Upgrade Support Charge?

  • 23 November 2016
  • 50 replies

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Has anyone been charged or know what an "Upgrade Support Charge" is when buying a phone from a T-Mobile store?  I was charged this fee of $20 when I recently bought a Galaxy S7.  I will admit I should have looked more closely at the paperwork given to me AFTER everything was completed, but the rep casually mentioned it, charged my credit card, and then gave me the paperwork.  I guess I was thinking it was an initial $20 towards the phone, as I've never been charged any additional amount on top of a phone when purchasing and I've been with TMO for almost 15 years.

50 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +13

If you check out Verizon and AT&T’s forums they have the same complaint post as this.

By the way, the agent did not mention an upgrade charge in our discussion but I saw it when an invoice was sent for signature.  I declined the purchase and encourage others to do likewise.

I have been an AT&T and Verizon consumer customer in the past and do not recall ever having paid an upgrade fee, perhaps they were willing to waive ‘mark-up charges’, I just don’t recall.  In fact, I was a design engineer on the landline side of both in my career.  

When I opened an R&D office for my company in FL I chose T- Mobile because we do a lot of work in Europe and frequently travel there.  At the time T-Mobile was a better choice because of international pricing plans.  That is no longer the case.  I am in discussions with AT&T now to move my account.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

Userlevel 7
Badge +13

Oh Boy. I like this chat group. I just bought two Iphone XRs and didn't see the upgrade charges until I downloaded my receipt just now.

I thought I was happy with Tmobile until I saw that! The sales associate did not tell me of these charges. I thought I was just paying for the taxes and a partial down payment on the phone. But now I know what kind of shenanigans they pull on you for just buying a new phone so I won't be buying any more phones for a long while. I'll be keeping my eye out on the way they do business!

You know that Verizon and AT&T both have upgrade charges also. It’s an industry charge. Verizon varies for $20-$40 depending where you go to upgrade and it looks like AT&T is $30 but I’ve seen some people say it could be as high as $40- $45.

$20 plus the cost of the phone to upgrade?!  As a business customer I can’t afford this every time there is an upgrade.  Heck, as a consumer I don’t want to pay this.  When I asked why, the agent said to help defer the cost of having a robust product line available and to keep T-mobile costs down.  The darn phone is the same price from the vendor.  It certainly has me carrier shopping!  Looking for one with reasonable costs, NO GOUGING, and business customer friendly.

Userlevel 6
Badge +13

I am normally one to prefer being served by a person because people need jobs.  However, this $20 b/s really makes me wish each store has a cell phone vending machine because $20 is damn ridiculous!  

I ran into this crazy $20 upgrade fee about 2 months ago. I’ve been with TMO for years, but I tend to hang onto my phones until they die, so maybe that was why I didn’t encounter the upgrade fee previously.

I made my purchase over the phone with CS. The girl didn’t mention the fee at all, but when they sent me the doc to sign via email, I saw it. I said that was crazy because I had tried to replace my phone over the Internet and it wouldn’t let me place the order. The website said that I had to contact customer service to make the purchase. That was the part that really bugged me. 

On the other hand, when I tried to buy my case and screen cover, I really wanted a Tech21 case. The girl on the phone said they didn’t have them in stock, but I could go to the store.I checked the tech21 website and they didn’t have any in stock either. So I called my TMO store and spoke with the mgr.

He said they couldn’t ship it because I had to pay the taxes in person. I explained that I am completely disabled and can’t drive. I don’t have any family to take me or to go to the store for me. I have everything delivered. Then the most amazing thing happened. The manager asked how far away I lived. Then he came to the house to collect the taxes in person and deliver them for me. While he was here, he even installed them for me. Now that is customer service!


Following up on my experience. I posted my details to T-Mobile on Facebook and got a reply within an hour. The rep was very understanding and quickly gave a credit of the $20 upgrade support charge to my account. While I don’t think it was a great experience at the store since the store rep failed to mention this charge AT ALL, I do give kudos to the FB rep who stepped in an made things right. I also suggested that during the changes at stores necessitated by COVID and the fact there will be others like me who want to get in and get out quickly that they should consider waiving this fee if someone does not use the store rep for any upgrade support.

In the end I was happy with their quick response.

Userlevel 4
Badge +9

If it hasn't been mentioned, the upgrade support charge is only applied if you are purchasing a new device with a T-Mobile rep, either over the phone or in the store. Upgrading via does not incur a charge, nor does upgrading with JOD or JUMP! in any situation. 



However…  I do think this fee should apply to customers who want the store employees to put their SIM in the new device, transfer their contacts, setting up the device, etc.  Where I think this fee should not be charged is, when just going into a store and walking out with a phone that is still in the box.  


