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MIUser

Teacher

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13 Messages

Sun, Apr 29, 2018 11:45 PM

Unauthorized in-flight wireless charges

Have others been surprised by unauthorized in-flight wireless charges from AT&T? I got charged $128 for in-flight wireless on a Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt to the US. However, I never authorized or requested in-flight data, nor was I aware of in-flight data usage. Why would I, when I was also paying $10/day for AT&T's International Passport Service which covers international voice/data. I reported to AT&T but they're insisting I pay for these unauthorized charges. They're trying to negotiate me down to 50%, but I refuse on principle. AT&T knows better and should be ashamed. This is another consumer-fraud scandal brewing. I reported to the FTC Consumer Protection Unit (https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/), which took just five minutes to file a complaint. Please let me know if others are in the same boat with AT&T.

Responses

Contributor

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3 Messages

5 months ago

My assertion is not incorrect.  1) The default settings on the phone are to turn cell roaming on.  2) I had paid $10/day per phone to use it in Germany, which I will gladly pay for since I signed up for that service.  How was I to know the airplane was a cellular hot spot that would charge me $300 per flight?  This was not made clear to me beforehand.  Any other arguments about airplane mode and cellular roaming are irrelevant to my assertion.  If AT&T were acting in good faith, then they would either cease doing business with these other providers or have a specific mode to turn on specifically for this type of usage.  As stated, data roaming is on by default and included within my normal plan.  Why would anyone think that the airplane is a specific surcharge.  For example, when I went to Morocco on this same trip, I knew my plan was not covered there, so I bought a special plan that would work there and I turned off my data roaming because I had specific instruction from AT&T to do so.  This is a sleazy business practice by AT&T and, if AT&T were not so nefarious, they would make it very clear and easy to opt in to this airplane data roaming, rather than having to opt out.   

sandblaster

ACE - Expert

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35.9K Messages

5 months ago

@ari_blum You are obviously not going to change your mind and have decided to blame ATT, that’s fine. Personally, I put my phone in airplane mode on any flight, foreign or domestic. I also put it in airplane mode on cruise ships. When I travel internationally, I leave data roaming off and only turn it on when I want to use data, even if I have an international plan. In fact, data roaming is far is my default setting. This prevents unintended data usage and unintended charges. I can truthfully say I’ve never gotten an unintended international charge and am quite sure I never will. 

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Fl_retire

ACE - Professor

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1.4K Messages

5 months ago

I put my phone in airplane mode prior to boarding any flight like @sandblaster  I have flown Lufthansa and Swissair and have received the notice on the use of cell service.

 

If you say that AT&T should block the use, what about the individuals that need/want to use the service. Guess you want these individuals to purchase another phone and plan from another cell phone provider. 

https://www.att.com/offers/international-plans/day-pass.html?gclsrc=aw.ds&&gclid=Cj0KCQiA-4nuBRCnARIsAHwyuPpzm5lvbygUhP6telV05RKXTXv0LWZ5GZ4vbZliYf56gjTy1ZTAHwUaAnqpEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds

Excerpt from International Day Pass

Service restrictions: Not available for wireless home phone services, connected vehicles, or connected devices. Pay-per-use international rates will apply. International use aboard cruise ships and airlines is not included. 

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scottemick

Teacher

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38 Messages

The airline should definitely inform people that failure to put the phone into airplane mode may result in data charges.

AT&T could easily put software on the phone to warn the user that it is about to connect to data roaming for $10 / mb and ask if the user wants to proceed with this.

lizdance40

ACE - Sage

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72.1K Messages

AT&T, Verizon And other carriers are not your nanny. Is very simple to disable these connections on your phone.
Many who complain had purchased a plan to use abroad (on land) , Which means they have given permission for their phone to roam already. AT&T has absolutely no idea where you are roaming or what Network you have connected to until they get the bill for your usage from that neywork. By that time it is too late.
I know adulting can be difficult. But we're all going to have to put on our big people panties and get the job done.

