service, I got an emergency tracfone, I drive a car with more dents than you can count. Unless you were in the military, the government owes you nothing.

      Delete
    8. "Unfortunately, these new fees will hit people living on limited incomes the hardest. The late fees penalize people who have to make the unfortunate choice to use what little money they had on food or shelter rather than phone service" There are cheaper alternatives to CricKet for those who bills exceed their ability to pay.

      Dale

      Delete
    9. Correct, Dale. This is a situation brought by the careless lifestyle choices of others, and not by Cricket.

      Delete
    10. Not in all cases. Sometimes through a series of unfortunate events people can find themselves down on their luck. Those trying to have all the latest and greatest then having the axe fall they can be faulted for.

      Dale

      Delete
    11. "Not in all cases"

      True, there are also widows, victims of tragedies, the disabled and those who care for them, and other very difficult but rare circumstances of people who find themselves in such dire straits through no fault of their own.

      But these are small in number compared to those who should have known better, those who live beyond their means due to poor willpower, etc etc etc.

      Delete
  5. Wow. I guess it’s "open season" now on vulnerable groups, target practice on poor people, who are being told they should not buy the phone service they believe they need. Many of them can't afford broadband, and get hit with a $10 hotspot/tethering fee. Charging these big fees is regressive and really hurts the poor. But people who can afford to pay automatically with credit cards get a special discount. Cricket should eliminate the auto-pay discount and lower or eliminate fees instead.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thet're called A Fee & Fee or A Thief & Thief for a reason....

    ReplyDelete
  7. Considering 5 lines on cricket costs $100 and 5 lines on AT&T costs double or more, I'm sure cricket is not a giant money maker. They may have needed to come up with more revenue, and a fee that is potentially avoidable to their customers seemed more gentle than a price hike to all their customers. Remember, cricket is in the business of making money. If they don't make enough to make it worth their while, they will close up. And for the family that needs at&t coverage but can not afford post paid, it could be really hurt their budget.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Dennis, IIRC, Cricket was also due to raise its $100/5 lines group rate sometimes this year. Is that still the case?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Cricket lost about 500K customers after AT&T announced its $1.2B purchase. They didn't help after the sale by only offering customers USED phones to replace the CDMA Cricket phones (MetroPCS gave away NEW phones or $50 credits). There was lots of pressure to grow after the subscriber losses, so they were aggressive on price and used the junk fees as a way to maintain some of the revenue they gave up in pricing. It still took them almost 2 years to get back to the 5M subscribers they had when AT&T announced the purchase.
    Times are different now. Cricket has grown a lot in the past two years, and although the market is very competitive, they don't have to rely on all these junk fees. I think it's just arrogance. I don't think they care who is hurt by the fees; they care a lot more about growth. They probably just see poorer subscribers as "marginal" customers who make up a big part of their "churn."
    Some carriers are more ethical than others. I give Cricket a 'D.'

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why don't you figure out how much you can give to the local Food Bank to lower food expenditures for those Cricket customers. Then, they can afford the extra fees with no problem.

      Delete
    2. Done. They also get SNAP benefits / food stamps / free school breakfast and lunches for the kids / MEDICAID or free emergency care / obamaphones / housing subsidies / tax credits and progressive tax rates if they work.
      But Cricket still gets a D for ethics / corporate responsibility.

      Delete
  10. Time for leaving.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I do not like to give anyone but myself access to my debit card or credit card. If I would have known this was going to happen, I probably wouldn't have gotten from cricket wireless.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Why doesn't Cricket have a Spokescricket? What are those things supposed to be anyway?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids as drawn by a five year old. Mushmouth was the clincher.

      Delete
  13. I doubt that Cricket (ATT) is levelling these new fees because of a right-wing vendetta against the poor and their life-choices. Corporations don't care about that stuff. Rather, it seems more likely that they are trying to discourage behavior that takes up their workers' time, costing them money.

    Their junk fees are attempts to channel wasteful behavior and lower their costs, which enables them to be more competitive. If, for example, a customer can take their cash in to a Target and buy prepaid card(s) to pay their bill online, they can avoid these charges and save ATT labor costs. This enables Cricket to be more aggressive on their price cutting, and increase service in their stores and online by freeing up labor for more complex tasks like activations.

    This all impacts our personal situation. My retirement gave us a few nasty surprises and we have to be very careful with our money. Since we live in a very rural area, we rely on our cellphones for all data (no DSL or cable out here), and voice. I organized some neighbors into a Cricket Group Save for $20.00 off, each, so we pay $20 for my wife's Basic, and $40 for my Unlimited -- combined with $20 additional for Netflix and Amazon Prime gets us internet, communications, TV and free shipping. Yes, we have a credit card which we pay off religiously so we can make online payments.

    By raising these fees, AT&T was able to maintain profit for their investors, while lowering the price of our Unlimited $10.00 a month. By ATT's re-structuring of our relationship with these new fees, we have an additional $120.00 to donate to charity (World Food Program).