I just walked into a TMO store today knowing we wanted a Samsung A51 5G. Bought it outright. Transaction from entry to exit was 5 minutes. They didn’t even open the box as we said we would do the activation and transfers at home so we could limit our social exposures during the COVID pandemic. We walked out and had the $20 charge on our receipt! The rep did not mention it AT ALL!… They pocketed $20 for them doing abso-frickin-lutely nothing. Your point is a good one. We should not have been charged. TMO has become the UNCARING UNCARRIER in my mind.

Userlevel 6
Badge +13

Customers need to do their research before hand on any associated fees.  As a customer myself, I won’t buy a device from a store that charges this ridiculous fee.  It isn’t the sales persons fault.  It is mandated by T-Mobile.  A polite conversation with a sales person, explaining to them you want an upgrade, but will not if they charge you that fee, can get it waived.  You could also talk to Customer Care and ask that this fee be credited back to you.  

However…  I do think this fee should apply to customers who want the store employees to put their SIM in the new device, transfer their contacts, setting up the device, etc.  Where I think this fee should not be charged is, when just going into a store and walking out with a phone that is still in the box.  

I have a suggestion for Tmobile shaking it up…….
If you have been a member for almost 20 years (or at least a few years) and only upgrade every 2-3 years, there should not be a service upgrade charge.

Exact same thing happened to me. The store rep did not say anything about the fee. I called to complain and they did not remove the charge. I will switch carriers now after being a long time customer who has referred lots of people to TMobole.

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Well, I can absolutely tell you the Customer Care rep at my local TMO store did NOT explain the $20 fee to me and what it was for, but it was early on in the implementation of this "junk fee", so shame on me for not checking and/or questioning my bill.  I actually thought it was a down payment for the new phone at first.  That said, customer care did reverse when I called in to complain as a 13 year customer at the time.  It's not the $20 or the $700 phone, I can easily afford both, but what amounts to deception and/or assuming a customer knows about this fee that was just implemented about 2 years ago, I believe.  If you haven't bought a new phone since then, you wouldn't really know about the fee, would you?  Also, if there shouldn't be a "fuss over a $20 fee", feel free to pick it up or take it off a customer's bill...not that big a deal for a billion dollar company, right?  😉

I highly wouldn't recommend believing what customers say vs what was actually said in store or between customer care reps. Most of it is fabricated, especially when upgrade fees have been in place for a very verryyyy long time, I always see customers say "oh well I've been a customer for 10 years and I've never paid one before," okay that's nice, I've been in this industry just as long. Surprises me how much people fuss over a $20 fee rather than their attention on the fsct they are usually purchasing devices that retsil for $700+ that only cost around $75 make.

Userlevel 6
Badge +14

Hey 15 years is a really long time and we appreciate that. Sorry if you weren't aware of that fee, but it's been something we charge with upgrades for a while now. I'm curious about the experience you had with this. Have you upgraded other times through out your tenure with us? Also, were you made aware of the charge before you bought the phone?

Just got charged this $20 Upgrade Support Charge for walking into a store to purchase a new phone.  I am happy to see I am not the only one infuriated.  I've been a T-Mobile customer for 15+ years and will now be looking for another carrier.  Just another way for a large corporation to fleece their customers.  The whole point is to force all customers to only buy online so staff can continue to be off-shored & terminated and stores closed.  Less staff means more corporate profit.  While I am sure all carriers now charge an upgrade fee, I think the point is people need to wake up.  I would have walked out of the store to buy the phone online however I would not have been able to wait a week for the new phone.

You do know all carriers charge for an upgrade support charge, redundant to get mad about it when its $20, and at least its billed up front instead of the bill like how at&t used to do, keep in mind also other carriers do charge more. At&t used to be $40, I believe its $30 now but its placed on your bill, sprint charges $30 as well. It's only waived when you purchase your device online because its classified as assisted support charge, meaning if you need help transferring data, changing out your sim, or any kind of support, will result in the charge being placed. The reps do not make money off it, and if you actually go to a store and look at the price tags for phones. If you buy a phone outright instead of going through the upgrade process, the MRC tends to be $30 or more, so for example an iphone 11 64gb is $699 when processed as an upgrade but you add $20 and the reps assist you. You buy it outright, you're going to spend an extra $10. So if you don't want it charged, buy your phone online and set it up yourself.

I was excited about getting the new One Plus 7T, but when I heard about the $20 upgrade fee, I headed for the door.  I can't believe they want to charge me $20 for the privilege of buying another phone.  It makes no sense to me.

When I told the salesman that I thought the charge was ridiculous, he made some sort of face at me.  From the clerk's countenance, most customers probably don't question the fee.  I went from being modestly annoyed to down right angry.  At least he told me about it up front, which doesn't always happen apparently.

I'm going to hang on to my old phone for a while longer.

