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Posted Dec 11, 2013
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iMessage On, Send as SMS Off, and Texting Blocked, Yet Getting Charged

I have iMessage enabled, "Send as SMS" disabled, and my texting blocked at AT&T. So I was surprised to get a $50 texting charge from AT&T this last cycle. It turns out, as a customer service rep explained to me, that when I attempt to text to someone who is not on iMessage, they have this trick where they send the message via another route as a "AT&T Instant Message". This is not free internet instant messaging, this is something from AT&T where they can still charge you texting fees, even when you have texting disabled.

 

Of course this seems like a nasty trick to me, and I am angry about it. My intentions are clear that I do not want to receive texts outside of iMessage and AT&T has found a way to charge me anyways.

 

I don't text much, and it appears this was text messages to ONE person, so they're clearly looking to make a mint off this.

 

She told me that there is no way to block this new trick, and my only choice is to sign up for unlimited texting ($10/mo for AT&T). Is anyone aware of a way to stop these tricky charges from appearing, aside from leaving AT&T?

 

I have iMessage enabled, "Send as SMS" disabled, and my texting blocked at AT&T. So I was surprised to get a $50 texting charge from AT&T this last cycle. It turns out, as a customer service rep explained to me, that when I attempt to text to someone who is not on iMessage, they have this trick where they send the message via another route as a "AT&T Instant Message". This is not free internet instant messaging, this is something from AT&T where they can still charge you texting fees, even when you have texting disabled.

 

Of course this seems like a nasty trick to me, and I am angry about it. My intentions are clear that I do not want to receive texts outside of iMessage and AT&T has found a way to charge me anyways.

 

I don't text much, and it appears this was text messages to ONE person, so they're clearly looking to make a mint off this.

 

She told me that there is no way to block this new trick, and my only choice is to sign up for unlimited texting ($10/mo for AT&T). Is anyone aware of a way to stop these tricky charges from appearing, aside from leaving AT&T?

 

iMessage On, Send as SMS Off, and Texting Blocked, Yet Getting Charged

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Dec 11, 2013 7:55:01 PM
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ACE - Professor
Sorry to hear you getting charged for the service!

You can blocking the number from your iPhone. You can do this by going to the received message, select contact and press the blue circle with the "!" In it. Then scroll down and select Block this caller.

Blocking the caller will make sure those texts do not reach your phone at all. :smileyhappy:
~Sunshine :smileyhappy:
Sorry to hear you getting charged for the service!

You can blocking the number from your iPhone. You can do this by going to the received message, select contact and press the blue circle with the "!" In it. Then scroll down and select Block this caller.

Blocking the caller will make sure those texts do not reach your phone at all. :smileyhappy:
~Sunshine :)
- Sunshine :)
*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.

Re: iMessage On, Send as SMS Off, and Texting Blocked, Yet Getting Charged

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Dec 12, 2013 6:46:29 AM
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Evandela wrote:
Sorry to hear you getting charged for the service!

You can blocking the number from your iPhone. You can do this by going to the received message, select contact and press the blue circle with the "!" In it. Then scroll down and select Block this caller.

Blocking the caller will make sure those texts do not reach your phone at all. :smileyhappy:

Except the OP said the issue is "when I attempt to text to someone who is not on iMessage", i.e. OP is sending. What I don't understand is why would the OP attempt to send to someone who is not on iMessage even though OP has texting blocked. If OP means he is sending to someone who is normally on iMessage but just happens to not be reachable via iMessage at the time, then there is definitely something wrong here. The message app on the iphone should not be attempting to send via any other means if "send as SMS" is turned off plus I don't believe the iphone message app even interfaces with the instant messaging service.


Evandela wrote:
Sorry to hear you getting charged for the service!

You can blocking the number from your iPhone. You can do this by going to the received message, select contact and press the blue circle with the "!" In it. Then scroll down and select Block this caller.

Blocking the caller will make sure those texts do not reach your phone at all. :smileyhappy:

Except the OP said the issue is "when I attempt to text to someone who is not on iMessage", i.e. OP is sending. What I don't understand is why would the OP attempt to send to someone who is not on iMessage even though OP has texting blocked. If OP means he is sending to someone who is normally on iMessage but just happens to not be reachable via iMessage at the time, then there is definitely something wrong here. The message app on the iphone should not be attempting to send via any other means if "send as SMS" is turned off plus I don't believe the iphone message app even interfaces with the instant messaging service.

*I am an AT&T employee and the postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent AT&T’s position, strategies or opinions.

Re: iMessage On, Send as SMS Off, and Texting Blocked, Yet Getting Charged

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Dec 12, 2013 7:46:08 AM
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The person in question is my mom, who isn't very good with technology. Her iMessage has been enabled for years, but then somehow it got turned off maybe a month ago, and BOOM I get this big $50 charge on my bill.

 

Since we can never predict when someone will change phones or switch on or off iMessage, blocking specific people is not the solution.

