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AT&T Sued For Systematic iPhone Overbilling 265

Posted by timothy
from the so-android-users-are-left-in-the-cold? dept.
Hugh Pickens writes writes "UPI reports that AT&T is facing a lawsuit that says AT&T routinely bills for 7 percent to 14 percent more data transactions than normally take place, which could blossom into a costly class-action case. Court papers claim that attorneys set up a test account for an iPhone, then closed all of its apps and left the device unused for 10 days. AT&T still billed the account for 2,292 KB of usage. 'A significant portion of the data revenues were inflated by AT&T's rigged billing system for data transactions,' say court papers filed on behalf of AT&T customer Patrick Hendricks. 'This is like the rigged gas pump charging you when you never even pulled your car into the station.' Attorneys say they would file to have the case moved to class-action status, which makes the outcome relevant to all of AT&T's iPhone accounts."
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AT&T Sued For Systematic iPhone Overbilling

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  • AT&T's Fault? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kneo24 (688412) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @09:09AM (#35078678) Homepage
    Nothing in the article shows how it couldn't have been the phone itself doing it, not AT&T doing it. If the device is ON, but not being used, well, there's a lot of shit that goes on in the back-end of things, like update checking, etc...
    • Re:AT&T's Fault? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by nhstar (452291) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @09:13AM (#35078706)

      Agreed. It would be interesting to know if they ran the same test with the data service actually turned off on the phone. Then I'd start to see fault with the carrier.

      • AT&T is Apple's partner and should be fully aware this happens. If it's a technical issue, there should be warnings and workaround, preventive measures. There is little info on how to prevent extra charges on the phones, for obvious reasons. I've also noticed many phones make it rather easy to accidentally dial numbers.
        • by Eraesr (1629799) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @09:48AM (#35078924) Homepage

          I've also noticed many phones make it rather easy to accidentally dial numbers.

          Oh yeah they totally do this on purpose

          • by arisvega (1414195)

            Oh yeah they totally do this on purpose

            I can't tell if you are being sarcastic, but some of them certainly do; many promotional phones (a.k.a. 'gifts' from some stores) that run a customized version of the OS have some dedicated 'connect' buttons, that are very easy to push, and use dial-up to connect to the net without warning, and with outrageous pricing- even more so if they happen to be pushed while abroad, where roaming surcharges apply.

            After the lobbying for effectively banning access to streaming services (as if the providers have always

        • On the other hand, ATT could claim they are not responsible for Phones sending data, and the user should have checked into that prior to signing-up. Just like the old Dialup ISPs said they are not responsible for long-distance charges incurred.

          Reminds me of this story - Verizon Can't Do Math - The operator quoted "point zero zero two cents per kilobyte" * 35,500 KB == 71 cents
          Verizon charged 71 dollars.
          http://verizonmath.blogspot.com/2006/12/verizon-doesnt-know-dollars-from-cents.html [blogspot.com]

          • As of august of last year, they were still doing that. I saw it personally.

            http://www.rogue-development.com/blog2/2010/08/still-time-to-teach-your-reps-math-verizon/ [rogue-development.com]

            • by Kneo24 (688412)
              The wording needs fixed to reflect how they actually bill you. It's very easy think that the two are the same if you aren't paying attention. I almost did at first until I thought about it. To the people you're speaking to over the phone, it may really seem like it's the same thing. Attributing malice to them most likely isn't correct. Now attributing malice to the higher up bean counters, sure, blame them.
              • I never assumed malice on the phone rep's part.

                I tried to explain to her that point zero zero two cents is not what was written. But she just couldn't wrap her head around it.

        • Extra data, no. Extra charges, yes. I've mentioned elsewhere that I've only come close to the 200MB limit once in 6-7 months of use. I got text messages three times before I hit either 90 or 95% of my usage, notifying me that I was getting close to my limit.

          In practice, unless you happen to be in an area with per-MB metered charges(perhaps roaming?), this will affect the very small number of people who are right at their limit each month (190MB+/200 or 1990MB/2000), which if probably a pretty small number.

          • by peragrin (659227)

            I have the old unlimited plan and i routinely get more than 350mb a month. just visiting slashdot, ars, and two other tech news sites. no youtube, and very rarely an app download.

        • by MaWeiTao (908546)

          I've never had a problem accidentally dialing numbers. I haven't had it happen once despite having a variety of phones, clamshell, candybar and sliders.

