I strongly believe in supporting businesses that show their appreciation for America’s service members and veterans. Many fine companies have instituted programs to honor active duty military personnel and veterans, from restaurants to retail stores, to service providers. Golden Corral and Applebee’s restaurants nationwide offer free meals to all veterans and active duty military to celebrate Veterans Day. Both Lowes and Home Depot give discounts to vets, as do many major hotel chains and car rental companies, to name just a few.
A while back I reported in my RV blog that Verizon gives veterans a 15% discount on their cell phone bills. AT&T soon jumped on the bandwagon and announced the same discount for veterans.
However, as regular reader George Capelle recently learned, the folks at AT&T apparently think that while our nation’s veterans deserve a discount for their service, they should pay for that discount, to the tune of $36 a month! AT&T calls this a “sponsorship fee.” I call it a slap in the face to every man and woman who ever put on a uniform. No other company I know of charges veterans a fee in conjunction with a discount.
From what I have been reading, AT&T doesn’t hesitate to stick it to active duty personnel serving overseas either. Back in 2006, the Fractals of Change and the Prepaid Press blogs reported that AT&T had an exclusive contract to provide phone service for our soldiers serving in Iraq, and was charging inflated rates, up to four times normal costs per minute, to soldiers calling home from the war zone.
The blogs reported that the mega-company was also using its technology to block 800 numbers going to calling cards friends and family members sent to soldiers overseas. Following the blog posts on this issue, the American Legion got involved and put pressure on legislators, demanding an investigation. I spent a couple of hours researching the subject, but have not been able to learn what the current status of that particular rip-off is.
No matter if and how that was resolved, it is a disgusting example of a huge company screwing the little guy, in this case the men and women fighting and dying for us, all in the eternal quest for bigger profits.
The current $36 “sponsorship fee” shows that AT&T is all about the bottom line, and is giving our nation’s veterans and military men and women the old one finger salute in the process. I’d like to take this opportunity to return the gesture. How about you?
Tags: active duty military personnel, America’s service members, American Legion, Applebee’s, AT&T, discounts to veterans, Fractals of Change, Golden Corral, Home Depot, inflated AT&T rates, Lowes, military veterans, Prepaid Press, soldiers calling home, soldiers serving in Iraq, Verizon