While Verizon and AT&T continue with their commercial drama, there is one thing they both have in common. They both have millions of customers who are getting charged "mysterious" data charges; some of these charges are quite a lot. I was watching the news earlier tonight and this segment on Fox 61 came on (originally aired on November 17th) about Verizon and AT&T customers calling and complaining about data charges on their account, some which had phones that you would not use for the internet. David (who writes for the NY Times about overcharges from carriers) says he has been getting flooded with phone calls from customers using AT&T and Verizon, that have been appearing on their bill. This quote is what really bothers me :
" .. email from a Verizon employee who says, Verizon is doing this intentionally, ripping people off.."
According to the news segment, Verizon and AT&T employees have been trained and "schooled" about this issue and other related issues. I know some one who was a victim of this using AT&T. Using a BlackBerry Bold with wifi enabled, a text message was received that informs her of the total amount of her bill. The amount was $1,400.00. Thankfully a good friend was able to credit that amount back to the account. The best part was after calling AT&T customer support and speaking with the rep, the supervisor and then the manager; none of them could tell her what she was charged for, it only stated as "other data charges". Now after seeing this news segment on TV, it seems Verizon and AT&T are the only ones doing this which is causing thousands to call and complain.
Watch the News Segment
What do you guys think about this? Have you guys encountered any problem(s) like this or know some one who has?
This is absolutely true. AT&T tried to claim I had $3000 of charges for data overages on a phone that was OFF!!! Yes, I said off as in totally powered down, not sleeping. And I know the charges were not legit because the supposed data transfers were in the many hundreds of megabytes range and all "happened" at 3 AM. I recall what I was doing that day because it was my birthday and I was asleep at 3 AM.
The AT&T folks offered to waive the $3000 and place a 1 month unlimited data plan on the account retroactively for $30. They acted as if this was a great deal they were offering me. Really? A deal you say? Let's think this one through first. They want to charge me $30 to undo a $3000 mistake they made in the first place. Wow some deal. So as I kept explaining that I did not use the data they claim I did the AT&T CS rep finally gave up and passed me off to a manager. The manager kept insisting I had used the data so I said prove it, tell me what was transferred. Well of course he says he can't tell what the data was so I asked to prove it by telling me the IP addresses of the network requests and of course he said they don't keep that info either.
So I said I had an idea. I'll get off the phone and immediately send him a bill for $3000. Of course he asked why and I told him I was sorry but I can't see why he's incurred the charge with me because my system doesn't go into that much detail on bill charges. But if he wanted I could do him a favor and reduce it to $30. Then as he started to reply I cut him off. I told him it's actually an odd coincidence that we both can reduce these unprovable charges on each other so if he wanted to save some time we could just not pay each others $30 fee since they just end up canceling each other out in the end.
At that point he started in again with the "but the system says these charges exist" argument so I asked him if he heard about Adam Savage. Of course he says he doesn't know who that is so I say he's one of the MythBusters. The AT&T manager then says "OH, I LOVE THAT SHOW!". So I explained to him how AT&T screwed up some charges on Adam's bill and tried to charge Adam something like $11,000 in bogus charges that were eventually dropped because they could not prove the legitimacy of the charges. At this point he said that it may be possible that the system is wrong. But the only thing he could do about the $3000 is to reduce it to $30. There was no way for him to waive the $3000 completely but what he would do is give me a $30 credit on my next bill which would offset the $30 one time retroactive data plan.
At this point I thanked him and as we were about to hang up I said he should hang on for a second. I told him I found that my system was also in error in my charging him $3000. But since my system was better than his I could completely waive his $3000 and didn't have to do a $30 credit next month. He laughed for a moment and told me to have a good day. I said the same and we both hung up.
Now for Verizon. I was one of those stupid fools sitting in front of the Verizon store at 5AM waiting for the Storm 1 launch. Wow, was that a year ago already? So about 4 months after I get my Storm 1 I notice my monthly bill shot up $55. I checked the bill line items and called their CS and they told me all sorts of things were added to my line like road side assistance, VZ Navigator, etc. The list went on and on. I said that I never authorized or requested any of this. The CS rep said she could tell it was added at the store where I bought my Storm at but there was no sales rep code or ID that could be used to figure out who did this. Before I could say anything she said she would immediately remove all the extra services and would file this with their fraud department. She then read off every feature on my account to make sure there was nothing else I had not requested. So for the Verizon situation it seems that the fraudulent charges were the action of 1 person where as the AT&T false charges are the action of the company.