          What I have noticed, however, is that "dumb" phones, at least on AT&T tend to have the media/internet button in an overly prominent position. It's trivial to hit it accidentally and end up on the web. And since data isn't cheap for those phones I can imagine it adding up. So what I've done is go into the settings so that it can't connect to the web.

          As fo

        • by Jay L (74152)

          I've also noticed many phones make it rather easy to accidentally dial numbers.

          You should see landlines - they don't even require an "OK" or "call" button. Total scam.

      • This is hard to know. A better test would have been to turn the phone off by pulling the battery. I'm not sure how you do that with the iPhone, but there must be a way.

      • Re:AT&T's Fault? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by AmberBlackCat (829689) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @12:07PM (#35080022)
        I can't find my previous post to link to it so I'll have to repeat myself. My last sprint phone would charge us for data if I used the mp3 player. And it would do this even if I had the internet capability turned off. If you use the web browser, it asks if you want to turn the internet back on in order to continue. If you play an mp3, it turns the internet on and starts charging by the minute with no warning, even though you're just playing a file on a memory card. To make things worse, external contact with the phone could launch the music player. I guess one of the external buttons was a music button.
      • I'm willing to bet that the people bringing this up probably tried this and the results were not quite the sensation that what they wanted. The whole idea of keeping the phone on but unused seems to me to be more contrived that simply letting the battery run down or turning it off or keeping it in a tin box or, as you say, turning off the data service or having it connect via wifi.
    • Re:AT&T's Fault? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Gaygirlie (1657131) <gaygirlie.hotmail@com> on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @09:14AM (#35078710) Homepage

      The article indeed doesn't give much information, but it does say they disabled a bunch of running services on the phone, and left it unattended for only 10 days. 10 days, with no apps on and no user interaction is simply too little to rack up 3 megabytes of data. As a reference point I don't own an iPhone so I don't know how relevant it is, but my N900 only racks up about 25kb-100kb a day at max if I turn off mail-checking, even less if I disable automatic updates. As such I can't help but feel the 3MB of data for 10 days is indeed inflated.

      • by Sockatume (732728)

        Might depend on how data's billed. Some providers round up to the nearest whatever, and if that whatever is 10kb I could see the occasional 1kb push service handshake message, or something, causing a lot of data usage.

        • by parliboy (233658)
          I got some data billing from AT&T a couple of years ago due to international usage overage. I got a lot of 0.6k line items on my bill from frequent checks. But nothing like 10k at a pop.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The article indeed doesn't give much information ... my N900 only racks up about 25kb-100kb a day at max if I turn off mail-checking ... As such I can't help but feel the 3MB of data for 10 days is indeed inflated.

        People like you are the problem with western society today.

        You purport strong conclusions based on nothing but your incidental personal anecdotes and "feelings". Assuming your example is even correct at all, you state that your phone uses up to 100 KB/day without mail checking enabled. That is approximately 1 MB over a 10 day period, or about half of what the lawsuit claims the AT&T iPhone used.

        Any number of things could account for the iPhone using twice as much data for similar operations. Perhaps App

        • Re:AT&T's Fault? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @10:57AM (#35079500)

          People like you are the problem with western society today.

          You purport strong conclusions based on nothing but your incidental personal anecdotes and "feelings".

          How do you not see the irony there?

        • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

          I should add that underworked attorneys are filing BS lawsuits like this all across the country

          Your name wouldn't be Randall Stephenson, would it?

        • by scubamage (727538)
          I disagree that this is a BS lawsuit. If the user is not interacting with the phone at all, and the user is getting billed purely because of data that the phone is using in the background (not due to user interaction) AT&T should be aware of this. Even if its administrative overhead, the fact is the user isn't generating it and so they shouldn't be billed for it. If they are going to be billed, there should be a disclosure at purchase time stating "this phone will generate X bytes of data every N minute
          • by I8TheWorm (645702) *

            Maybe BS as to who the lawsuit is targeting? Nobody in the article seems to suggest that Apple may be at fault here. The testing method is certainly weak, and if the phone is actually causing the issue, it wouldn't be AT&T's responsibility to warn the user, it would be Apple's.

        • and it's idiot's like you that give idiots a bad rep. First off, TFA indicates that it's an overage charge by AT&T. In other words, their billing practices are to over charge you for even having the damn thing and as they stated in the summary, it's like going to the store and buying a 2 litre bottle of Cola only to discover that the bottle had 1.8 litre in it.