 

I'm not sure how AT&T is detecting messages sent through iMessage to people without iMessage enabled, but I certainly did not give AT&T permission to charge me for an extra "instant messaging" service that was nowhere on the sign-up form, and has no way to be blocked.

The person in question is my mom, who isn't very good with technology. Her iMessage has been enabled for years, but then somehow it got turned off maybe a month ago, and BOOM I get this big $50 charge on my bill.

 

Since we can never predict when someone will change phones or switch on or off iMessage, blocking specific people is not the solution.

 

I'm not sure how AT&T is detecting messages sent through iMessage to people without iMessage enabled, but I certainly did not give AT&T permission to charge me for an extra "instant messaging" service that was nowhere on the sign-up form, and has no way to be blocked.

Re: iMessage On, Send as SMS Off, and Texting Blocked, Yet Getting Charged

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Dec 12, 2013 9:42:02 AM
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Bonjiro wrote:

The person in question is my mom, who isn't very good with technology. Her iMessage has been enabled for years, but then somehow it got turned off maybe a month ago, and BOOM I get this big $50 charge on my bill.

 

Since we can never predict when someone will change phones or switch on or off iMessage, blocking specific people is not the solution.

 

I'm not sure how AT&T is detecting messages sent through iMessage to people without iMessage enabled, but I certainly did not give AT&T permission to charge me for an extra "instant messaging" service that was nowhere on the sign-up form, and has no way to be blocked.


Despite what the rep told you, are you sure you are being charged for "instant messaging"? Again, I don't think the iphone message app is even capable of sending or receiving an "instant message", only iMessages and standard SMS/MMS messages. I suspect what you are actually being charged for are SMS/MMS messages at the per message rate and if that is true, that probably means your text block is not working. I guess another possibility is Apple's iMessage servers are actually sending as regular text messages when they can't reach via iMessage but it gets billed to you. That might explain how it is bypassing the text block and would also mean the "don't send as SMS" setting is being ignored. This is just speculation, though.

 

Just curious, when you look at all those messages sent to your mom on your iphone, are they green or blue? Green means it was sent as regular text, blue means it was sent via iMessage.


Bonjiro wrote:

The person in question is my mom, who isn't very good with technology. Her iMessage has been enabled for years, but then somehow it got turned off maybe a month ago, and BOOM I get this big $50 charge on my bill.

 

Since we can never predict when someone will change phones or switch on or off iMessage, blocking specific people is not the solution.

 

I'm not sure how AT&T is detecting messages sent through iMessage to people without iMessage enabled, but I certainly did not give AT&T permission to charge me for an extra "instant messaging" service that was nowhere on the sign-up form, and has no way to be blocked.


Despite what the rep told you, are you sure you are being charged for "instant messaging"? Again, I don't think the iphone message app is even capable of sending or receiving an "instant message", only iMessages and standard SMS/MMS messages. I suspect what you are actually being charged for are SMS/MMS messages at the per message rate and if that is true, that probably means your text block is not working. I guess another possibility is Apple's iMessage servers are actually sending as regular text messages when they can't reach via iMessage but it gets billed to you. That might explain how it is bypassing the text block and would also mean the "don't send as SMS" setting is being ignored. This is just speculation, though.

 

Just curious, when you look at all those messages sent to your mom on your iphone, are they green or blue? Green means it was sent as regular text, blue means it was sent via iMessage.

*I am an AT&T employee and the postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent AT&T’s position, strategies or opinions.

Re: iMessage On, Send as SMS Off, and Texting Blocked, Yet Getting Charged

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Dec 12, 2013 10:21:19 AM
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They are all part of group texts with people who definitely had iMessage enabled, AND with my mom, who had it disabled. My messages appear green, with only a few exceptions. I see a blue one in there near the end.. sent to the same group, in the same thread as a ton of green ones.

 

The rep said the billed texts were listed as "text/instant message"

They are all part of group texts with people who definitely had iMessage enabled, AND with my mom, who had it disabled. My messages appear green, with only a few exceptions. I see a blue one in there near the end.. sent to the same group, in the same thread as a ton of green ones.

 

The rep said the billed texts were listed as "text/instant message"

Re: iMessage On, Send as SMS Off, and Texting Blocked, Yet Getting Charged

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Dec 12, 2013 11:04:13 AM
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Bonjiro wrote:

They are all part of group texts with people who definitely had iMessage enabled, AND with my mom, who had it disabled. My messages appear green, with only a few exceptions. I see a blue one in there near the end.. sent to the same group, in the same thread as a ton of green ones.

 

The rep said the billed texts were listed as "text/instant message"


"text/instant message" is the way all SMS messages are billed. The only way you would get billed for an instant message is if you were using an instant message app like AOL instant messanger or Yahoo instant messanger. As I said previously, the iphone message app is not capable of doing "instant messages". Looks like you are being billed for normal text (SMS) messages. Perhaps it's the group texting that is causing your text block to be bypassed.