    BTW, I am a liberal progressive, and do not begrudge medical care, SNAP benefits/school meals/housing credits or so-called "Obama phones" for my fellow Americans, even if their life-style choices could have been better (people are not perfect). Nor do we resent the taxes we pay. As Americans of northern european descent, we have benefitted all of our lives from white-privilege, and don't mind sacrificing to help those who didn't have our advantages.

    (Forgive the speech! It's just that this discussion is not simply about cell phones and pricing, but about cell phones and how they make modern life possible.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So you mean to say wasteful behaviour is actually showing up on time to pay your bill? Actually showing up and sharing an interest in the plans and different phone types? Making sure you are buying for the right reasons? That's why you have customer service in the first place. Employees are supposed to be trained to know these things. You're not supposed to pay Cricket's building rent, they are. That's what has gotten a lot of people cutting the cable cord. Is bs fees and shady tactics.

      Delete
  14. Lol at this thread. But seriously there's free services like freedompop and cheap services like h2O paygo or airvoice.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Love the entitlement issues some people have. Apparently the free Obamaphone isn't good enough. I used to work in the business customer-facing and was usually shocked at least once a day by the trolls coming in complaining about high wireless prices and bragging how their multiple government-issued phones are free. I have no sympathy for dregs. If you're out buying the newest iPhone and Air Jordans, yet somehow on "assistance", you need to get the boot.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds like Ronald Reagan and his stories about 'Welfare Queens' driving around their Cadillacs (except that there never were any). People just knew they were real, though, 'cause their friend told them about it...

      Delete
  16. The irony is that GoPhone would be the easier, more convenient choice.

    You can literally just use cash to buy a phone, sim and airtime from your local Walmart, and then load up using the wifi at your local McDonald's.

    In contrast, Cricket's got absolutely nothing going for it when you factor in poor customer service, a shitty voicemail system, frequent outages and a smaller retail footprint.

    It's time to toss that bug, fees and all, straight out the window.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "In contrast, Cricket's got absolutely nothing going for it when you factor in poor customer service, a shitty voicemail system, frequent outages and a smaller retail footprint."

      The customer service is top notch now. The voice mail? Anecdotally, I have never had problems with it. Retail footprint?* ... Well, why go to a store when you can go online for everyting? It's the service footprint that matters, and Cricket totally kills Boost and MetroPCS in this.

      * I've only ever seen one Boost store and never a MetroPCS or T-Mobile storefront.

      Delete
    2. How is the voicemail different than AT&T?

      Delete
  17. If you go into any wireless company storefront their entire focus is selling new service and add-ons. Customers coming into to pay their bill are just a distraction to them.

    ReplyDelete
  18. It's called looking forward. By making it more of a hassle to go to the storefront, cricket is pushing customers to do everything online. The more customers they get to stick with bill pay and online shopping, the easier it will be for them to start closing down physical storefront. Every business is looking for ways to do this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly!

      It makes no sense to go to a storefront for such services. Lamenting the loss of Cricket (or MetroPCS or Boost stores) makes as much sense as complaining that there's no Netflix storefront in a strip mall.

      Delete
    2. T-Mobile is not closing stores. They are opening 1500 new MetroPCS stores and 1000 new T-Mobile stores in the first 6 months of this year. I guess they want to help customers and gain more.

      Delete
    3. Opening all those stores? That seems strange, like reading that Blockbuster is suddenly back in business opening new VHS rental places. With Oldsmobile dealerships next door!

      If T-Mobile (and of course MetroPCS) really wanted to help customers, they would strive to make their online/phone customer service the best in the business, instead of being average.



      Be kind rewind.

      Delete
    4. T-Mobile wants to continue to outsell AT&T/Cricket in prepaid and lead wireless industry growth. The stores help do that, especially in new geographic coverage areas, Bands 12, 66 and AWS3.
      T-Mobile and MetroPCS have already won many customer service awards going back to 2004. JD Power and Nielson, best in their categories. Their CS is above average.

      Delete
    5. JD Power is meaningless, and companies go with it for cooked results. That's why American cars (that overall are so shoddy compared to Japanese ones) get JD Power awards that can be used in advertising.

      Delete
    6. In-depth look at how J D Power is essentially meaningless:

      http://www.caranddriver.com/features/the-trouble-with-jd-powers-initial-quality-study-feature

      It details how those who are reviewed pay for good reviews.

      As one commenter said, "To this day, I can't understand why the general public gives any weight to this study."

      As for Nielson, it was hard to find anything other than the main source of T-Mobile's own press releases... and articles that use the T-Mobile press release as a source! Along the way in this fruitless search, I did find that T-Mobile led the rest in FTC complaints for fraud.

      Anyway, it is clear that the good reports are an illusion that fanboys want to see. As is typical (and even with Tracfone), the perception of a huge difference in customer service among carriers is rather illusory, and if you look too close, chances are you will find a house of cards built of fanboy zeal and a few very empassioned folks who repeat bad-service anecdotes 500 times in each of a few dozen blogs.