          What the real point these lawyers are looking at is making this a class action lawsuit so they can cash in on the problem instead of the customer

        • A wise man once said "assume ignorance not malice".

          The only point where I would disagree with anything you said is that we are talking AT&T here. Assuming malice when dealing with AT&T (which is no longer the AT&T of old, but was taken over by the onetime Baby Bell SBC, arguably the worst of lot) is actually a good defensive strategy. Those boys rarely do anything by accident, and shafting customers is a fundamental tenet of their business model.

          However, given the amount of random traffic that appears anywhere on the Internet a megabyte eithe

        • WTF?

          I understand what you're talking about but I have no idea why you choose to go off on this poor guy. He stated his opinion, made it clear it was only his opinion and backed it up with some the reasoning behind his statement. He in no way claimed to be absolutely right; in fact, he even pointed out a reason why he might be wrong. Perhaps he was a bit foolish to assume similarities between iPhone and N900 but one is free to draw that conclusion thanks to the information he provided.

          In short, he offered

    • by 49152 (690909)

      Were the phone and the service sold as separate deals? I think that might be an important point.

      Many places in the world iPhones are only sold as a bundled device with a service plan from a specific provider and the phone and service can be seen as 'one product'.

      I do not know if that is the case here, but in such a case it does not seem fair that the customer is charged for traffic he did not initiate. The provider who sold him the phone + service plan should be responsible for the behavior of the product a

    • Re:AT&T's Fault? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by halcyon1234 (834388) <halcyon1234@hotmail.com> on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @09:29AM (#35078778) Journal

      Not that people need proof or anything to sue these days, but...

      1. I would have had (at least) one phone with it's battery out (or dead, or both)
      2. Another phone with all it's services turned off, and the phone turned off.
      3. Another phone with all it's services turned off, and the phone left on
      4. Another with it's services on, and the phone off
      5. Another with it's services on, and the phone on

      I would then take a second group of all the above phones, and a few times a day, send them a phone call (unanswered) and a text message (unread).

      (For the sake of cost efficiency, you could use just one phone in all the above states, it'd just take longer)

      Ideally, the phones that are off or dead should have no consumption, those that are on or have services running should have more. There's a non-zero chance the off-but-not-dead are in a "vampire" state, and will still draw a trickle of data.

      • by halcyon1234 (834388) <halcyon1234@hotmail.com> on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @09:40AM (#35078876) Journal
        Slashdot: Stop fucking around with basic HTML elements! The above has an OL in it.  Okay, all you user style people, time for another entry in the "red pen" edition of Slashdot css:

        .commentBody ul, .commentBody ul li
        {
          list-style: circle !important;
          margin-left:25px !important;
        }

        .commentBody ol, .commentBody ol li
        {
          list-style: decimal !important;
          margin-left:25px !important;
        }
      • Re:AT&T's Fault? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by daniorerio (1070048) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @09:41AM (#35078884)
        Maybe they did, but the phones turned off didn't get billed so they're not mentioned?

        From the provider's point of view it is pretty easy to determine if a phone was actually on or not, so if you're going to overbill it's probably wise to overbill phones that were actually turned on...
      • Not that people need proof or anything to sue these days, but...

        1. I would have had (at least) one phone with it's battery out (or dead, or both)
        2. Another phone with all it's services turned off, and the phone turned off.
        3. Another phone with all it's services turned off, and the phone left on
        4. Another with it's services on, and the phone off
        5. Another with it's services on, and the phone on

        I would then take a second group of all the above phones, and a few times a day, send them a phone call (unanswered) and a text message (unread).

        (For the sake of cost efficiency, you could use just one phone in all the above states, it'd just take longer)

        Ideally, the phones that are off or dead should have no consumption, those that are on or have services running should have more. There's a non-zero chance the off-but-not-dead are in a "vampire" state, and will still draw a trickle of data.

        That's a good scientific study. But these are lawyers, at least they have something. For lawyers that's good.

      • by xenobyte (446878)

        They also missed the obvious test: Two or more *identical* phones with everything tuned off except the basic interface, each on a different network. They way, data sent by the phone even when everything is turned off will be revealed, as will inflation if it happens.

      • by lwsimon (724555)

        Indent and spacing are off in Opera 11. Still readable.