Bonjiro wrote:

They are all part of group texts with people who definitely had iMessage enabled, AND with my mom, who had it disabled. My messages appear green, with only a few exceptions. I see a blue one in there near the end.. sent to the same group, in the same thread as a ton of green ones.

 

The rep said the billed texts were listed as "text/instant message"


"text/instant message" is the way all SMS messages are billed. The only way you would get billed for an instant message is if you were using an instant message app like AOL instant messanger or Yahoo instant messanger. As I said previously, the iphone message app is not capable of doing "instant messages". Looks like you are being billed for normal text (SMS) messages. Perhaps it's the group texting that is causing your text block to be bypassed.

*I am an AT&T employee and the postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent AT&T’s position, strategies or opinions.

Re: iMessage On, Send as SMS Off, and Texting Blocked, Yet Getting Charged

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Dec 12, 2013 2:13:29 PM
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Bonjiro wrote:

The person in question is my mom, who isn't very good with technology. Her iMessage has been enabled for years, but then somehow it got turned off maybe a month ago, and BOOM I get this big $50 charge on my bill.

 

Since we can never predict when someone will change phones or switch on or off iMessage, blocking specific people is not the solution.

 

I'm not sure how AT&T is detecting messages sent through iMessage to people without iMessage enabled, but I certainly did not give AT&T permission to charge me for an extra "instant messaging" service that was nowhere on the sign-up form, and has no way to be blocked.


the Apple Imessage servers are detecting it and rerouting the message via a sms relay server they are running with your phone number as the sender they are running. Imessage is 100 percent Apple supported and run. The "Send as SMS" in the imessage app is a little misleading - that only stops the message to another apple device is the Imessage servers are having problems.

 

As mentioned previous it is not "instant messaging" it is sms charges - aka texting. Also if you send a imessage to someone that is using a android, blackberry, windows phone they are being send as text messages. Imessage is a non-texting app between apple devices only


Bonjiro wrote:

The person in question is my mom, who isn't very good with technology. Her iMessage has been enabled for years, but then somehow it got turned off maybe a month ago, and BOOM I get this big $50 charge on my bill.

 

Since we can never predict when someone will change phones or switch on or off iMessage, blocking specific people is not the solution.

 

I'm not sure how AT&T is detecting messages sent through iMessage to people without iMessage enabled, but I certainly did not give AT&T permission to charge me for an extra "instant messaging" service that was nowhere on the sign-up form, and has no way to be blocked.


the Apple Imessage servers are detecting it and rerouting the message via a sms relay server they are running with your phone number as the sender they are running. Imessage is 100 percent Apple supported and run. The "Send as SMS" in the imessage app is a little misleading - that only stops the message to another apple device is the Imessage servers are having problems.

 

As mentioned previous it is not "instant messaging" it is sms charges - aka texting. Also if you send a imessage to someone that is using a android, blackberry, windows phone they are being send as text messages. Imessage is a non-texting app between apple devices only

Re: iMessage On, Send as SMS Off, and Texting Blocked, Yet Getting Charged

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Dec 17, 2013 7:35:32 AM
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If we were to give OP the benefit of the doubt when he/she stated that his/her AT&T account has SMS text blocking enabled, then one could surmise that the blocking isn't working correctly/fully as expected.

 

I have SMS/MMS text blocking on my account/lines and as such, I would not attempt to knowingly send an SMS message (i.e., not an iMessage) to anyone via AT&T's SMS infrastructure...and even if I did try to do so, I don't have any expectation that such an attempt will actually go through and be received by the receiving party successfully...and I definitely would not expect to be billed for any SMS/MMS text sent/received on a line that has a valid SMS/MMS block put into place by AT&T per my request.  If SMS/MMS text block doesn't guarantee that one could still be billed for sending/receiving a SMS/MMS message, then IMHO AT&T needs to explicitly and clearly define what an SMS/MMS message will and won't do or result in happening.

If we were to give OP the benefit of the doubt when he/she stated that his/her AT&T account has SMS text blocking enabled, then one could surmise that the blocking isn't working correctly/fully as expected.

 

I have SMS/MMS text blocking on my account/lines and as such, I would not attempt to knowingly send an SMS message (i.e., not an iMessage) to anyone via AT&T's SMS infrastructure...and even if I did try to do so, I don't have any expectation that such an attempt will actually go through and be received by the receiving party successfully...and I definitely would not expect to be billed for any SMS/MMS text sent/received on a line that has a valid SMS/MMS block put into place by AT&T per my request.  If SMS/MMS text block doesn't guarantee that one could still be billed for sending/receiving a SMS/MMS message, then IMHO AT&T needs to explicitly and clearly define what an SMS/MMS message will and won't do or result in happening.

Re: iMessage On, Send as SMS Off, and Texting Blocked, Yet Getting Charged

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