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CKDexterHaven's profile

Teacher

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8 Messages

Wednesday, January 24th, 2018 12:16 AM

Data Overcharging / Customer service promises investigations, then say there was no investigation.

I have subscribed to AT&T internet for nearly a year. I have a Data Allowance of 1024GB/month. I typically run close to that or exceed it. I receive email notifications when i am close to my limit. Then, when i exceed it, i'm sent a notice that i'm being charged $10 for an additional 50GB package. That's where the problem begins.

 

On two occasions, i have contacted Chat so that i can monitor my precise usage within the Additional Data Pack. I determined on one occasion that i had downloaded 3.6GB of material from Midnight until 11am that same day. But, ATT says i consumed 32GB of data!!!! Nearly 10x my actual usage. Which is impossible. 

 

From Midnight to 11am, My usage consisted only of downloads to my desktop computer, through a download app. My television, PS3, and Xbox devices were all OFF. My iPad and phone were OFF. While i was downloading files, i was also 'surfing' the web. It is not possible that my web surfing consumed the MYSTERY 28GB of data in an 11 hour period, of which i was only online for 3 of those hours. 

 

This has been a repeating theme. I am charged for 1 or 2 or 3 'additional data packs' just about every month, even though i change my internet/download habits when i'm advised i'm near my limits. And each time, even though i'm certain i'm using less than 10GB of data, i'm charged as if i have used 50GB. 

 

I've been over the various permutations with various customer service reps in chats. I've spent ten hours in chats, being transferred to agent after agent, having to re-explain each time, and then given nonsensical, unhelpful, runaround responses by each agent. Each agent also always says something to the effect that, "you will not face this problem again." And yet i do. 

 

What is possibly most offensive at this point is that in both September and October, by multiple agents, i was told ATT would INVESTIGATE the reasons for the overcharges. I wait and wait for the results of the investigations and for the Credits to my account these agents promise. And now, today, four months after the last time i was told an investigation was underway, i'm told there WAS NO INVESTIGATION. And further, the person i just chatted with said HE would initiate an investigation, but gave no means of investigating. I asked specifically for a time period to monitor, so that there would be a way to compare my records of usage versus AT&T's. But, he only repeated a few ambiguous statements, none of which could possibly result in a resolution or determination. 

 

This seems like a scam, pure and simple. The massive company tells you you're using an invisible product. They say you used more of that invisible product than you can see being used. Then they tell you it's being used by you even when the devices that use it are switched OFF. Even though those devices are consuming NO ENERGY/battery power to use all of that invisible product..... And because it's unlikely that anyone would bother to try to monitor that usage in a predetermined time period with a stringent set of rules, the company relies on the consumer TRUSTING the company's technology that measures such things. 

 

What else is offensive? In September when the issue was raised with one agent, that agent credited my account $30 for the overcharging, even before initiating the investigation (the investigation that the current agent says did not exist). But, now, the current agent—a supervisor!— says he can only offer $10 when i was overcharged $20. There was NO FOUNDATION or rationale for why he could only offer $10 when the previous agent was able to credit $30. Then, minutes later, this supervisor says he can make it $15! These agents are randomly making up 'the rules' — more lies. When asked how he was able to change it to $15 when previously he said he could only offer $10, he says he asked his manager. When i then asked to be put in contact with this "manager," he said the manager was "not around." When i asked how to contact the manager, to send written documentation of my claims and complaints, he gave me a name "Stanley." I asked for full name and mailing address, and i was told "Stanley Anderson." When i mentioned that this name sounded "made-up" and asked if either the supervisor or Stanley Anderson were in the United States, after asking three times, the supervisor confessed they were in India. "Stanley Anderson." Sure. So, more deception and lies. I really do not care where a 'call center' is located. But, it's deceitful for agents you're in contact with to make up names, and then put you off and give the runaround when asked how to contact a manager or the corporate office. 