        More of an issue is the fact that I can't log in from the homepage - I have to go into an article, and even then, half the login modal is off-screen.

        You would think that a "news for nerds" site would hire better nerds, that actually test in popular browsers other than IE.

    • by Fusen (841730)
      The only extra info I could find was this; "The lawsuit also said the consulting firm bought an iPhone and turned off all apps and services -- location services, push notifications, even e-mail. The consulting firm said it received data charges from 35 data transactions over 10 days, totaling about 2.3 MB. "
      • by Luckyo (1726890)

        This actually sounds to be small enough to be caused by a number of potential software issues with the phone itself.

      • by narcc (412956)

        The consulting firm said it received data charges from 35 data transactions over 10 days, totaling about 2.3 MB.

        The only question left is "Did those transactions actually occur?"

        If there were indeed 35 data transactions totaling 2.3mb, then this lawsuit is a joke. If some of those transactions didn't happen, then the lawsuit is justified.

    • Re:AT&T's Fault? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by dkleinsc (563838) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @09:35AM (#35078838) Homepage

      So your argument is that if AT&T builds in an app that checks with AT&T for updates, and can't be disabled, AT&T should be able to bill customers for the privilege of having that update checker? Because the phone in question was running no applications whatsoever.

      The obligatory car analogy: Do you think it would be ok for automakers to charge customers for the privilege of replacing recalled parts? (especially considering the Fight Club math of cost of recall >= probability of failure * units sold * average court settlement)

      • So your argument is that if AT&T builds in an app that checks with AT&T for updates, and can't be disabled, AT&T should be able to bill customers for the privilege of having that update checker? Because the phone in question was running no applications whatsoever.

        Only if the customer was informed that the phone contained such a "feature". A full disclosure of the device's data usage and appropriate billing for that usage ought to be required. Unfortunately in my experience the carrier will tell you generally that the device will use some data to check for updates, but nobody can actually tell you how much data, when it's used, what it's used for, or how to disable it.

    • by oreaq (817314)
      TFA is light on details but the court filing [courthousenews.com] states that all push notifications, e-mail checking etc. were turned off on the iPhone.
    • Your basic phone fee should be covering the health and status traffic to your handset. That basic fee covers their fixed infrastructure and handset traffic costs. The advertising for metered data, and the consumer expectation, is that the 200MB (or 2GB) allotment is discretionary, whereas it appears that there may very well be a 5% or greater "overhead" you're getting charged for.

      I've come close to my 200MB limit once, when I was on vacation and the hotel wifi was not free. I looked up all the "stuff" the

    • Carrier sells phone to customer.
      Phone has s**twad of carrier apps that do 'update checking, etc...' to generate automatic traffic.
      Profit! Profit! Profit!
      As a quasi-ludite I have no cell phone, do you mean to tell me that automatic backround data transmissions and their potential impact on the bill are not stated up front in the contract?

    • I also didn't see how the comparison was made. How do they know it's more? Maybe the data usage tracker in the phone is not counting everything?
    • Re:AT&T's Fault? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by mcrbids (148650) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @02:55PM (#35082086) Journal

      Nothing in the article shows how it couldn't have been the phone itself doing it, not AT&T doing it.

      I'm guessing you haven't done much business with AT&T? Because this is AT&T that we're talking about. Making up random crap to put on the invoice and then sending you to collections seems to me to be what they're all about!

      My daughter was a foreign exchange student in Germany. I signed up for an international calling plan ($5/month, $0.10/min) before calling her. AT&T was nice enough to charge me the $5/month, and then $4.00 per minute, making my $90 bill closer to $4,000.000. (Yes, that's right!) I spent HOURS on the phone with their support reps, with names like "Mike" and "Sally" with barely comprehensible Indian accents and horrid call quality, none of whom seemed able to do anything at all to correct the bill.

      After 4 months of angry-looking bills and threats to send to collections, I called AT&T and threatened to quit their service. Guess what? I ended up talking to somebody named "Sally" with an AMERICAN accent who corrected the $4,000 bill in 10 minutes! Thinking balance had been restored to the Universe, I decided to leave it be.

      The next month, they overcharged me $20. If you've read this far, you're probably thinking: "Oh, this guy just had a bad experience... this isn't usual"..

      There's more!

      A few months after all this, my son wanted an iPhone and wanted me to co-sign. So I showed up at the AT&T store to find out that their "co-sign" is better read as "it's my contract". Smarting from the previous experience, I refused to sign, and left the store.

