Beware: known AT&T data overage charges problem

Teacher

Beware: known AT&T data overage charges problem

[ Edited ]

I imagine AT&T will delete this rather than help, but here is our story anyway.

 

My husband purchased a Sony phone with his upgrade last year. Due to numerous problems, he spent hours on the phone with them troubleshooting the phone and went through 3 replacements before they would consent to sending him a different model. And by "troubleshooting", I mean they informed him it was too new and that they didn't have the instruction manual for it yet. Because apparently that's a good excuse. He now has a Samsung, which THEY sent him.

 

For the past 4 months, we've been hit with data overage charges at $15 for 1 GB after we surpass our 6 GB plan. This month it happened 3 times, including once 3 HOURS before our billing cycle ended. We had been just paying the fee, assuming it was ours, but that pushed us over the edge enough to call. We had been on Wi-Fi all day and logically could not have accrued data usage.

 

The CSRs refused to do anything. Everytime we asked for a supervisor, we were told that we weren't getting a refund so it was pointless to speak to one -- even though we NEVER asked for a refund. When we got to the "team manager", he tried to blame our WiFi connection (which is through uVerse, so he made me transfer to them) but our connection worked just fine and we have no trouble on our other devices. After an hour, he offered me a $30 credit and said there was nothing he could do. At one point he even told me my husband probably incurred the high usage because "some of the features his phone offers include crystal-clear hi-def video and improved gaming experience". RIGHT.

 

Another CSR hung up on us after we had waited over an hour for a manager and she yelled at my husband to stop mentioning mobile and Uverse in the same breath because they were different entities -- even though we were only speaking to her about this problem because uVerse had transferred us to her after HER SUPERVISOR made us talk to UVerse!! It was a nightmare that we wasted our entire Saturday night on.

 

Five hours later, we had learned that not ONLY does AT&T know about this problem, but it happens frequently! My husband's phone said "connected to Wi-Fi", but it really was running on 4G. This is a common occurrence and [Per Guidelines:  Keep it Relevant and Appropriate]. The "solution" is to manually disable your data plan everytime you want to use Wi-Fi instead. Because that's convenient! Rather than fix the problem, AT&T is content to wrack up the money from overage charges and collect a payday. And even though they know that millions of people suffer from this issue, they make the concious decision to not warn customers. It's a major scam and most people would unquestioningly pay the fee and not ask why. They made a point of saying it's a "precaution", but a few of them slipped up and said it's "required" or "always needed." Yet it's not in the contract, we never received a letter, and our phone use no language that implies this must or even kinda-should be done.

 

Another CSR told us that the phone was under warranty and transferred me to the warranty department for yet another replacement. I was then told by the lone intelligent employee that they could NOT replace it because this is a known AT&T problem, not a device problem. She troubleshot my husband's phone and discovered that it ran on 4G despite saying it was connected to WiFi-- JUST LIKE WE HAD SAID. No one else even offered to troubleshoot or explained how to tell if your Wi-Fi was actually running!!! They just said we couldn't prove thar our Wi-Fi should have been used, so there was nothing we could legally do about it. If you're going to run a scam and steal my hard-earned cash, you had better not gloat about the foolproof-ness of your plan to me.

 

She did a factory reset and got it to connect and assured us it was fine. This morning (first day of cycle) I woke up and immediately checked our usage. HE ALREADY RECORDED 1 MB OF DATA AND WE HAVEN'T EVEN GOTTEN OUT OF BED YET. Wi-Fi was on all night and supposedly his phone was "fixed". There's no excuse for that. I'll be calling again shortly and I sincerely hope I don't have to go through six employees and a uverse technichian again just to find someone who actually makes an attempt to be helpful .

 

I'm calling a scam where I see it, AT&T. Be ashamed. I intend to file every possible complaint with every possible consumer watchdog group, if you don't come up with a whole lot better of a solution than taunting customers with, "You can't prove it, so LOL, joke is on you!" Your company is the real joke. Nothing but shady business practices and terrible customer service. 

Message 1 of 276 (118,930 Views)
Highlighted
Community Manager

Re: Beware: known AT&T data overage charges problem

[ Edited ]

Hello asdfghjkl89, welcome to the forums!

 

I'm sorry for all the issues you're having with your service. Here are some information you might find useful...