 

This is ALL shady. The strategies EVERY agent uses in the chats to appease the customer without ever resolving an issue — they're all the same. Deceit in the form of placation. Which casts a bad light on the OVERCHARGING matter at the core of it all. If you can't trust a customer service rep, how can you trust the billing practices that force the necessity of the rep? 

 

I have transcript PDFs of all of these chats. And in them are lies and mistakes by agents after agents. Offers made, that are not honored by the next agent i'm transferred to. A consistency in the misdirection and deceit. 

 

Oh! I almost forgot.... Another 'insult.' 

 

When i've explained for the umpteenth time that i was just overcharged $20 for data i didn't use, the agent tries to up-sell me! This actually happened two or three times:

 

Me: You've overcharged me $20 for data i could not possibly have used.

Agent: I have a solution. I can offer you an Unlimited Data Package!

Me: Okay. What's the cost?

Agent: $30 more than what you are currently paying per month.

Me: So.... to correct a $20 problem, you want to charge me $30. 

Agent: I completely understand. Let me check on that!.....

 

Am *I* the m0ron here? 

I get it — customer service agents work from scripts, and routines with regard to responses. But, my god, does it take a genius to recognize how stupid this is before it comes off of your keyboard? It's not even like it's an autonomic verbal response. The person is TYPING this to me, and so there's 20-30 seconds of it going through his/her head while they're doing it.....

Tutor

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3 Messages

5 years ago

I have experienced the same problems with overcharging.  The most annoying thing is that no one on billing department (allegedly) has the ability to tell me what my actual usage was.  Last month I finally got somebody in a weird department to tell me.  Oops turns out I did not go over despite being charged extra $20.  She put me on hold and returned to say I was going to get a credit.  Next bill comes.  No credit and now I am charged an extra $30!  [Edited to comply with Guidelines] Any ideas on a forum to find out how widespread the problem is?

Teacher

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8 Messages

5 years ago

I don't think there's any reliable way to determine how widespread it is. I would imagine it extends to everyone who subscribes to the limited data plan, and even realistically approaches their monthly limit. I would bet there's some computer algorithm that automatically bumps the usage stats once you approach a threshold, all to generate revenue for them. Because really, how many people are going to make the effort to record and document their usage? People just tend to accept a $10 penalty without thinking about it. 

 

I would suggest that you fill out the FCC complaint as provided in LilGuyvsGiant's link. I did that and immediately received an acknowledgment of the FCC's receipt of it, a Ticket Number, and advice that i will receive updates as the matter is investigated. 

 

As far as determining how to get more people involved, i think that's the job of the law firm. When there's a Class Action Suit, i believe they send out postcards to the appropriate audience—potential customers affected. 

JefferMC

ACE - Expert

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31K Messages

5 years ago

In your very carefully controlled test... did you account for the fact that the AT&T collection day begins at 00:00 UTC?  Six or seven hours before your midnight.

 

Teacher

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8 Messages

5 years ago

In one case, i was told by the chat rep when the period began. 

In the most recent case, no, i went by what the AT&T usage website indicated. 

 

In either case, it didn't matter, as i limited my downloads to a specific amount of time, and outside of that period, there was no downloading going on. The only thing that could have 'intruded' into that 'time zone discrepancy' would have been simple television streaming—on ONE non 4k television. 

 

If it's a time zone issue, it's irrelevant, as my test periods began when i began my work days. Before that, i was asleep or watching local (hard drive, not streaming) media before i went to sleep. So, thanks, with your snarky reply, for illuminating that i wouldn't even have been awake during this period of massive data consumption.

 

And really, how 'carefully controlled' of a test does it have to be to be valid to you? As i said previously, it was pretty simple: collecting all the files in a folder and seeing the total of the file sizes. Why have you ignored that i haven't even had the storage space to accommodate the amount of data i've been charged with? Where is that data going after i supposedly received it? Does it evaporate? And when your reps asserted that my devices, even when switched off, still 'sip data,' how do you account for the fact that those devices didn't consume any battery power while they were supposedly chomping away at all that data? 