🐾 I don’t work for AT&T. My replies are based on experience and reading content available on the website. If you posted personal information, please edit and remove.

“Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part” 🆘 Dont expect normal any time soon.

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scottemick

Teacher

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38 Messages

Some of us have older people on our plan, people with mental handicaps, children, employees of lesser mental capacity.

As a computer programmer and database administrator, even I have to carefully study where I'm going and figure out best plans and all the caveats.

If AT&T and other carriers cannot make it simple for the average user to avoid getting nailed for roaming, this is a customer service fail.

I have 8 phones on my at&t account as well as fiber internet and tv. I should be able to control whether each of my phones can use cruise ship or airplane data from the app or website.

My father is 76 and I was able to educate him on AT&T at sea vs AT&T on land in NZ and Australia with Day Pass. I was able to explain and have him understand how to turn on airplane mode, but then still connect to wifi if it was available on the ship.

And, I was able to get him to understand how once in a while, if he bumped the phone the wrong way, or sometimes it just happens that airplane mode might get disabled.

I summarized all this on a brief succinct card for him to look at to refresh his memory daily.

I'm extremely lucky because I know plenty of people who simply do not have the mental capacity to handle all this complication. I'm sorry to be the one to tell a company this because it should already know. It shouldn't take a mentally sharp person to be constantly vigilant to avoid getting charges.

It should be easy and without any effort at all for the customer to control spending with NO SURPRISES.

What I am reading over and over again is customer after customer getting surprised by roaming charges. Clearly having the customer very frustrated with a high bill he or she cannot pay and a carrier stuck with roaming charges is NOT an efficient solution...Or a solution that promotes retention.

So many easy ideas....large clear indicator...phone is data roaming, $6 is the charge per mb to use, and cumulative charges so far are $128. On/off software button to disable data roaming. Maybe even a sound alert when the phone starts data roaming....

Other ideas are, phone is already activated for international roaming, but calls only cost $0.25 a minute while texts and data are included. (t-mobile offers this)....But speeds are at 256 megabit/sec. You can get 4G data speeds for an up-charge. With the t-mobile system, you're really never going to get a huge surprise bill.

Another company making it easier on customers is Google Fi. With Google Fi you're also ready to go when you land somewhere for $0.25 a min for talk and data/text is included.

Telling people adulting is difficult and to put on their big panties is not going to make customers happier and want to stay with the company. Such a philosophy is a sure way to go bankrupt.

sandblaster

ACE - Expert

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35.9K Messages

Telling people adulting is difficult and to put on their big panties is not going to make customers happier and want to stay with the company. Such a philosophy is a sure way to go bankrupt.

That comment came from another customer, not ATT.

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Gary L

ACE - Expert

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15.8K Messages

@scottemick wrote:

If AT&T and other carriers cannot make it simple for the average user to avoid getting nailed for roaming, this is a customer service fail.

I should be able to control whether each of my phones can use cruise ship or airplane data from the app or website.

I absolutely agree with this, it should be easy to prevent this. These types of networks should have to be an opt-in, like choosing a new WiFi network.

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lizdance40

ACE - Sage

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72.1K Messages

My parents have always been on either my plan or my sisters. My 82 year-old mother is on my account now. She has traveled the world with various Elder groups. And each time she travels we turn off data on her line, or her phone on suspension. And let her know how she can contact us if she needs to.
When it gets to the point when you are parenting your parents. , you are still the adults.
If you want AT&T to be responsible for the phone's usage while you are out of the country, and don't know how to do so, drop the phone by your nearest AT&T store until you return. Otherwise do not make excuses because you're dumb computer connects as it should to any available service. It is doing exactly what it is designed to do it is you who have dropped the ball.
There are controls on your phone, There are controls on your account. Both of these can prevent your phone from unwanted roaming.

