Misleading advertising about international access caused an unexpected $350 bill!

Contributor

Misleading advertising about international access caused an unexpected $350 bill!

I recently bought an i-phone and took it along on a short cruise to Mexico.  The advertising for the i-phone makes a big deal about its international capability, and the rate plan I chose made a big deal about unlimited data transfer and internet use.  I only made a few calls to check my voice mail, but I also surfed the web for an hour and answered a couple of short e-mails.
 
I juust received my $441 bill, which has about $350 in international roaming charges.   I feel that I was misled and ripped off by AT&T.  They should have some method of notifying users of the imminernt excessive charges before the poor customer racks up a bank-breaking phone bill.  I'm sure that AT&T intentionally makes no effort above the bare minimum to inform its customers of these outrageous rates.
 
Whenever an unsuspecting customer such as myself is victimized by these ridiculous charges, it is just more profit for AT&T.  I guess that's more important than the ill will and bad public relations that result.  Is there any recourse for me?
Message 1 of 40 (5,963 Views)

Re: Misleading advertising about international access caused an unexpected $350 bill!

Clearly it is technical feasible for the carriers to quickly and pro-actively alert their customers of the prospect for unusualy and excessive charges while roaming.  It is my speculation that ATT benefits from the revenue split they arrange with these international carriers and are willing to take what they consider to be a minor amount of client ill will in exchange for the large profits they are realizing from their international data roaming clients.  
Message 31 of 40 (3,483 Views)
Master

Re: Misleading advertising about international access caused an unexpected $350 bill!

Unfortunately no US based carrier is proactive about roaming notifications.  I suspect it's because it's so profitable.  at&t does however in many cases has the lowest rates compared to Tmobile, Verizon, and Sprint roaming rates.  at&t really should take a stand be the leader of the pack in helping out their customers since they are by far the largest provider of international roaming services.
Message 32 of 40 (3,481 Views)
Contributor

Re: Misleading advertising about international access caused an unexpected $350 bill!

[ Edited ]
I don't really feel you were hoodwinked.. Everyone knows (apparently except you) that any international calls (or data transfers) will be roaming charges when you are out of the US.. Although the rates are not always clear to what they will end up as in the end.  I have had gotten calls in Mexico and spoken for 1 minute that totalled $5.49.  Which is not what the rate chart leads you to believe.. there are other hidden charges apparently.  Now I knew not to use my Tilt for data access when roaming since I figured the rates would be insane.. I have unlimited data connection. but that has no bering on international access.    So,  Take this as a lesson learned as I doubt AT&T will do too much for you (but calling { word filter evasion } can't hurt).  
 
As for the "Poor customer" Reply.. Sorry you can't afford a PDA or Pocket PC.. But some people like to take advantage of modern technology for work or even play and will forgo a few other unnecessary items to get what they want. The service from AT&T has no relevance.Smiley Happy


Message Edited by Caretaker on 01-03-2008 10:57:16 AM
Message 33 of 40 (3,456 Views)
Master

Re: Misleading advertising about international access caused an unexpected $350 bill!

I tend to agree. I remember my first international trip when I finally took my personal phone. 9 days in South America. My phone was on for the whole time. And, When I came back to get my bill, it had a whopping $20 or so additional.
 
I did the research ahead of time. I used common sense. If it calls $.90/minute to call from a landline, and my phone was only provisioned for domestic roaming... I knew there was additional charges. I investigated what would cost me more, what I could do for no additional charge (virtually nothing), and adjusted my cell phone useage accordingly.
 
No $350 bill for me. Oh, and AT&T/Cingular/Whoever at the time NEVER told me I could use my phone internationally, or anything for "free". I took it upon myself to know.
 
I knew the word "capable" (in reference to international roaming) did not mean "all bells and whistles included for nothing".
Message 34 of 40 (3,438 Views)
Lithium Technologies

Re: Misleading advertising about international access caused an unexpected $350 bill!

Message 35 of 40 (3,302 Views)
Guru

Re: Misleading advertising about international access caused an unexpected $350 bill!

I have international roaming on my 8525 and have the 20 megs abroad feature. The first thing I purchased from Handango was a $20 utility that measured my data consumption. I can program in the first day of my billing cycle and tell the program to breakout roaming separately from in plan usage. One nice derivative feature about ATT's hiding the alpha tags of domestic roaming partners is that all roaming usage is necessarily international.

With respect to Mexico, I'm curious about the $5.49 inbound call. I remember in the days of analog roaming (and even TDMA roaming) this happening, but I thought that GSM changed it. I thought all members agreed to some honor code which stopped the renegade roaming carrier with the over the top charges. (I remember getting burned by one of those carriers in the 90s -- it was only on an Indian Reservation and charged roaming rates of this nature).
Message 36 of 40 (3,316 Views)
Highlighted
Professor

Re: Misleading advertising about international access caused an unexpected $350 bill!

How is the advertising misleading?  The ads say you can use your AT&T phone in other parts of the world.  They never said it was free or cheap.

Researching around, I have found that AT&T rates are competitive, and they offer service to more countries that even a giant like Verizon can't touch.  That's the meaning of the ads.

Sorry you were charged so much, but always read the fine print and know the details when dealing with corporate America.
Message 37 of 40 (3,254 Views)
Scholar

Re: Misleading advertising about international access caused an unexpected $350 bill!

I had international service back in the early 00's with the first AT&T Wireless.  Had to have a separate phone when going overseas but the service was great, although expensive.  It was common knowledge even back then that international usage comes at a price.  Your first post said that you were on a cruise ship, if you used your phone while at sea I am not surprised at the charges....too many companies looking to make a profit. 
Message 38 of 40 (3,245 Views)
Guru

Re: Misleading advertising about international access caused an unexpected $350 bill!



simcardrejected wrote:
btw the new iphone update provides a setting for enabling/disabling data roaming capabilities, and is defaulted to "off"



Which would be my biggest criticizm of Apple and ATT in this in the first place.  They defaulted roaming data to be on, people find their phone works and asks no questions and then get a shock of a big bill.  No you are roaming do you want to enable data transfer, if you have not contacted your network provider this could incur large bills.  My k800i says something like that as soon as you select IMAP on the phone and advises you are on an unlimited data plan.
 
Message 39 of 40 (3,222 Views)
Guru

Re: Misleading advertising about international access caused an unexpected $350 bill!



stufried wrote:
I think that ATT should definitely send a SMS to people once they register on the roaming network warning people and possibly including the charges.  It would save ATT some grief.

On data, I think people don't realize how much data they go through particularly with push mail and applications like google maps.


Virgin UK do that, you get a welcome text detailing call charges.  Though it does not detail data charges
Message 40 of 40 (3,221 Views)
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