AT&T Cancellation & Other Fees

by Mark Chen | Updated 1/1/24

AT&T fees are annoying and can be a big hit when you’re upgrading your phone or moving to a different provider.

At BillSmart, we’ve helped tens of thousands of customers save on AT&T and other phone/cable bills by getting fees waived and lowering their bills for good.

We’ve saved our clients $1.5mm+ and we’re just getting started.

If you’re angry that AT&T just stole $50 from you, sign up to BillSmart by clicking the button below.

We’ll get your money back and more from ATT.

AT&T Upgrade Fees

If you add a new device to your plan, AT&T charges a one-time upgrade fee of up to $45.

In our experience and looking at the forums, most customers pay $30.  There’s some speculation that these fees are to pay for the cost of a sim card for your device.

It’s a large fee given that sim cards cost less than $0.99.

The easiest way to avoid this fee is to buy an AT&T compatible device that doesn’t have a sim card.  If they can’t give you a sim card, they can’t charge you an activation fee.

A common way to achieve this is to buy an iPhone from Apple directly without a sim card. Activate your ATT service on your own and you won’t need to pay a fee.

You can also avoid the fee if you’re on a corporate plan or in an affinity group like AARP. AT&T won’t charge you a fee if you associate your account details.

How To Get AT&T To Waive Activation Fees

The AT&T activation fee is the one-time fee that ATT charges for adding a new device to your account.

The upgrade fee can be up to $45 but most of the time it’s $30.

It is identical to the AT&T upgrade fee.

You can usually get AT&T to waive the fee or get equivalent credits if you’ve been a long-time customer. Contact customer service at AT&T to get it waived.

This isn’t guaranteed. If you’re persistent and know what you’re doing, your success rate should be about 70%.

How To Prevent ATT Late Fees

AT&T charges a late fee of $7 if you don’t pay your bill in full by the due date.

You have to pay your AT&T bill in full.  Even if you set a promise to pay, you’ll still have to pay the $7 late fee.

AT&T late fees
Avoid this if you can

If your bill is constantly late, ATT will shut off your service.  To get your service back, you’ll need to pay a restoral fee of $35.

AT&T has a huge amount of fees for the different services that they offer.

If you want to find the latest list of fees, check out their 4-page pdf and tables.

If you’re looking to find ways to make money online, check out this great guide from Gigs Done Right.

AT&T Wireless Early Termination Fees

AT&T has two tiers of early termination fees.

If you have a smartphone with data (basically an AT&T wireless plan), the termination fee is $325. The early termination fee goes down by $10 every month you’ve on contract.

For all other plans (basic phones, att wireless internet), the early termination fee is $150. The fee goes down by $4 for each month you’ve been on the contract.

So, for instance, if you signed up for a 2-year smartphone contract and cancel after 6 months, you’ll have to pay a $265 early termination fee.

If you just signed up for your plan, you have 14 days to cancel ATT before you need to pay a fee.

For corporate users, you have 30 days instead of 14 days to cancel without fees.

You can check how much your early termination fee is by logging into your att account. Find the Service commitment/My wireless contract section.

Once you finish your service contract period, you can cancel your account anytime without having to pay an early termination fee.

It’s been our experience that ATT usually waives the early termination fee if you ask. Just give them a good reason like financial or economic problems while being nice to the rep.

AT&T Restocking Fees

AT&T charges a $55 restocking fee per device if you buy a phone from them and return it.

If you open the phone, you’ll need to pay the restocking fee.

One of the few ways to avoid this restocking fee is to return your phone within 14 days unopened.  This only applies to iPhones.  For other phones, your chances of getting a refund without a fee are much lower.

Some other good ways to get ATT to waive this stocking fee waived is to see if you can put the blame on the return on AT&T.

If you had a negative experience with a rep and have proof or the phone otherwise has problems, you can often get the fee refunded or get courtesy credits from ATT.

However, ATT needs to charge this fee because once you open the phone, it becomes a used phone and it can no longer sell these items at the full retail prices.

Lower Your AT&T Bill With BillSmart!

We never thought this article would be this long, but ATT has a ton of the fees.

Get your money back and save even more with BillSmart.

We save our clients $352 on average and our success rate is 83%. Sign up by clicking the link below.

BillSmart CEO

About the author

Mark Chen is the founder and CEO of BillSmart. As a 7-year veteran of the bill negotiation space, he's saved Americans $25mm+ on their phone and cable bills. In his free time, he enjoys watching shows on TV like Yellowstone and college football.