      A year later, they sent me to collections for $150 for breach of contract. AT&T sent me to collections for a contract I never even signed. It took another two hours and 6 call transfers to clear this up.

      Do you think I *ever* want to do business with AT&T?

  • you have RTFA

  • Tfa didnt say how much data was transferred during that period (or was that 2 megs pulled totally from the hat). Not having ever used an iPhone I suppose there is some sort of a counter you can reset to see how much data is transferred. Is the all apps off supposed to stop all activity or is there still some background programs accessing the data network occasionally?
  • by Pascal Sartoretti (454385) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @09:18AM (#35078732)
    It uses data trafic.

    BTW I assume that they had turned off e-mail checking, of course.
  • I'm eager to see how this gets settled. I'm betting AT&T will offer a discount to any customer that wants to renew their service by signing up for another two year contract. Oh, and the law firm behind this suit will get $30 million.
    • And yet again we have someone complaining about the law firms potential payout - they are the ones taking the financial risk here, if you want a better settlement then opt out and do it yourself, but be prepared to pay legal fees along the way.
      • by SecurityGuy (217807) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @10:17AM (#35079166)

        Damn straight we complain. Class actions are a scam. The parties harmed by the action get a pittance while the lawyers get a metric ton of cash. You might look at it not as outrage that lawyers get paid for their work, but outrage that this action is being taken on behalf of us poor iPhone owners. It's being taken by lawyers for lawyers.

        • by Thing 1 (178996)
          Even worse, the financial settlement that the company ends up paying (mostly to the lawyers) will need to be made up for, which is generally in terms of higher cost to the (remaining) customers. So as an iPhone owner, not only will I get a meager $0.15 for the $2.00 they overcharged me, they'll also need to raise my bill by $1.00 per month in order to pay for it. (Numbers made up, of course...)
      • Risk is not the issue here. No law firm with some level of common sense would take on a class action law suit if they didn't think they would get paid in the end. If they claim to represent people who were involved then they need to give the people a bigger slice of the pie. Period.
  • B.S. (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I'm calling B.S. I had an AT&T iphone, and even with full bars and every internet app open it takes WAAAAY longer than 10 days to download 2,292 KB on their network.

    -Inigo Carmine

    • by fredrated (639554)

      What are you calling b.s. to? If at&t charged for 2,292 KB and according to you that can't be done even with all apps open, then att is an even bigger liar and thief.

  • "Lawyer leaves iPhone in other pants for a week, gets $20 bill, can't comprehend background services, sues."
  • More info and PDF (Score:4, Informative)

    by EuclideanSilence (1968630) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @09:33AM (#35078814)
    Slightly more informative article with a link to a PDF of the complaint: http://www.pcworld.com/article/218381/atandt_accused_of_overbilling_iphone_ipad_users.html [pcworld.com]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @10:04AM (#35079054)

    I know this is about the iPhone but since I have my iPad data plan with AT&T... I had issues with my iPad. I had it turned OFF one weekend. I turned it back on and within 5 minutes I received an email saying my data plan had maxed out after 2 1/2 weeks into the plan (250MB). So I renewed the plan mid month. I wasn't sure what in the world I could have done to cause this as it'd never happened before. I only have two pages of apps, none had notifications turned on, none had 'allow location' , etc. My email was manual only when I'm in mail. I use the iPad when I'm at work to check email once or twice a day and I am sometimes on Yahoo IM. But rarely. I don't stream vids or play online games, etc. Other than that I use the iPad as an ereader and for Pages. No reason at all to cause such data usage. 2 weeks later I'm told my data is out AGAIN. I do a complete reset of the iPad and within 5 days, I received 4 consecutive emails within an hour, one said my data plan had only 20 MB left, one said 18, one said less than 10 and one said out of data. I called AT&T and they suggested I upgrade to the 2GB plan. I said that I had no new apps on the iPad, had done a complete reset, am doing nothing more than I've done with it since May, so there's NO reason for it to all of a sudden suck so much data. We checked notifications, we checked location services, email and could find nothing to cause this. We even called Apple Care. No one could find a reason. And LO! after my complaint to AT&T, I haven't had that problem again even though it's been almost 6 weeks. Even though we changed none of my settings, as they were already turned off. I find that a bit suspect. To their credit, AT&T was gracious enough to give me one month's free iPad and iPhone services 'for my troubles', which was rather decent of them as the gent on the phone heard how irate I was becoming.

