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Is AT&T running some sort of data scam?

Contributor

Is AT&T running some sort of data scam?

Ive been an AT&T wireless customer for over 10 years. Ive had the same 3 iPhones for 2 years when everyone on my plan upgraded. At the time of everyone's upgrade we actually dropped 1 iPhone line (4 lines down to 3 lines). In the last 2 years I've upgraded from 10 GB to 15 GB and now to 30 GB. Somehow with 30 GB of data we still manage to run out of data before the end of the month. How did we manage to start using over 3X the original data over the course of 2 years with 1 less device? We have the exact same phones and use them for the exact same purpose we always have. No one streams music and me might watch a combined 10 minutes of Facebook videos per day. We also have no cellular service at home and thus only use wifi. I believe AT&T is really screwing us I just can't prove it
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Message 1 of 67
ACE - Expert

Re: Is AT&T running some sort of data scam?

Check each of your phones settings and see what apps are using the most data. If they are not essential apps, turn them off to cellular data so they only use wifi. Have your apps only do updates using wifi. Udates use HUGE amounts of data in a short period.

Newer phone operating systems have a wifi assist which, if the phone determines the wifi signal to be marginal, it will revert back to cellular data. Turn off the wifi assist.

This should save you HUGE amounts of data unless you do not have much wifi access.

This is a user to user forum. I am a user, just like almost everyone else on the site.
*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.
Message 2 of 67
Professor

Re: Is AT&T running some sort of data scam?

Your bill also tells you which line is using the most data. Is it one particular phone that seems to be using the majority of data? This may give you a starting point where to look.

 

(you can also dial *3282# and receive a text with data breakdown for each line)



"Customers helping customers; not always successfully"
Message 3 of 67
Contributor

Re: Is AT&T running some sort of data scam?

It turns out that AT&T WILL use your data for some apps even when you are connected to WiFi.  I have gotten into the habbit of turning the Cellular Data off and on like a light switch.  When i am connected to wifi (especially at home or work) - I turn the Cellular Data OFF.  Last month was my frest "test run" and I didn't run out of data for the first time in several months. Just started the second month but suggest you all try it.  Good luck! 

Message 4 of 67
Tutor

Re: Is AT&T running some sort of data scam?

Yes they are running some sort of scam. It seems the past few months in particular we have been hit with 3-4 overages at $15 a pop. We used to have roll over now we run over. It appears even without their NEW "unlimited" plan which states that after 22GB the data will slow it has slowed down. There have been instances in the past where ATT has been fined for practices such as this. We spent 90 minutes chatting with Customer Support for which they promised resolutions. Needless to say there have been no resolutions and in the mean time we have been hit with $30 more in overage charges. I'm sick and tired of companies like ATT and Comcast taking advantage of their customers.
Message 5 of 67
Professor

Re: Is AT&T running some sort of data scam?

Switch to one of the new Mobile Share Advantage plans. No more overages. You decide on how much full speed data you are willing to pay for and once you use it up, you will continue to have data, but at a slow speed. 



"Customers helping customers; not always successfully"
Message 6 of 67
Contributor

Re: Is AT&T running some sort of data scam?

I have no doubt that AT&T is scamming you. My question is whether there's an honest carrier out there, serving the Northeast. My experience (after 5 years of service) is that AT&T's accounting of data usage is sometimes blatantly erroneous, the errors are NEVER in my favor, and when I complain I get stonewalled. That's fraud. Three yeas ago, similar to you, AT&T's accounting indicated that my data usage had doubled in the space of a year, when the reality was flat to down. Yesterday I experienced a more abrupt form of the same scam. In the space of less than one hour, they hit me with 4 overage charges, each one $15 for an incremental gig. Understand that my normal MONTHLY usage is 6 gig, or an average of one-fifth gig per day, but AT&T claims I suddenly used 4 gig of extra data in less than an hour. Mind you, all I did was download a shipping label and try to log in to my AT&T account. I called customer service to tell them they were asserting a physical impossibility, to which the response was, "We can't see what it is you're doing, you know, like using Facebook." Aye, there's the rub. They plea ignorance where it suits them, but we must accept their accounting of our usage...and they have every incentive to lie about it. The customer service rep then pushed me to subscribe to a bigger monthly data plan for an extra $15 per month, with the enticement that if I did it right away, the $60 in fraudulent overage charges would be reversed. Yes, and in four months the house will recoup the difference. Worse, a year from now they're apt to tell me that I'm using all 16 gig per month of my handy dandy new plan. The problem is evident. The solution less clear.
Message 7 of 67
ACE - Expert

Re: Is AT&T running some sort of data scam?

