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Mon, May 3, 2021 5:31 PM

AT&T charging international long distance for WhatsApp FaceTime calls made through home wifi

AT&T is charging me hundreds of dollars for making phonecalls/video calls while on my home wifi- explaining to me that I'm  "never really off data."  This doesn't make sense- there are four buttons on my phone:

1.  Cellular

2. Airplane mode

3. Bluetooth

4. Wifi

How is it possible to get charged data when my cellular is turned off and I am only connected to my home wifi?  AT&T manager in the billing department snarkily told me, "why don't you call WhatsApp and ask them... in the meantime, read the fine print of your contract with WhatsApp, it says you get charged for data."  

They were unable to confirm whether FaceTime is also charging for data on long distance calls made over my home wifi. 

I said, "this doesn't make sense, it defies logic- what's the point of turning your cellular off and using your home wifi, if, as you're telling me, I'm always on cellular?"  I told the rep that the whole reason AT&T sells different data packages is so that people can use free wifi and save their data for when they need it.  How am I being charged data when I am technically, according to my phone, only connected to my home wifi?  

After spending 5 hours over two days, 3 hours on a third day, 3 hours on a fourth day, going round and round from customer service to billing to advanced billing to fraud department to advanced customer technical support to AT&T loyalty department to nowhere, I still have no answers- and not one AT&T customer service rep has been able to solve a very simple problem:  reversing international long distance phone charges.  

From a customer service standpoint, this is misconduct.  To call it corporate stonewalling: where the customer is denied any sort of solution to a problem in a timely manner and has to spend the equivalent of an entire work week on the phone getting transferred from department to department without any recourse- is 100% accurate.  

Managers angrily tell you, "I gave you my phone number!"  But they never pick up the phone when you call back to check on the status of cases filed- nor are their voicemail boxes set up- and if they are, they're full, so you can't leave a message!

$850 in fraudulent international 'data' charges may not matter to AT&T, but it matters to the customer, especially when the impossible: getting charged for talking over your home internet's wifi- is now possible. 


ACE - Expert


55.5K Messages

9 m ago

How is it possible to get charged data when my cellular is turned off and I am only connected to my home wifi?

Its not possible so clearly your cellular is not turned off. You are likely not getting charged for data anyway, you are probably getting charged by the minute for calls over the voice network, not the data network. Turning cellular data off does not turn the cellular voice network off. The only way to do that is to put your phone in airplane mode. This is a well known WhatsApp bug where WhatsApp places the call over the cellular voice network, not over the internet. This happens to WhatsApp users on every carrier, it is not ATT specific.

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