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 300 (128,000 Views)
Tutor

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

I'm wondering if anyone has found any resolution to this. I'd also be interested to hear of any litigation regarding this as a known issue with AT&T. We are now on our 7th data overage this month alone! We  reset our data at the beginning of each billing period and it's just not adding up. One day, we went through 10mb of data!  This has happened to me once before and AT&T gave me partial credit. But now I think it's a bit too fishy. We monitor our data very closely, and in 4 years, have never had data overages like this. I'm hoping someone can either offer a solution or let me know how to hold AT&T accountable for this, as I'm not going to pay 7 overage charges this month.

Message 16 of 300 (98,493 Views)
Tutor

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

ATTDmitriyCM: then how can you explain that after 4 years of normal data usage, suddenly one month, I am now in my 7th overage pack? Nothing has changed in how we use our phones. Your reps can easily look back at my history and see normal usage and then one month, BAM - racking up tons of extra charges.
Message 17 of 300 (98,488 Views)
Employee

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

[ Edited ]

Hey sandiedog,

 

I know you aimed it ATTDmitriyCM, but it's such a broad question. Its like trying to figure out why your water bill spiked $15 on month. You might be able to get a sense, or not. It's not necasserily wrong, but your best bet is to start monitoring it.

 

If you're looking for speculation, the following might help

Maybe one of your apps automatically updated, and is more data.

Maybe a portion of memory has some corruption, and is causing unusual functioning.

Maybe your wifi is starting to go on the fritz, causing more your heavy home usage to show up/count against you.

Maybe you turned on icloud.

Maybe there's a software glitch not related to one of your apps, that is causing it.

Maybe your wifi provider is limiting steaming, forcing one or more of your member to use non-wifi.

 

Personally I have a hard time imaging one person, much less several people use the exact same thing. If there's some variation, there's bound to be outlier months where someone gets/sends more email attachements, accidentally forgot to close out of Pandora (or a similar streaming app) for a while, or one of the new sites/links someone opened wasn't designed for phones and had some high data/loading issues.

 

There's a lot of perfectly innocent as well as accidental explanations.

Check to see if it's still ongoing, if it's not great, otherwise, get some data monitoring options involved.

-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 18 of 300 (98,477 Views)
Teacher

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

I've entered into Arbitration with AT&T regarding my matter listed above.  Repeatedly, their legal team has stated to me, "We don't know how to fix the problem." HELLO!?!?!?!!

 

What that means is:

 

AT&T is kicking their heels up while they know there is a HUGE problem brewing. They are sitting back and collecting millions of dollars off of us, then blaming us for the data overage. 

 

AT&T also told me "It's not our problem." Meaning they were shifting blame to the manufacturer of the MiFi device. They said they would throw out any legal action brought on them and I'd have to sue the maker of the MiFi device. ERRRR WRONG! I'm not contractually bound to the vendor... I'm contractually bound to AT&T!! My only relationship with the vendor is through  AT&T.

 

AT&T has a contract with the manufacturer. If there's a problem-- which AT&T is clearly aware of by now, they need to step up and handle it with the vendor THEY hired and STOP running the consumer around in circles, chasing our tail in an attempt to fix THEIR ISSUE!

 

This is an obscene cover up and weirdest abuse tactics I've ever seen-- and we are paying AT&T to abuse us! Go figure!

 

They are blackmailing the consumer, plain and simple. You don't pay our unjustified bills, or we'll shut you off. That's BLACKMAIL folks! 

 

Hopefully this Arbitration ends well and in my favor, but know I'm not only fighting for myself and all I've been through, I'm fighting for everyone else that has had the slightest inkling of an experience dealing with the maddening issue of throttle down, data overage, "customer service" abuse, office of the president bull, the whole nine yards....

 

 

Message 19 of 300 (98,439 Views)

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

Why did you continue to use the service if your bill was so high? -- first bill, I would have shut it off.

 

If you bought a dryer from Best Buy, and it exploded causing a fire in your home, would you sue Best Buy or the MANUFACTURER?  Same situation -- if the device is what is causing the issue, the MANUFACTURER is responsible for fixing it.

 

 

Message 20 of 300 (98,355 Views)
Teacher

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

You must be an AT&T lawyer because that's exactly what they said.

1. I did not turn the services off because I was not in a financial position to be able to pay for two internets. First, a two-year AT&T contract I just signed. Second, go out and research, shop and purchase a separate newly contract for Internet.