 

Whenever your phone is connected to Wi-Fi, most makes/models will, by design, disable wi-fi when phone goes to standby mode, it's done by hardware manufacturers do to extand battery life. In most cases, the only way to "guarantee" your phone only uses Wi-Fi it to have a charger plugged in and manually disable mobile data network. There are many things and apps that can be using data in the background without your input and if the phone is in standby mode (screen off), a cellular network will be used. Some services will always use a 4G network, even if Wi-Fi is available, visual voicemail for example.

 

Also, data usage reporting is not always done in real time. Data reports take place after some time of inactivity, can be late in the evening or at night, in packets of combined usage. All customers are notified when they use 65% and then 90% of their data plan, have you seen those texts/emails?

 

Here are some helpful links and tools:

Data Usage Calculator

Estimating your Data Usage

Manage your Wireless Usage with AT&T (Video)

Tracking your Wireless Usage

 

If you need more assistance, we have a team of great social media specialists that can review your account and help you figure out what's going on. Please send us a private message by clicking here with your name, phone number and the best time you can be reached.

 

Let me know if you have any questions.

 

Thank you,

Dmitriy


Rethink Possible


Did a post have a solution that worked for you? Help other people find solutions faster by marking posts that helped you as an "Accepted Solution". Learn about accepted solutions: Learn More.

Employee Contributor*
*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.
Message 2 of 276 (105,788 Views)

Re: Beware: known AT&T data overage charges problem

[ Edited ]

This is a known issue with ATT. Their billing practices are inmoral and abusive. 7 years ago we left T-Mobil because we moved to an area that only had coverage with ATT. We started by specifically NOT allowing ant text service on our childrens phone. 2 months later we received a 400+ bill for text (Thank God I knew better then to enroll with auto pay). We called. The lady was nice (they always are) she appologized profusely and removed the charges. Two months later the same thing. The answer we got..."Oh, we didnt know you meant they couldnt received inbound messages. Then I checked their phones and the inbound messages were spam messages. Again she apologized and gave a refund and stated she would fix it. We delt with this for almost a year then we gave in and got the unlimited package (their tactict worked). Mysteriously my kids no longer received spam text messages (gee thats weird). So we move into the smart phone arena with my wife and I buying the minimum plan. We use PC's for all our web needs and have only used the phones internet for periodic gps updates when traveling. We never even came close to using the 300mb for 1.5 yrs. Then all of a sudden my with was going way over, then I went over. NONE of our habbits changed. I even turned off mobile networks on both phones and she still got over charhes. We went round and round with customer no-service and was able to receive a refund for some of the charges. After a few month we gave up fighting (their tactics worked again). We both had the 3gbt service added to our numbers through an att rep over the phone. They put her 3gbt service on one of our sons phones and not hers, However she mysteriously went back to not comming even close to using her 300mb even tho she was using it more because she "thought" she had the 3gbt service on her line "as requested". (again, they squeezed out a little more money from us so they will leave us alone for a few more months). We looked at our service and upgrade availiability and discovered the mistake. The "supervisor" had no clue why she was using so much data before our sons phone was upgraded (intead of hers) but now she doesnt even come close to using the 300mb she's assigned. The representative said there is NO way to tell us why and that maybe its was Samsungs fault or due to us bla, bla, bla. OK, I build and maintain computers. I also install and maintain traditional computer networks and servers. As a hobby I do mods and ROMs for android devices. She may not even know it but she absolutely lied to me with that statement. This imformatin is stored in their srevers and someone does have access to it. I just want one ATT tech to contact me and explain the senerio I have given above. Please be prepared to explain exactly what happened and not give me a hypothetical reason that most people would accept. Tech and communication is my playground. Be prpared to explain...not pacify

Message 3 of 276 (105,531 Views)
Contributor

Re: Beware: known AT&T data overage charges problem

  My husband, daughter , and I share 4GB of data.   Not one have we gone over.   Not even close.     But this last billing cycle that ended on the 22 of November we did.  And by a lot.    It was actually all on my husbands phone.   It says we used 9485MB.    What's strange is when we got the 65% usage text we still had 5 days left.  Then 2 days later it was 90%.   Then the next morning it was 100%.    So that was on the 21st.   Now we had 1 more day left on the billing cycle.   So how did we use another 5GB that fast????    I even called several times after we went over and they said they added 1GB    Not 5GB.     It doesn't make sense.     I know all about turning off cellular data and closing apps.    But this has never been an issue.   And we didn't just go over a little it was a lot.    More than double.    There is just no way this is possible.   So when I called att again last night the CSR wasn't going to credit me back my money.  Told him to look at previous bills.   He still didn't care.   After talking with him more he went ahead and credited my account.      