 

Instead of trying to find a flaw in my simpleton's methodology, why not address the fact that no investigation was done in the three months that several of your agents said they would be done? And when two of your agents responded to this thread via direct message, asking me for more information, there was no response after it was provided? 

Tutor

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3 Messages

5 years ago

I absolutely agree that there is some fraud and/or computer algorithm at
work. I just spent another two hours on the phone. Would you believe that
my data usage for the most recent billing period (for which I am 99% sure I
am being overcharged) is mysteriously gone from my account? A technical
support guy was able to find my usage going back to last February but not
for this January. We could find my February 2018 usage to date. The
amazing thing is in no month did I ever use as much data as I was charged
for. That class action is looking pretty sweet about now. I will fill out
FCC complaint. I also intend to contact my state's attorney general office
which has a consumer fraud division.
JefferMC

ACE - Expert

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31K Messages

5 years ago

@CKDexterHaven,

 

I have no reps involved in this, as I am not an employee or representative of AT&T.  I, however, have done a study that lasted 45 days where I compared my daily utilization to that reported by AT&T and found that it tracked within 5% each day.  And it was a lot higher than I expected it to be.

 

I compared my daily utilization by having a router in my network collect all bytes in both directions, not just the bytes in a download folder (which, incidentally, doesn't account for retries, overhead, acknowledgements, or anything else going in the other direction). 

 

I agree that AT&T's support organization leaves A LOT to be desired.  But you are alleging fraud when, IMHO, you weren't measuring the same thing AT&T was.

 

Teacher

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8 Messages

5 years ago

That's cool. But, note that i have never had a complaint about (most of) the initial 1024GB allotment. I don't track that data during the month. I do have a problem with the amount assessed as i approach the limit. And a major problem with the 'penalty'/Additional 50GB measurements. 

 

Why were you bothering to track your usage versus their measurements in the first place if not for some disagreement? 

 

"Retries, overhead, acknowledgments, etc" — you've found those matters to equate to SEVEN TIMES the file sizes? 

And if they are a contributing factor in my situation, why don't they also have the same compounding affect within the normal monthly data allotment? And why hasn't AT&T indicated this is potentially the problem? 

 

The issue here is actually half-related to my assertion of data 'miscalculation' (to speak euphemistically), and half about how pi$$-poor, deceitful, and irresponsible ALL of the relative 'customer service' has been in all of my efforts over the past year to resolve this issue. 

Tutor

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3 Messages

5 years ago

I don't measure anything in terms of data usage. My information comes
directly from usage posted on my account. Because I have DSL, which is all
ATT offers in my area, both billing and tech services stated that what is
reflected as my data usage on my account accessible to me is what is used
to calculate my "service charge adjustment." So I am and was charged for
going over my allotted usage when ATT records show I did not. Nobody I
have talked to at ATT can explain how it happened. Notably however they
don't claim that the usage amount I see is NOT in fact the amount I
actually used. An error once is possible. An error every month since ATT
started imposing the service charge adjustment is indicative of systemic
fraud. If you think it is not possible just remember the Wells Fargo bank
situation.

Tutor

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4 Messages

4 years ago

I'm having the same problem.  For two months now, mid month I get a notice that I am almost at the end of my data plan and they charge me $15 for more.  I cannot get anyone on the phone or in chat that knows what they are doing.  "Cindy" in India can't tell me why this is and no offer to fix it, just "you need to pay it".  I'm getting very frustrated with ATT.  I don't care where your customer service department is, but I do care that they don't know what they are talking about.  They put you on hold so they can read their manual for the answer to my question.

sandblaster

ACE - Expert

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62.2K Messages

4 years ago

@seefishn I suspect you are talking about cellular data, in which case you are in the wrong forum. This forum and thread is about home internet service. Besides, ATT can’t tell you what is using your data, that is up to you. If you are talking about cellular, your phone tracks all data usage. It will tell you what apps or functions are using your data. 

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