Ok, I'm done now. Hope some of you can get a chuckle out these stories.
I know with vzw a lot of the data charges are on the dumb phones. Since they require you to have a data plan on all smart phones. The other thing I can tell you is that some people think that checking the weather from their dumb phone doesn't count as web usage but it does. Amd the final thing I can tell you. If you get a new phone add a line change ur plan ALWAYS ask for a feature print out. There are to many sales guys that get paid for it even if its the 30 days free trial and get charged back if u cancel it in under 6 months. So if you see those on there vz nav and all that and really want to get back at the person who did that... Cancel it after 28-30 days. They will get to watch their commissions go down the toilet. You are right though it is a shotty practice. I personally will block all features if I am asked. I will not put anything on free or not. Just not right. Posted via mobile device
I've had a few odd run ins with them.. More of them adding charges under the table to my account without notifications. Most recently doing this when i got my storm 2. The first run in they decided to add a vznavigator to my other line and a data plan, which both of them this phone didn't need. This ended up jacking up my account another 25 dollars without my knowledge, called them and they give me this Idk let me look into it. Comes to be that they started a "trial" and it was my responsibility to cancel these trials when I didn't ask for them in the first place, and nothing was notified on the phone itself of it.
Now just recently, I did a bogo storm2 from my storm 1 and upgraded another line to a s2. After he did the swap out and activated he slapped on the 44.99 bb plans to both, even tho my original plan for my s1 was the 29.99 plan, and then he slapped on the trial for navigator, broadband connect 5g, and that stupid zip code thing on both the lines. Didn't tell me of these changes, found out myself when I went online to look at my services / billing, so I canceled that crap quickly and changed it to the 29.99 plan (cost only 23.99 gg 20% off )
There IS a way to avoid this you know...on all the phones on my family plan that do not have data, I put a data block on those numbers through ATT. The only phone that has a data plan is mine (blackberry data), so I have no problem. As long as you put the data lock on any number that doesnt have a data plan, you will incur no charges. These charged come when a person by mistake presses the internet button on the phone or something...It used to happen to my brother and mom all the time. We got charges when that happened, but ATT credited my account back as a courtesy. Then, I right away put those data blocks on and have never incurred any "mysterious" charges again.
It's not just data charges they rip you off on..it's everything. AT&T uses advanced billing and charges you a month in advance..and guess what.. if you cancel your line, it means they OWE you money because you had already paid for the following month. but i bet you 90% of people don't call them to get their money back. I recently canceled 2 lines on my account (out of 3( and they didn't prorate me back any money. When I called, the rep insisted that I wasn't supposed to get money back (he wasn't even aware of what advanced billing is), so I spoke to a supervisor who knew what I was talking about and credited me. Wouldn't you think they would have a system where it does this all automatically if they wanted to? They clearly have the money for it if they wanted to be honest.
Imagine with AT&T and Verizon's customer base of at least 80million, if each customer is fraudently charged even ONE cent more on their bill a month, it amounts to $800K a month! Precisely why they increased their data/messaging packages from 29.99 to $30...
i guess in canada rogers do this right. those preset buttons all take you to the rogers mall page. this website is free to browse until you chose to purchase an application or leave the mall. it prevents people from accidentaly hitting that button and being charged for it.
at least thats what rogers used to tell me pre my data plan days.
The thing about this is that Verizon has a very clear policy for new activations and upgrades in which they are required by law to state how charges affect people, including the $1.99/MB of data (and by the way, that's cumulative so it's not $1.99 per button push). Usually the biggest complaints, at least that I've seen so far, have been former Alltel customer upgrading to HTML or Dashboard capable devices on Verizon's network that no longer get the unlimited data unless they upgrade their plan to one of their Connect or Premium packages. And in all honesty accidental button pushes don't get you to the data network yet, you have to select those options from the welcome screen and the My Verizon app never charges any data for any customer ever.
And of course if someone wants incorrect data charges credited back they have to call and complain, how is their system going to credit automatically when they don't know if you meant to go in there or not. Once again, I find Fox News did a terrible report only designed to frighten people, it's just like the 4chan story.