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T-Mobile to raise late payment fee for tardy customers

The new tardy bill fee will cost customers $7 or the sum of 5 percent of their monthly bill, starting in October.

The new tardy bill fee will cost customers $7 or the sum of 5 percent of their monthly bill, starting in October.

Wireless phone provider T-Mobile has criticized rivals AT&T and Verizon for raising fees on customers over the last few years, but the Magenta phone company is about to go through with a fee increase of its own.

Starting in October, T-Mobile will charge customers with tardy bills at least $7 per instance, though it reserves the right to charge up to 5 percent of a customer’s typical monthly service fee, meaning some customers could wind up paying much more if they don’t pay their bill on time.

Currently, T-Mobile’s late payment penalty is at least $5, though it charges customers in some states more depending on their service plan.

T-Mobile says it will let certain customers know about the late payment fee change by e-mail and text message. Customers who will receive the notes are subscribers who have had a late payment charge incurred within the past six months.

In a memo to employees, T-Mobile said customers should be encouraged to activate the AutoPay feature on their account to ensure they will not be charged late payment fees in the future.

The majority of T-Mobile’s postpaid unlimited talk, text and data plans contain promotional pricing that is only applicable when a customer activates AutoPay. The monthly prices are higher when a customer does not turn on the AutoPay feature.

T-Mobile’s flagship Magenta plan costs $70 a month with AutoPay for one line of service. That plan increases by $5 if AutoPay is not active on an account.

The company’s ultra premium plan, called Magenta Max, costs $85 a month with AutoPay for one line of service or $90 a month if a customer chooses not to activate AutoPay. A budget plan called Essentials includes unlimited, non-priority wireless data at a cost of $60 a month plus taxes if AutoPay is active and $65 a month plus taxes without AutoPay.

The late payment fee increase does not affect T-Mobile’s prepaid customers because those accounts must be funded in order for service to continue once it starts. Customers who do not activate AutoPay on their prepaid account and who do not fund those accounts another way have their wireless service canceled once their plan expires.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).