2. Though I appreciate you trying to compare the AT&T MiFi story to Best Buy and a blow dryer trying to compare the two are comparing apples and oranges. I'm contractually bound with AT&T for them to provide services and paid for a device under the contract. Should AT&T stop providing service, or the device malfunction so it's all under AT&T and the contract I locked myself into with them: to provide service and a functional device. If one, if not both, Internet or device malfunction, interruption of service, etc. it all falls under AT&T and the contract that we are legally bound under. To use your example in an equal comparison, take the lawsuit regarding McDonald's and the woman that burned herself with the hot coffee. If you are the woman, who would you sue? McDonald's which umbrellas the liability for the employees error; you wouldn't sue the bean vendor, you wouldn't sue the coffee maker vendor that makes the machine which is allowed to make coffee at high temperatures, or the cup vendor for not ensuring a Fort Knox seal on the cup. The appropriate party to sue would be McDonalds because they made the boiling hot coffee and because they are the liaison between the cup, coffee maker, bean vendor, and house the employee that goofed.

Back to the topic, being that I'm contractually bound to AT&T and they are the liaison between the MiFi manufacturer and me, it's AT&T's responsibility to inform the manufacturer that there is a problem and fix it-- not to continually make devices knowing there's a problem and AT&T to bank on the fact that there is a problem. We are on an AT&T forum; AT&T customers are screaming at AT&T to fix the problem yet no remedy is even attempting to be resolved and AT&T throws their hands up in the air saying it's not our fault it's the customers fault. AT&T is pulling the biggest scam next to Watergate!
Message 21 of 300 (98,347 Views)

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

[ Edited ]

I call Bull

 

AT&T did not make the device that is causing your issues, the manufacturer did.  If it is truely a device issue, it is the responsibility of the manufacturer to remedy, not the service provider.  

 

Again, I have a very difficult time believing that you couldn't find the time to cancel your plan and find a new provider with a different device.  Cancellations fees would have been alot less than "$1300" per month bills.

 

[Edited to comply with Guidelines] 

 

 

Message 22 of 300 (98,124 Views)
Employee

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

[ Edited ]

"Should AT&T stop providing service, or the device malfunction so it's all under AT&T and the contract I locked myself into with them"

 

False.

 

Although there's some clauses that you won't abuse the services, use it for illicit purposes, things like that, the basic come down to this.

In exhange for whatever special/discount, you promise to pay for AT&T service for 2 years on that line. Failure to do so will result in a fee.

 

That's it. You lose your phone, that's irrelavent. You change your plan, that's fine. Don't use it for a month, because you're traveling outside the country. All of that doesn't matter.

 

Now, as courtesy, AT&T offers some flexibility about various options, upgrade early, suspensions, but don't mistake entitlement for obligation.

-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 23 of 300 (97,969 Views)

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

I've also had very similar and very questionable data usage reporting from AT&T.  I have the 300MB plan and monitor my data closely.  I was led to believe that the data usage statistics (*3282#) were up-to-date.  However, I've had multiple overages where I was hovering below 300MB (~280MB or so) for many days up to the end of my billing cycle.  And then on the last day my usage would jump to over 300MB (by just a few MB, i.e. I would have reported usage of +20MB on my last billing day).  I would then get the $15 overage charge and 300MB more to use in 1 day.

 

The first 2 times I thought I was just unlucky, where I thought I was connected to WIFI, but then maybe I had lost connection and was unknowingly connected to cellular data.  However it has happened many times (4-5), and also very near to my biling end-date, so that I am fairly confident it is an institutional AT&T billing practice... or at least very poor reporting of data usage statistics.

 

Message 24 of 300 (97,541 Views)
Employee

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

[ Edited ]

Disclaimer in the usage section of the website

 - - View important information about usage delays

Note:Talk, Text, and Data usage may take 2-5 days to display. Wireless roaming usage normally takes 2-10 days but could take 60+ days. Usage information may be unavailable while we process your invoice. Invoices will be based on usage in AT&T billing systems. Talk usage may include voicemails and other unbilled calls. Talk usage in excess of your plan allowance will be deducted from available Rollover Minutes® first and then incur a per-minute charge. Hawaii Text/Data: Unbilled Data usage time stamp may be off by 3 to 6 hours because of time zone difference.