 

Message 4 of 276 (105,457 Views)
Employee

Re: Beware: known AT&T data overage charges problem

[ Edited ]

Hey asdfghjkl89 & Jenmia2002,

 

Smartphones have a tendency to continue to keep apps open and runnings, potentially causing high usage.

Reccomendations:

1) Consider using a 3rd party free app My Data Manager.
 If you somehow feel distrustful, getting a second opinion on your data may help.

Some versions of this app will not only confirm for you how much is being used as it records, but also which apps are using it. (keep in mid

 

2) Almost every smartphone has the option to disable cellular data (wifi still works)

http://www.att.com/devicehowto/

Consider using this in tandem with My Data Manager. Your usage will continue while on Wifi, allowing you a 'safe' place to figure out what is causing it.

 

3) Wifi networks are notorious for occasionally disconnecting/reconnecting, sometimes causing small amounts of usage. The quality and compatibility of the router may minimize this.

 

4) There's additional tools available depending on your phone/research info for how to minimize your usage. Perhaps some updates or something changed/reset some settings that would've minimized your data, IE GPS/location services/background app refresh, ect

 

-Alex

Employee Contributor*
*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.
Message 5 of 276 (105,444 Views)

Re: Beware: known AT&T data overage charges problem

When I first got my iPhone 3 (back when the 4 was released) I was concerned about only having 200mb of data. The sales agent at the ATT store said not to worry. It would be plenty. Well, he was correct. My monthly usage was always around 150mb save for one or two months I was using the phone for work

and went over the 200. They billed me $15 for the extra data.

 

I never had to turn off cellular data on my phone back then. I had wifi at my office and got to use that for most of the day. Out of the office I ws able to check email, get the weather, go on Huffpost for the news every morning and send and receive texts. Maybe 40 to 50 a month. Some even with pics!

 

This has all changed in the last year or so. Now most of the month I have to turn off data because I'm getting warnings from ATT that I'm getting close to exceeding the 200mb. I have always had an app that shows me how much data I've used and it has always been spot on. Now what ATT claims I've used is 20 to 30 mb higher than either this 3rd party app or the one that came with the phone.

 

How can this be?

 

Well, now I know. I know that ATT has been aware of this and the CSReps are also aware of it. I had one admit as much to me the other day. He said he gets these calls daily. Caller says "the ATT usage is higher than what the apps say".

 

Never lower... always way higher, he said. Interesting.

 

He even admitted it has happened to him!

 

 

 

Message 6 of 276 (104,436 Views)
Employee

Re: Beware: known AT&T data overage charges problem

I apologize you are having issues with your data and WiFi staying connected.

 

Depending upon the device that you have, different manfactures set the WiFi settings to do different things. For example on iOS 5+ the WiFi is set to disconnect when your device is sitting idle. This saves battery life while you're not using it. Most Android phones also have a similar feature as well as also disabling the data call.

 

Although you can't change this on the iPhone, you can on most Android devices change which apps sync at what times. Additonally with most newer devices on LTE, many phones load full web pages, opposed to a mobile version which does increase data usage. On many devices you can change this in the browser settings.

 

Keep in mind that email, Internet Messaging Apps (such as iMessage, GroupMe, textFree), Enterprise Security (MobileIron, Cisco AnyConnect) use your data plan and are constantly pinging for data. Clearing out any old apps you don't use will also help to keep your data usage down.

 

 

Employee Contributor*
*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.
Message 7 of 276 (104,429 Views)

Re: Beware: known AT&T data overage charges problem

"I apologize you are having issues with your data and WiFi staying connected."

 

Your reply really has nothing to do with this issue, sorry.

 

"Keep in mind that email, Internet Messaging Apps... use your data plan and are constantly pinging for data"

 

Regardless, if this were the case the data used would show up both on the phone under "cellular usage" and on the 3rd party app that I have always used.