In your myATTaccount, All you have to do is go in and remove access (uncheck) the $0 travel pay per use. This prevents your phone from roaming. This would have to be done for every phone line that you do not want to roam Outside of the United States

On the phone itself, you can turn off data roaming or put the phone in airplane mode.

You cannot blame the carrier because you do not know how to operate the supercomputer that fits in your pocket.

(edited)

🐾 I don’t work for AT&T. My replies are based on experience and reading content available on the website. If you posted personal information, please edit and remove.

“Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part” 🆘 Dont expect normal any time soon.

Award for Community Excellence 2019 Achiever*
*I am not an AT&T employee, and the views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.
scottemick

Teacher

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38 Messages

What I have seen that people want is....that is missing is

1. Enable International Daypass

2. Prevent Ship at sea and airplane roaming

Currently this requires one to go online and enable daypass...but then remember to turn on airplane mode and be vigilant that it stays on while at sea, and then remembering to turn off airplane mode once in port.

"You cannot blame the carrier because you do not know how to operate the supercomputer that fits in your pocket."

I have learned as a programmer and a business owner that we need to make things easy for people to use instead of blaming them. When I see many customer cases describing unwanted roaming charges, and I see them all the time, then I can see that. Did you notice that many of these cases involve businesses that give employees a phone who are on call and these business owners got hit with unwanted roaming at sea charges for hundreds, even thousands of dollars? The IT manager had no controls available to enable daypass while disabling at sea roaming in the online portal. Customer service said the best he could do was educate his employees before they go on a trip.

Many people who have only used a phone domestically, are probably unaware of what roaming even is or that you could get hit with such high charges on a ship at sea or on an international flight. I have been around since the beginning of cell phones when roaming was common, so I am more used to the concept...But data roaming also didn't exist and we frequently roamed without worrying...If you didn't want charges, you waited and called later or didn't answer the phone on an incoming call.

I appreciate all you people who can keep it together and do what you're supposed to...But obviously carriers can do better at preventing unwanted data roaming charges. Take a hint from the credit card industry. When I charge something on my American express for a large amount, or out of my usual location, I will get a text asking my to authorize the purchase as an additional authenticating factor. This simple idea has saved many people from unauthorized charges as thieves have become increasing sophisticated in planting skimmers and hacking into databases and stealing credit card data.

How easy would it be to pop up a message and ask the customer if he or she wants to data roam for $10 a mb on a plane or $6 on a ship? As a programmer I know that is not hard at all and it would save the carrier money because they are charged first for this and then pass it on to the customer. When unwanted data roaming charges occur, often times the carrier either knocks some money off for the customer, or removes it entirely. This can be very costly in terms of money and customer dissatisfaction.

Here's something interesting...The shaken/stirred protocol was created around 2014. Yet only now recently have t-mobile and at&t begun to implement it. I have been getting spoofed phone calls and texts for years now. Since I am a business owner, I answer all calls because I don't want to miss a sale or miss helping a customer. I can't stand that these people are spoofing their numbers so I have no idea if a call is a spam call. It is sad and a shame that the companies waited this long to implement the protocol that will ensure the phone number calling me that is shown is legit. Identity theft and impersonation is at epic levels. Businesses are losing money from people imitating customers or vendors and getting fake payments.

Here's another case. SIM swapping and porting phones. The carriers haven't nearly enough to prevent this either. Many people have had their sims swapped against their will, or their phone# ported over to another person's phone. They then use that to authenticate to banks, brokerages, exchanges, etc and steal that persons money. This happened to me in 2018 despite the fact that I had a huge note on my at&t account telling any employee NOT TO PORT OR SWAP ANY SIM without first calling me or writing me a letter. It is quite easy to prevent sim swapping and porting. The phone company Twilio has done this. When a port or swap is requested, the customer gets a notification that this is being requested and can approve it or deny it online. If AT&T was doing this, it would have saved me $400 that was stolen from my wife after I was sim swapped. Luckily I stopped it within 15 minutes because I'm smart enough to know what the dreaded "sim unprovisioned" message on a phone can mean. (It means run into an at&t store as fast as you can and have them swap it back). The way my sim was swapped was a manager in Arkansas was bribed to swap my sim by a person. The manager used the option stating customer has drivers license. Even though I expressly forbid this on my account.