Went to the store to get a phone as well.  Went to get a new Samsung A10e which was advertised for 175.  Have 4 lines currently but needed to replace my phone which is shattered.  So first thing was that I was charged 200 dollars since the 175 price is when you activate a new line and in the tiniest print imaginable the device only price is 199.  Then the rep slapped the 20 dollar upgrade support charge.  I asked what it was for and they said to move stuff from my old phone to the new phone.  I was like that is easy and I can do that, but they could not waive it.  Manager came over and could not waive it.  He basically said I could buy the phone from Samsung and avoid that fee.  So went to Samsung, found the phone on sale for 175 unlocked, but decided to do some shopping and found an A50 at Amazon for a total of 250 unlocked so went with that.  Too bad T-Mobile's policies and non-sense pricing scheme lost them a phone device sell.  I will likely not get a phone there when its too easy to just get it from Amazon, Samsung, or others.  I saw Samsung has great deals on a trade in which I may do for my wife's phone. 

Userlevel 7
Badge +13

I would suggest contacting Tmobile support through messenger using Facebook

or Twitter and see if they can waive the charge since you had to go to a store when trying

to buy over the phone.

I'm a new T-Mobile client, just moved over from ATT.  I moved over 4 lines plus I added a 5th for my youngest who is old enough to have a phone now.  All 4 existing phones were OK to use on my new plan so I only needed to purchase 1.  The service rep on the phone said they were out of stock and I could simply go into a T-Mobile store to get it but he'd ship me 5 SIM cards.

I converted my 4 phones myself and went in to buy the 5th phone.  I was very surprised when I was hit with the BS $20 "Upgrade" charge. 

I asked why since I was NOT upgrading anything and their service rep told me to pick it up in the store.  They said they could not remove it and it was so they could open the box and set it up for me.  I refused to have her set it up, I just did my other 4 myself.  I didn't need or want her to do it.  She still charged me the $20 or I could leave without the phone.  My daughter was excited and expecting it, so I paid the extortion

This is NOT a good way to start a relationship with a new client!

The original rep worked hard to gain my trust and business away from ATT but he should have been upfront about this BS $20 charge before I committed to T-Mobile.  I still would have changed but I would be a happier customer, instead they've soured the relationship over $20!  Do you think I'll be recommending them to anyone?  Do you think I'll be loyal to them?

Yesterday I stopped at T-Mobile store to get info on new LG Stylo 5.  Was told it would be in today, so went in and was told it would be a $20 upcharge added to price. I asked why since I was upgrading to a higher price phone and they would be getting the business of new phone cost.  Said it was a charge made on all new phones purchased thru the store.  I went back home and found if ordered online, there was no "upcharge fee".  Well I am not paying a $20 fee just to get a new phone.  I decided to buy phone from another store for less money. Got phone shipped to me with no shipping fee in just two days plus it was almost a hundred dollars cheaper than at T-Mobile store and online.  What a BS rip off not paying no $20! Been with T-Mobile since 2005.  Cannot believe this is happening.  They need to do something about this BS!

Badge +2

I'd always advocate to check your monthly bill and/or confirm ANY charges you may or may not incur when doing something new/different/etc with TMO...or any company for that matter.  The thing that really irked me when I started the thread over 2 years ago is that I believe the "charge" was either mentioned casually or thinking it was a downpayment on the new phone.  In your case, if not mentioned at all, I'd be on the horn with Customer Service to see if they can help (ask for a courtesy credit) and/or let them know what store this happened at, so they can address it with them.  I'm not 100% sure as it was a couple years ago, but I believe I did call CS and TMO gave me some kind of a credit.  Overall, TMO has been very good to me from the aspect of resolving any issues and really can't blame Corporate a lot of times for what some of their stores say...or don't say.  It really is a loss for TMO, as I will probably never buy a phone again from them, especially at a store, unless there is some kind of special pricing (like my S9) and/or no Upgrade Support Charge.  I can buy direct from the cell maker (Apple, Samsung, etc) and not have to worry about a "phantom", they almost all have payment plans like TMO, if you have to do that, so not seeing an advantage coupled with a $20 USC.  Give em a call, they may help you out, especially if a new customer.  Worth a shot...

Userlevel 5
Badge +11

I read your post, and the members' posts before yours. In 12/2017 I purchased a new LG Stylo 3 Plus from a corporate store 7 miles south. The employee had to put in a nano SIM. He also set up the phone.  The charges were for the phone, SIM, and taxes that came to $280. I have a prepaid account, and from what I understand I may not be able to purchase a phone online. That's fine. I would rather use other sources to purchase a T-Mobile phone elsewhere. You, sir, are correct! This is a great chat area. I have learned a lot, I have added some here, and I have PO'd some.