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.
- 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.