Reader Bill has been a gold AT&T Universal Card since they were since introduced in the early 1990s and was annoyed when he learned that he’d be charged a $30 annual fee starting this month, September 2010. Here’s his email to me:
AT&T introduced its Universal Card back in 1990, and with the card came the written guarantees ‘no annual fee for life’, and ‘no annual fee–ever.’ Remember that? Well, I’m not sure whose life they were talking about (obviously not mine), but I received a notice last summer that my account would be charged an annual fee, beginning with the September, 2010 statement. I’ve run across lots of people online who are in the same boat I am–fighting an annual fee that was never supposed to happen. Some have been successful in getting the fee waived for at least the first year, others have not. I’ve been promised twice that the fee would be waived and a confirmation letter sent to me, but so far no letter has been received.
It’s my humble opinion that reeling in somewhere between one and two million customers by promising them no annual fee for life–and then charging them an annual fee–amounts to a bait-and-switch manuever, and my research online tells me that the bait-and-switch manuever is illegal in all 50 states.