Beware Fees with 'Free' iPhone App

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AT&T Navigator, a rebrand of Telenav's turn-by-turn GPS navigation software, hit the iPhone app store this morning. Watch out. It is a Trojan horse into your wallet.

The initial cost is, of course, free. However, AT&T adds $10 to your monthly phone bill until you somehow get them to stop billing you.

That means this "free" app will likely cost you $120/year unless you are somehow able to wade through AT&T's customer service system to disable the product. This is the same system that took two weeks to activate my iPhone (I had a credit card billing address in a different region from the area code I needed -- ugh!).

The GPS navigation system is a monthly charge so it should only apply if you are using it, right? What if you don't need it for a month?

You still get charged.

Can't you just delete the app?

Deleting the app is not enough(!!) and there is no clear way to stop the billing online. Until you can get their customer support to stop charging you, every month, you'll be paying $10 in additional fees. Even if you don't use the service.

To get this off of your bill you are looking at spending a lot of your time on the phone with AT&T's "knowledgeable" reps. Oh, and this is a new system . . . surely there won't be any glitches in your cancellation </sarcasm>.This is a disturbing new trend of use now, pay later applications that target the same "credit card mindset" that has put many consumers in debt. Hopefully they won't be successful . . . but unfortunately, I think AT&T might have a hit on its hands.

I'm personally waiting for TomTom's system to come out which should be a one-time charge and a better service.

This story, "Beware Fees with 'Free' iPhone App " was originally published by Computerworld.

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