So in conclusion....When there are significant problems and a company can do something...It should do something.. I am not saying people should be completely irresponsible. You are doing with your parents like I am doing with my father and mother-in-law. We are responsible and I've never had unwanted roaming charges. But there are things that can be done better and should be.

lizdance40

ACE - Sage

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72.1K Messages

@scottemick while I do understand what you're writing, there are problems with implementing what you are asking for.

1. Enabling International day pass or passport requires that you either be able to call AT&T, or access your account online. Or is in my case I have told my traveling family members to contact me through Facebook and I will turn on day pass for them in an emergency. AT&T has security protocols which make it difficult to log on to accounts while you are not in the United States. This means you have to call which means you have to know the international number. By the way if you have an AT&T phone, the international number is automatically on your device in contacts.

2. Other than using airplane mode, or removing the SIM card, once you have enabled roaming there is no way to prevent connection. It is on the user.

Once you have enabled passport or day pass and roaming on a device, that device will connect to whatever roaming connection is available. There is no way AT&T can stop something that you have permitted from all the way back in the United States.

Perhaps AT&T should make reading and signing the travel tips page required reading or roaming will not be permitted?
That would be interesting.

But of course this still puts the onus on the customer/traveler.

On this page you will notice a blue section and a gray section which cover travel tips

( copy and paste)

https://www.att.com/offers/international-plans/compare-options.html

Tips

(edited)

🐾 I don’t work for AT&T. My replies are based on experience and reading content available on the website. If you posted personal information, please edit and remove.

“Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part” 🆘 Dont expect normal any time soon.

Award for Community Excellence 2019 Achiever*
*I am not an AT&T employee, and the views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.
scottemick

Teacher

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38 Messages

Thanks I know there are technical limitations...I just see things improving slowly over time....and within a year or two, I can see people won't have to worry about getting hit with excessive unwanted roaming charges.

It's already happening with Google Fi (with an MVNO no less), and T-mobile.

Constructive

Employee

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7.9K Messages

I predict it’s slowly going to be all inclusive with no extra charges in the future. When I was a teen and had a girlfriend 1 town over that was long distance and got me grounded many times due to the long distance charges. Whoda think in the future I could call from California to new you and talk all night for free

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lizdance40

ACE - Sage

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72.1K Messages

The reason you can roam free on t-mobile (Fi uses t-mo as it's primary) is its a German owned carrier, who owns carrier services all over Europe. T-mo users have the advantage of the roaming agreements Deutsche telecom made.
Both T-Mobile and Fi warn you that your service may be limited to 2G speeds.

Unfortunately T-Mobile service is still not very good in Many places in the United States including my town. Until that changes T-Mobile and Fi won't be the choice for most of rural America, and Verizon and AT&T have no reason to forge world wide agreements.
True competition is what forces businesses to actually provide similar services.

AT&T owns a carrier in Mexico, and is partners with Rogers in Canada, which is why current plans Can roam in one or both countries for free. And some older plans can roam in Mexico for free. Verizon customers can do neither, as Verizon does not own or partner in those countries. Verizon and AT&T are direct competitors. So Verizon does offer low-cost roaming in Mexico and Canada.

🐾 I don’t work for AT&T. My replies are based on experience and reading content available on the website. If you posted personal information, please edit and remove.

“Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part” 🆘 Dont expect normal any time soon.

Award for Community Excellence 2019 Achiever*
*I am not an AT&T employee, and the views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.
scottemick

Teacher

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38 Messages

I think AT&T does a good job overall with the international daypass. $10 is very reasonable in order to tap into your minutes, text, and data.

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