Well, they kind of are....

The usage recorded on your phone is private.  Carriers see data in categories only.  They aren't allowed to see more than that.  

They are also not trained is all the inner workings of data use and recording.

 

It also flies in the face of statistics.

Statistically the top causes of data overage is

1.  Teenagers.  2.  Faulty phone or application. 3.  User error.   4.  iPhone and iOS updates, wifi assist.   So of course the first answers out of the limited tool box is this sort of answer.  I find iPhone is number 1 on my list.  I removed one iPhone for android in December. The usage on the line dropped to half.  I just replaced another one (with Android) and am hoping to see a similar drop.  

 

Our data use is never going to be exactly what our phones show.  My ATT and my phone have never been off by more than 100 MBs off of ATT monthly totals, except for one month about 18 months ago.  One month was unusually short, then a large amount of data posted at the beginning of the next month.   The 2 months together were correct to within 150 MBs.  

For some people that makes all the difference.

 

Carriers say the difference is rounding.  We can assume they round up.  We also have to assume that partner reporting is not under the control of AT&T.  

 

Both Verizon and AT&T are being accused of fudging data records to push people onto the new plans.  The only problem with that theory is only a tiny number of customers have a problem.  Millions and millions have no reason to report as they have no increase in data use or reporting over the past 2 years.

 

A few thousand anomalous accounts dont add up to a giant conspiracy.  

 

I suggest

1.  Replace your SIM card.

2.  Close all apps, especially audio and video

3.  Clear the outbox on email accounts.

4.  Limit social media apps to wifi, at least for some activities.  Settings are within the app.

5.  Factory reset.

6.  Replace the phone.

 

Many customers solve the problem by switching carriers.  What they really did, was switch phones, which was the problem in the first place.  

 

 

 

 

(The following is included after all posts to save typing) I don’t work for AT&T. My replies are based on experience and reading content available on the website. Our answers are honest, but not always appreciated. If you posted personal information, please edit and remove.
*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.
Message 8 of 67
Tutor

Re: Is AT&T running some sort of data scam?

I have been with ATT also for years always paid my bill on time signed up for unlimited data at the beginning of my two year contract and now in my 16 month of my 24 month contract never a problem before my bill has doubled and i only have 10 gb one line isnt being used because my phone broke and they wanted me to pay full price up front and after years of on time payments would not give me an installment plan on a phone to use for the account i am paying for.

Message 9 of 67
Tutor

Re: Is AT&T running some sort of data scam?

I have a unlimited plan i signed a two year contract for and now in my 16 month they switched me to 10 gb and my regular payment that i have made for years doubled with no real answers i have no choice if they continue that i will cancel plan all together.

Message 10 of 67
ACE - Master

Re: Is AT&T running some sort of data scam?

@lizdance40 In response to your data usage records,  a year or two ago, I did a reset of my iPhone cellular data counters after 1 year of not resetting them.  When I compared the numbers my iPhone reported to the sum of what AT&T had billed me for during that same time, I got the results that my phone reported I had used about 19GB of data, and AT&T had billed me for about 19.2GB of data cross that full year.

 

I just sat down and did similar for the most recent year and I see that for the period of 7-20-2015 to 9-20-2016 my iPhone has reported that I used 68GB of cellular data.  That is a huge jump, but I'm not surprised because I know I have used more data.  More interesting is that I look at my AT&T bills for the period and I see that for 7-20-2015 to 8-19-2016 AT&T has billed me for 49.11GB of data usage.  Now, my billing cycle just ended so I can't see my most recent month's usage on the AT&T site, but based on my known usage for the month and my wife's usage for the month, I know that AT&T could not have billed me for more than 10GB of data, which would mean that AT&T will have billed me for no more than 60GB of data usage for the same period that my phone reports I used 68GB of data.  This points to the fact that AT&T is obviously scamming me on my data use charges billing me for 8GB less data than I really used for those 14 or 15 months...