 

 

Message 8 of 276 (104,425 Views)
Employee

Re: Beware: known AT&T data overage charges problem

Hey scooterspal

Small discrepancies are normal for a variety of reasons.

TP/IP protocol, has error correction that resends information if doesnt get there accurately. This may or may not be recorded on the phone cell data/3rd party.

Data reporting can in theory take up to 72hours (although in practice it's usually just a few hours). Some data used on the last day of the bill cycle may not get reported until the new cycle, where on-device tracking has the luxury of starting exactly on time.

 

The tools such as 3rd party apps/cellular data are using to largely make sense of when or which apps you're using, but it's still worth it to track the data directly.

You can get the MyATT free at www.att.com/myatt

 

Small discrepancies like that are normal, but what you've described is defintly on the upper limit of what I'd call normal.

-Alex

Employee Contributor*
*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.
Message 9 of 276 (104,417 Views)

Re: Beware: known AT&T data overage charges problem

Thanks for the reply from " the inside" but I do not call 20 to 30mb small especially when I only have 200mb to start. .

I know I'm not alone when your own rep is telling me these calls are daily for him and even his own phone is getting hit for overages he was not aware of per his phones usage meter.

... and why now all of a sudden? All these past years around 150mb and now going over or close to it by the middle of the month?
Message 10 of 276 (104,413 Views)
Employee

Re: Beware: known AT&T data overage charges problem

If you are hitting 200mb by the middle of the month, that would average to 400mb a month.

 

That's almost 3x more.  You would normally only by at 75mb by this time in the month from what you're describing. Sure the 20-30mb is part of it that your apps/cell data isn't showing, but most of that extra is showing. On a daily basis, what's pushing you more than 5mb/day?


Did you get the ios 7 update? Have you done anything that might reset your network settings? Has anything else changed with other things that might be related, like wifi, wifi password, emails, ect.

 

-Alex

Employee Contributor*
*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.
Message 11 of 276 (104,412 Views)

Re: Beware: known AT&T data overage charges problem

"If you are hitting 200mb by the middle of the month, that would average to 400mb a month"

 

What I meant was I'm using so much data up so fast I'm having to turn data off for fear of waking up and getting a message I've gone over. The app I have has a history function going back to 2011 when I got the phone. It clearly shows what I've stated. Usage well under 200... really well under 180mb every month save for one or two that I knew would exceed due to business needs.

 

I'm running a test now.

 

I have used 77 mb of data of the "200mb for two days for $15" I am being charged by ATT for going over yesterday at 11:30am according to the rep. Both the phones meter and the 3rd party app are showing 77 mb. I did this by running a video off of a news site that I would not normally do unless on wifi.

 

I have had cellular turned off for the last 2 hours and am using wifi at my office. Calling *data# is still not showing correct usage and I will keep trying to see what it does show.

 

What amazes me is this. I can call customer service and the rep can tell me how much data I've used up to the time of my call yet the system we can access via *data# takes hours to update.

 

Why? Why can't you give users a fair, accurate and timely usage when the reps have it on their screen?

 

Secondly, is it not possible the reason the phone shows a lower data usage than the carrier claims is perhaps because not all data sent was actually received?

 

If that were the case should the user be paying for something they never had use of?

Message 12 of 276 (104,402 Views)
Expert

Re: Beware: known AT&T data overage charges problem


scooterspal wrote:

"If you are hitting 200mb by the middle of the month, that would average to 400mb a month"

 

What I meant was I'm using so much data up so fast I'm having to turn data off for fear of waking up and getting a message I've gone over. The app I have has a history function going back to 2011 when I got the phone. It clearly shows what I've stated. Usage well under 200... really well under 180mb every month save for one or two that I knew would exceed due to business needs.

 

I'm running a test now.

 

I have used 77 mb of data of the "200mb for two days for $15" I am being charged by ATT for going over yesterday at 11:30am according to the rep. Both the phones meter and the 3rd party app are showing 77 mb. I did this by running a video off of a news site that I would not normally do unless on wifi.

 

I have had cellular turned off for the last 2 hours and am using wifi at my office. Calling *data# is still not showing correct usage and I will keep trying to see what it does show.

 

What amazes me is this. I can call customer service and the rep can tell me how much data I've used up to the time of my call yet the system we can access via *data# takes hours to update.