      Delete
    7. T-Mobile took first place in 13 of the total 22 JD Power wireless customer service ratings, including 2015 and 2016. T-Mobile won the Consumer Reports, Nielson Ratings and Tom's Guide comparison in 2016. MetroPCS won first place in JD Power prepaid wireless CS ratings in 2013 and 2014, and came in second in 2015. Tom's guide rated their telephone support to be excellent.

      Delete
    8. Consumer Reports is the only one listed above that has any weight or validity. "Tom's Guide" is especially bad, since a tiny handful of very large cities were chosen in order to make T-Mobile look a lot better (as opposed to randomly chosen points without bias toward any carrier).

      And of course T-Mobile took 13 of the total 22 JD Power ratings they paid for. If they had paid more, they would have gotten all 22!

      Nice try, fanboy.

      Delete
    9. T-Mobile is the only US telecommunications company to be named one of the most ethical companies in the world by the Ethisphere institute.
      T-Mobile won this award in 2014, 2015 and again in 2016.

      Delete
    10. All 4 major carriers were fined by the FCC for bill cramming. AT&T was fined the most, $105M. AT&T was fined another $100M for slowing customer speeds on unlimited plans (sound familiar?). FCC also fined them $25M for failing to protect customer social security numbers and other personal information in a massive data breach.

      Delete
    11. Hmm. Ethisphere... which it turns out is another "pay to get good results" scam.

      From the LA Times

      "Despite a name that suggests ivy-covered walls and a fiercely nonprofit status, Ethisphere is a for-profit corporation based in Scottsdale, Ariz."

      The article mentions many companies being fined for many crimes (and last time I knew, crime was unethical!)

      In one example, they mention:

      "Apparently, Blue Shield and Ethisphere haven't quite grasped that the appearance of a conflict can be just as troubling as an actual conflict.

      Nor do they seem to understand that the awarding of an ethics accolade to a company that gives you money just doesn't pass the smell test.

      Hey, remember when things like ethics mattered?

      Blue Shield doesn't. Neither does the Ethisphere Institute."


      ---------------
      So far, the only good/sound/valid reference for T-Mobile you have provided is from "Consumer Reports". And, seriously, this IS a good one.

      Delete


    12. T-Mobile comes out a lot worse in the cramming when you look at the relative sizes of customers.

      https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2014/12/t-mobile-pay-least-90-million-including-full-consumer-refunds

      "T-Mobile to Pay At Least $90 Million, Including Full Consumer Refunds To Settle FTC Mobile Cramming Case"

      T-Mobile had to pay more than $2 per customer in fines on this, while AT%T had to pay about $1 per customer.

      AT&T looks terrible in this, but it isn't good for the "fanboy" to bring up T-Mobile here, as it is twice as bad on this matter.

      Anyway, it sort of drives home how fake the Ethisphere awards are. Neither company belongs on them, for sure!

      Delete
    13. "T-Mobile wants to continue to outsell AT&T/Cricket in prepaid and lead wireless industry growth"

      You are giving fake news. The "growth" is tiny. Quarter after quarter, TWICE as many customers choose AT&T over T-Mobile. And in addition, twice as many choose Verizon over T-Mobile as well. That's 4 times as many people choosing the good national-coverage carriers compared to T-Mobile.

      If you look at a blade of grass and an oak tree, and all you can say about them is that the blade of grass is supposedly growing faster than the oak, it's clear that you have no honest intent.

      Delete
    14. Wow, buddy, a company gets caught committing crimes and pays a $90,000,000 fine in a certain year, and you think an ethics watchdog that gives it a good award in that year is legit? Wow....

      Delete
    15. This is quite educational. I had no idea that companies caught paying multi-million dollar crimes had, as part of their PR machine, their own paid think tank to go around and claim that they have great ethics.

      It kind of reminds me of those newspaper awards organizations that put plaques on walls in the reception area of the newspaper office. "Voted one of the top 25 newspapers the West Central North Ohio Region" for 19 years straight... a region which would happen to produce only about 7 total daily newspapers.

      Delete
  19. Im cancelling all 9 of my lines when bill is due in April. They are money hungry and the fees are not worth it. Service has been shi**y the last 3 months anyways. Time to move on.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do you pay your bills?
      Do you destroy your phones and expect Cricket to give you a full refund?
      Do you change your phone numbers?

      IF the answers are Yes, No, and No, then you have no reason to leave Cricket as these fees will cost you $0. Then, what is the problem?

      Delete
    2. Maybe because "Service has been shi**y the last 3 months"

      Delete
  20. I am still enjoying my 20 gigs a month for a flat $55 with autopay !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Metro folks are enjoying more than 50GB for a flat $50, so...

      Delete
    2. .......don't leave town or you will "enjoy" 0 signal = 0 GB

      Delete
    3. Or go to the wrong town.... one of the thousands of cities and towns with bad or no T-Mobile coverage.

      Delete
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