 

Data usage delays are not intentional, but I personally use an app like 'My Data Manager' to see a more up to date estimate.

-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 25 of 300 (97,523 Views)

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

[ Edited ]

Honestly, I looked everywhere for how up-to-date the usage information was when I started to get these overages.  I have never seen that disclaimer.  And even now, after you have told me about it, I cannot find it.  If AT&T were being truly honest about their data reporting practices they would have it immediately clear.

 

Here is an email response I received after my second overage (from an AT&T rep, they tell me that the online usage information is sometimes unreliable and that instead I should do the following):


"Please be advised that you can check your data usage per day from your
device by using our star services. Please press *3282# and send."

 

In addition, AT&T constantly says something to the effect, "We give you 65% and 90% usage overage text warnings. So it is your fault for going over the limit"  Yet, these warnings are often too late, particularly the 90% usage (by your own admission, since the data usage statistics are up to 2-5 days old).  There is definitely something rotten in the way AT&T handles these overages.  Call me a conspiracy theorist, but these types of occurences (see my previous post) have happened much too frequently to be coincidental.  Also you mention using a data manager software, yet on my phone, a Nokia 1020, Nokia has provided software called Data Sense which will throttle your data usage if you go near a limit.... but interestingly AT&T will not allow users to download this application.

Message 26 of 300 (97,501 Views)
Employee

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

[ Edited ]
I don't know about the nokia's Data Sense. My app sends me a notice when it gets close, if I want. Maybe you another app would work better for you?

The way I got the disclaimer, was Billing usage or view-all-usage on the front page. near the bottom, there's a line you can click "View important information about usage delays"
There's other places you can probably find it, but I just happened to pull up the one I had easiest access.

Some people are fine with a rough ballpark of their usage, but since it seems like you would benefit from closer tracking, I'd reccomend you continue to look for an app/service that would help you do that. A majority of data monitoring service continue to remain unblocked, I'm sure you can find one.
-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 27 of 300 (97,444 Views)
Highlighted

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

Thanks for trying to help! I was actually wrong, data sense is not by Nokia, but actually built into the OS by Microsoft and disabled on ATT branded phones. For this reason there are no apps, that I can find, that track data usage automatically. There was one on wp7 and I used it with my Lumia 900 and had no overages when I had it. Wp8, as far as I know has no alternative besides data sense... again since its built into the os.

My solution that has seemed to work is to use data up to 250 MB, so I now treat my plan as a 250MB plan instead of a 300MB plan. When I do this, interestingly I do not get jumps in usage of 20MB or more on the last few days of my cycle! I think it is unfortunate that ATT denies users of WP this feature (if you search on these forums for "Data sense support for windows phone" there is a thread discussing it) which essentially means the data plan is really not a 300MB plan but a 250-280MB plan. It is a bit misleading. If att really cared about this issue they could do one of many things, yet they do nothing ( at least for the 2 years I have been with them): allow data sense, provide better data usage statistics, give a clear warning (not a hidden disclaimer) about the data statistics it provides, allow the user to choose to add an additional data package when all of their data is used (data cap) instead of automatically charging, or charge per MB for overages instead of in $20 blocks.
Message 28 of 300 (97,436 Views)
Contributor

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

I had the same thing happen to us and it would be at odd hours of the night. they said one phone used 28GB in just a few days and when I asked how they gave me the speach oh even when your on wi-fi blah blah blah... well anyways I ended up going up to 30 Gb and & now NONE of the internet, messaging, email nothing is working gives me the error no cellular data. So I called at&t again and the had me reset my phone 4-5 times and nothing!!!! Still my phone is not working I use my phone for work and the gps and I can't even use those!!!!

Message 29 of 300 (95,448 Views)
Contributor

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

[ Edited ]

I've had unlimited or 5GB for years and being charged ... for it without ever going over 1.8 MB. The day after the billing cycle begins when I changed to 2Gb my wife supposedly racks up 1.6Gb in 9 hours while at work. The rep gives me the same ...as he's been trying peddle above. I'm sorry but I also am a tech guy and I don't buy it. That is clearly usage being pushed from a server over and over for the purpose of charging overages. My wife turned off her data and its still showing usage. ATT needs to stop this criminal activity. they can't charge us for a call without showing the number, how can they charge us for data without an originating source? The technology is out there to log that crap just like any good network manager does.

 

 

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