  • How did they manage to turn on their iPhone and get a decent enough signal for this testing? I'm sure it helps that it was probably sitting on a table and not being held^d^d^d^dattenuated by a human hand, but still.
    • Oh, no, it was held. By an intern. For 10 days straight. At $250/hr. Along with the secretary at $150/hr and a junior partner at $350/hr to verify the test. All told, that's $180,000 in billable time right off the bat.

  • by scrib (1277042) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @10:07AM (#35079084)

    Wait a minute, lawyers are upset about systematic over-billing?

    I'd say this is a "the pot calling the kettle black" moment, but it's more like "tar calling granite black."

    I have no doubt that the lawyers will bill AT&T for every minute of those 10 days they "monitored" that iPhone...

  • Attorneys say they would file to have the case moved to class-action status, which makes the outcome relevant to all of AT&T's iPhone accounts.

    It's always the same formula: Big company+lawyers+class action= law firm gets rich on billable hours and I get shit. Sure AT&T gets hurt which is a good thing but seriously there needs to be some sort of legislation on exactly how much law firms can charge when there is a class action suit. Then again I may not be affected as I'm grandfathered into an unlimited data plan. Oh well... Fuck AT&T.

    • by vijayiyer (728590)

      No, AT&T "getting hurt" is not a good thing. People will just pay in the form of higher costs. All of our goods and services have liability costs baked into the pricing. We lose much more than the tiny amounts claimed lost by the "victims".

  • So, if Apple knowingly overbilled their customers and sent out bills to that effect, isn't that mail fraud? All you need is some thugs chasing Tom Cruise around and you could make a movie out of this!
  • And that's not a compliment to the plaintiff.

    The plaintiff makes essentially 4 claims for relief. They read like a tabloid expose, not what I'm used to from lawyers, stating fact and claims. "Rigged gas pump"? Number 3 in particular is a hoot:

    "2. It gets worse. Not only does AT&T systematically overbill..."

    Sorry, it gets 'worse'? Asking the court to consider any of your claims lesser than others doesn't seem like a recommended strategy. Making one claim 'worse' risks finding the others 'le

  • Lag time (Score:4, Interesting)

    by joeyblades (785896) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @11:29AM (#35079744)

    If you read the actual complaint there are three claims. One of them is that data services were charged for were data not requested and that seems to be the one that everyone is focused on. Maybe there's background services, maybe not. However, a better explanation is actually that there is only one issue - the last one in the complaint. This complaint is that charges are not always applied at the same time that the usage occurs. I know that this one is true - I've witnessed it myself, was penalized for it, then AT&T forgave the penalty (more on that in a second).

    This billing lag could easily explain why data charges were incurred during a period of time when the phone was supposedly inactive.

    My daughter recently got an iPhone with the 200MB plan. We were monitoring her data usage regularly and towards the end of the billing cycle we saw that she would go over if she continued with the same consumption. So she stopped using the data apps... she went over anyway and we were billed for $30 instead of the $15 we had budgeted for. After my daughter swore that she had not used the web in the last week, I called AT&T to find out what the deal was. I was finally able to confirm with a tech that indeed, some data activity might not be billed for days after the usage. He told me that he could confirm that my daughter had actually exceeded her limit a day or so before she ceased activity. AT&T was kind enough to drop the extra $15 since their tool had misguided us. I checked and as far as I can tell, AT&T makes no claims as to whether billing for services rendered occurs at the time of rendering.

  • It is too bad that there isn't a set of counters to provide information about data usage on each smart phone. Something one could use to form a basis for decisions about how to manage one's data over the network. Something simple that would collect information about network usage for management purposes.

    Maybe someday smartphone vendors will provide such a tool. They could call the set of counters something like a Management Information Base, and they could name the protocol used to access these counter

  • ...nature of the filing, does anyone have complete confidence that any automated billing system is 100% accurate or that the system is designed so that when errors occur, they are always in the favor of the customer?

    In a past life, I was responsible for a our Qwest billing (formerly Northwestern Bell). Our customer service record was like a stack of paper 40-50 sheets thick, and we weren't really that big of a company.

    This leads me to believe that these systems, especially at older companies, are deeply co

If you had better tools, you could more effectively demonstrate your total incompetence.

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