AT&T raises prices 7% by making its customers pay AT&T’s property taxes

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Telecom companies like AT&T love creating new fees to tack on customer bills, and they really love raising those fees after customers sign contracts that are supposed to lock in a consistent price.

It’s a win-win for the company, but not the customer: AT&T gets to advertise a lower price than it actually charges and has a mechanism for raising customer bills whenever it wants to. Customers who are angry enough to cancel service would have to pay early termination fees.

This story about AT&T thus isn’t likely to surprise anyone, but it’s possible you haven’t heard about the particular fee we’ve been looking into this week. AT&T has been charging business Internet customers a “property tax” fee, claiming it needs to charge this to recover AT&T’s own property taxes. AT&T has been charging the fee for at least a couple of years and just hit customers in California with an increase that more doubled the fee.

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