AT&T charged me for a test app that doesn’t do anything

As part of testing Windows Phone 7, I’ll be downloading and purchasing a lot of apps. I get this. And I’m even OK with Microsoft charging for apps and games ahead of the public launch of the Marketplace. Of the two games that just shipped, Hexic Rush and Flowerz, for example, one was free (Flowerz), while the other, Hexic Rush, cost $2.99.

AT&T, meanwhile, is testing their own add-on to the Windows Phone Marketplace, as I also described earlier. As part of this test, they posted a test app, “Find Free Food,” that displays a blurry picture of a hamburger and some random controls but does absolutely nothing. Yes, seriously.

So today I got my AT&T bill. It was about $92, or over $5 more than usual. Curious, I started leafing (well, virtually; this was online) through it to see what was up. These guys do like to nickel and dime. You gotta pay attention.

Turns out I have $4.28 in actual communications charges related to mobile purchases. That AT&T test app that does absolutely nothing? They charged me $1.29 for it. Yes, seriously.

And those Microsoft games? Flowerz, the free one, works great and is actually a great little game. But I’ve never gotten Hexic Rush to actually load properly. It just crashes. I paid $2.99 for that one. Yes, seriously.

Attached to these fees were $2.60 in other charges, fees, and taxes (which is insane, by the way; that’s over 50 percent of the original cost). So the total extra I paid for this bit of non-working silliness is $6.88. I know. It’s not breaking the bank. But this is why people don’t trust wireless companies. And it’s just ridiculous.

Here’s the relevant portion of the bill:


And I guarantee you that if I actually visit my account in MEdia Net (sic) as recommended above, nothing will be there. Because this doesn’t work/exist on Windows Phone currently.

Sometimes I just hate you, AT&T.

I paid the bill immediately, by the way. I always do.

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10 Responses to AT&T charged me for a test app that doesn’t do anything

  1. imagesbyandre says:

    will all app purchases show up on your att bill? if we have a zune / live account why wouldn’t app purchases show up there

  2. mobilepaddy says:

    “Attached to these fees were $2.60 in other charges, fees, and taxes (which is insane, by the way; that’s over 50 percent of the original cost”

    Are these fees etc unique to AT&T or will this apply to any carrier? Can you purchase apps using micorosoft points in the zune software avoiding the carrier fees?

  3. pmaroun says:

    Why would AT&T charge for general Xbox Live Apps purchased from the marketplace? Is purchasing through the Marketplace billed differently for the phone than for the Zune (ie not using MS Points)?

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  5. jkimrey says:


    I assume that means that any app purchase at the “main” MS WP7 app store will also be charged to your phone bill?

    Is it possible to pay via credit card? As you mentioned, it’s difficult enough to keep up with all the nickel and dime charges on a wireless bill – I think I’d prefer to pay for my apps separate via another method.

  6. eugb says:

    If they release an update to these apps, do you get those for free or would you have to pay again, I wonder? How does something like that work on the apple phone?

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  8. Onno Willems says:

    Suddenly the Apple model (Apple checking if it is not a bogus app like that ‘Find free food’ and checking if it is not crashing all the time) doesn’t look so silly, does it?

    • Paul Thurrott says:

      No one ever said it was silly.

      Apple’s approval process is hardly transparent, which is silly (and “wrong”).

      Apple’s decision to have a highly curated store is a good one, however. Just look at Android. These are the two extremes. Microsoft’s will sit in the middle, curated but more transparent than Apple’s.

      And let’s not read too much into how a store behaves during the beta process. This isn’t AT&T’s final storefront. They’re just testing. My complaint is with AT&T, not Microsoft.

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