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Outrageous international charge


Outrageous international charge

Hi, I have been a happy customer of ATT for several years now. I currently have a family plan with 5 smartphones and 1 texting phone. In July, my son traveled to Centeal America on a mission trip. This was his first international experience. I am not a big traveler, however, I remembered that if he wanted to use his phone he would need an international plan. So he was told not to use it. He turned the phone on airplane mode and only took pictures with it. This is exactly what I did on a cruise 2 years ago and I had no charges. Imagine my shock when my bill came and he was charged over $200 dollars for the day he traveled. I called customer service and spoke to a representative and a supervisor. Both told me that it is written in my agreement that we will be charged for data if traveling internationally even if we don't access it, unless it is on airplane mode. I explained that it was. I was then told since there was no way to prove that, they would reduce the charge to $80 in case it really was an accident. I am outraged!! Obviously this policy has changed since my international trip as I had no such charge. I feel that changes of this nature should have been highlighted to me at some point. Otherwise, these fees should have been credited. I feel this was a predatory charge and would like to file a complaint. Does anyone know an email or address I should use?
Message 1 of 4
ACE - Expert

Re: Outrageous international charge

Yes, international data charges are unbelievably high but there is no way those charges would have occurred if the phone truly was in airplane mode the whole time. The only way ATT would even know the phone was out of the country was if it registered to the cellular network which is not possible when in airplane mode. I think you have to consider the possibility that the phone was not in airplane mode the entire time.

For future reference, you don't need to put the phone in airplane mode to avoid data charges. You can avoid data charges by simply turning data roaming off.
*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 4

Re: Outrageous international charge

Sandblasted- as I stated before, I am not an international traveler. I do not even know how to do what you said. My biggest issue with the charge is that this is a policy that has changed since I become a customer and it has never been brought to my attention. As I told the rep on the phone, I took the steps I followed on my one trip with no issues. It seems that ATT would be a little more sympathetic, especially with a minor involved. As it is I am currently looking at other companies which saddens me as I have been happy with ATT to this point.
Message 3 of 4
Community Manager

Re: Outrageous international charge


Hello @Tjhill8 


I'm very sorry for any confusion. I don't believe that international billing policies have changed, sounds like what those reps meant was that today's smartphones might be using data with or without a direct user's input, since they do many things in the background, and regardless of how usage has occurred, it is billed. And an Airplane mode guarantees it doesn't happen, but as sandblaster explained, if the phone was in airplane the whole time, AT&T would never know if it even left the US. At some point it had to connect to the network for data usage to occur, and it could be all the background data from the phone itself or many popular apps.


You have another option for the future, all international data can be blocked on the account level, as well as calls or text messages if desired. It can be done by customer care for free.


Please let us know if you have any other questions.


Thank you,


Rethink Possible

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*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.
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