 


Jerry B.
"GeekBoy"

--


*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.
Message 11 of 67
ACE - Expert

Re: Is AT&T running some sort of data scam?

@Zuekini

 

As fellow customers we are here to provide information and help where we can.  But we have a few requests.

1.  For mercy sake, punctuation.  You post is very difficult to understand due to lack of it.

 

2.  Unrelated to the original thread.  If you have a problem, tacking it onto someone else's thread will not get you the attention yup want or should get.

 

3.  A time line and each event or issue listed so that we understand what happened AND WHY.

 

4.   Data plans don't get changed for no reason, there is always an incident which triggers the change.  Knowing when, may also give you an idea why.

 

5.   We all have to pay for our phones now.  All carriers dropped contracts.  

-   My ex is on my account, his phone broke after 2 years and he bought a cheap phone to replace it right away.  $40 total.  Not having a smartphone in a line is not ATTs fault.  They sell several smartphones as gophones that cost less than $200 total, not a contract price.   

 

I haven't purchased an ATT phone since I switched 2.5 years ago.  There are plenty of flagship quality phones out there for half what popular name brands sell for.  

 

 

(The following is included after all posts to save typing) I don’t work for AT&T. My replies are based on experience and reading content available on the website. Our answers are honest, but not always appreciated. If you posted personal information, please edit and remove.
*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.
Message 12 of 67
ACE - Professor

Re: Is AT&T running some sort of data scam?

Another thing that should get mentioned here, is the apps.  People have tons of apps installed these days, and even the preinstalled in-box apps can be data-intensive, in some cases, PARTICULARLY when THEY UPDATE.  An app can go from nominal data usage overnight, to heavy data usage, with no warning.

 

The phone's data counters, as everyone has mentioned, and I almost never see anyone reply with their numbers, will reflect this, down to the mb/kb.  
Mine does, and similar to @GeekBoy, I've tracked mine before, both Win Phones and Android, and I too have seen either exact numbers, or in a few cases, AT&T has also charged me for less data than I used, by my phones' count. 

The reason for less data is most likely due to data compression, in that some apps and similar will compress things, in the background.  

 

At any rate, please check your data counters, almost any phone has them built in, and look to see what's really using your data!

 

Like @lizdance40 mentions, there's no way in the world, per privacy laws, that AT&T can tell you what your data is being used for, and believe me, you don't want them to be "monitoring" this, it would be disturbing, the laws are there for good reason!

 

*If this (or another post in this thread) fixes your problem/issue, please mark it as "accept-solution", and I'll tag it, to make it easier for others to find the answer(s). FYI: I'm an AT&T end-user, just like most of us in the forum. Thanks.

*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.
Message 13 of 67
ACE - Expert

Re: Is AT&T running some sort of data scam?

@pgrey.  

".....Another thing that should get mentioned here, is the apps. People have tons of apps installed these days, and even the preinstalled in-box apps can be data-intensive, in some cases, PARTICULARLY when THEY UPDATE. An app can go from nominal data usage overnight, to heavy data usage, with no warning......."

 

Just to name names, Spotify.   Both my sons use Spotify and every time there is an update it seems to default to high quality, which uses 2-4 times the data as lower quality.   My older son pay for premium and caches music, which significantly cuts data use.

 

 

(The following is included after all posts to save typing) I don’t work for AT&T. My replies are based on experience and reading content available on the website. Our answers are honest, but not always appreciated. If you posted personal information, please edit and remove.
*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.
Message 14 of 67
Tutor

Re: Is AT

We have the 30GB shared plan between 3 phones. I generally use the bulk of usage because I use my phone for work, emails and Internet on the road... Up until the last few months 30GB plus any rollover was plenty. Then we started using it all plus being hit with $30-$45 in overages. I wrote email after email to the FCC and to the BBB. Received a call from someone at ATT Corporate office trying to find a solution. No solution other than it was our fault... Interestingly enough 2 days later my wife was chatting with Customer Service and without any explanation or reason gave us a $100 credit. Also I may add that so far this month we have used very minimal data. Even though we really haven't changed our data usage habits.. Hmmm
Message 15 of 67
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