 

Why? Why can't you give users a fair, accurate and timely usage when the reps have it on their screen?

 

Secondly, is it not possible the reason the phone shows a lower data usage than the carrier claims is perhaps because not all data sent was actually received?

 

If that were the case should the user be paying for something they never had use of?


data usage reported at a carrier is not real time, there is a disclaimer posted to that effect. This can lead to differences and can cross billing periods

 

Message 13 of 276 (104,397 Views)
Teacher

Re: Beware: known AT&T data overage charges problem

I can't help but laugh when I read these stories... I too am dealing with this-- and well have been dealing with it for 14 months. I have now entered Arbitration with AT&T  because (not to belittle your occurrences), my numbers will blow your mind...

 

I have a grandfathered iphone data plan, and with my iphone 5 I have never exceeded 4 gb/month, in my 20 year history with AT&T. Typically my data usage is more like 1.78/mo. 

 

The same month I got the iphone5, I also got AT&T Mifi device (Elevate and later move into the Liberate) both horrible products btw.

 

Suddenly, and without warning my monthly bills skyrocketed from $140/month to $1300/month!!! The best part, though I'm unemployed and barely making ends meet as is, AT&T would shut down my only ports to the outside world if my $1300 monthly bills were not paid in full and on time-- for the past 14 months.

 

My seemingly small but regular 1.78gb iphone usage shot up to an unfathomable 70 gb in one month, and the mifi device alone did around 70 gb, capping out at around 140gb a month!!! That's about $800 just in overages. And of course, AT&T to this day blames me for the usage. 

 

Mind you, my usage consists of searching job sites like monster,submitting Word document resumes, checking email and facebook... that's it! I buy an itunes song MAYBE once every 6-9 months. I don't stream anything, I don't watch movies or play games.

 

I've broken AT&T down to finally admit, "We just don't know how to fix the problem." THANK YOU! Yet, they continue to bend over people like me financially solely to benefit their already multi-bajillion dollar company.

 

In my story, the epicenter of the madness, I believe, is with the mifi devices. Though I found stories of this stemming back to 2011, a year before I even got the device, AT&T continues to this day to 

1. play dumb

2. refuse to remedy the problem

3. continue to blackmail their customers to pay or we'll shut you down

4. change vendors

5. inform their customers of the problem they will most likely encounter with these devil devices

6. continue to release new versions of the same devil devices-- again, with no warning

 

I find my theory to be true, because not only are AT&T customers having this problem, Verizon customers that have an iphone5 and mifi devices (same vendor for AT&T and Verizon) are screaming verbatim my story.

 

I had the hang ups, I had the passed person to person phone calls... in my first 6 months of trying to remedy the problem for AT&T, I made over 300 phone calls to AT&T, and within those 300 phone calls, I had to share my hugely longwinded story over 1400 times because for each of those 300 calls, I talked to no less than 6 people per phone call as I played the pass around or "oopsie we hung up" game.

 

Since my drama started over a year ago, I'm finding more people getting vocal about this problem. That's great, and sucky all at the same time. That's great that people are informing others and starting to scream loud enough that people are taking notice-- everyone but AT&T. It's sucky that so many people are being  forced to maneuver their way through this AT&T chaos.

 

I don't tolerate being abused. And I sure as heII don't tolerate PAYING someone to abuse me.

Keep screaming everyone... it will pay off.

 

I wish everyone the best in finding remedies that work for them, as we all power together to do AT&T's job for them... freaking amazing. 

Message 14 of 276 (103,104 Views)
Contributor

Re: Beware: known AT&T data overage charges problem

I'm so glad we're not in your boat, but we are noticing that AT&T has done something recently. We've gone from about 1gb each prior to November to now using 2.5 gb each and getting close to capping with out data usage (5gb unlimited, to which they will slow our speed if we ever go over). Our phone says that since dec 31 we've used half of what Att is reporting that we're using. NSA anyone? 

 

Something is going on with how att is calculating data, and it's blowing the numbers out of the water. It's enough to make me look at sprint or credo as an option. 

Message 15 of 276 (102,312 Views)
Share this topic
Announcements

Welcome to the AT&T Community Forums!!! Stop by the Community How-To section for tips on how to get started.