AT&T GoPhone GPRS charges

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I needed an emergency phone for a few months for some visitors so I signed up for a prepaid cell phone plan from AT&T. Their prepaid plan is called GoPhone and gives you various options. I went with this: 10¢/minute for voice and 20¢ for text messages sent or received. Simple enough, right.

I had an old unlocked T-Mobile Android phone so they tested the phone to make sure it worked with the new GoPhone SIM card. Everything went OK. I asked the AT&T guy twice this same question. “I won’t be charged for any data with this plan, correct?” Both times I was told there would be no data charges. I was told the data charge would only apply to non-smartphones anyways so there would be no way I would be charged. In fact they gave me a print out explaining everything:
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  • Data feature packages are not available with this plan.
  • Data Pay Per Use (1¢/5KB) for non-Smartphones

They put my new SIM card into my old Android phone and sent me on my way with $25 balance. Just to be double sure I even turned off data-sync on my phone. I made couple of test calls which would’ve cost me 20¢ total and everything was working ok. Fast forward to next morning and now we’re getting these notifications on the phone saying remaining balance is only $20.44. No calls, no texts, no nothing. In less than 24 hours AT&T managed to charge me about $4 extra.

att-gprs-charge-02I login to my account and see these numerous GPRS charges varying from $0.01 to $1.69. What the heck? Not only I was told twice there would be absolutely no data charges, I even had data syncing completely turned off on my phone.

So I call up AT&T, get a human on the other end somehow, and tell this guy what happened. He apologizes – resets my card to the $25 which I initially paid. I tell him to turn off all data services and he agrees and we’re done. He doesn’t explain to me why I was being charged and I don’t care what happened. I double make sure with him that I won’t ever be charged for data. He confirms and we’re off.

If I hadn’t paid attention and had not made the effort to figure out why my balance was draining so fast my initial $25 would’ve spent in about 3 days without making a single call. I appreciate AT&T refunding my money without giving me any hassle but this shouldn’t have happened in the first place.

It’s just another example that show how big corporations don’t give a s**t about us. Specially the demographic who don’t have the credit history to sign up for a contract phone. People who get these prepaid phones are usually poor and/or don’t speak English, or just too young. What does AT&T do? Take their money as fast as they can.

5 Responses to AT&T GoPhone GPRS charges

  1. Steve February 18, 2013 at 1:39 pm #

    I got the same issue this morning. I needed a phone for only about 200MB data per month with about 200min-talk per month. I already had a smartphone so I got a sim-card, activated it, added a data plan, 200MB for $15. It’s been a week or so. This morning I noticed there is no data balance. What have I done for a week? Nothing. Simply nothing. For whatever reason, I have not used my GoPhone. I logged into my AT&T gophone account and noticed that I have been using GPRS. What the heck is it? They just took my money for nothing.

    • howtoguy February 18, 2013 at 2:12 pm #

      Did you call them up? What did they say?

  2. Teej May 22, 2013 at 8:45 am #

    AT&T is not taking your money for nothing.. Your phone is accessing the internet.. That is what smartphones do. Datasync is only ONE data feature… Every website, every picture message, most apps, facebook, sharing pictures or video or anything, IT ALL USES DATA. Even if you are not loading the programs, the fact that they are there, they check for updates, download the update if it is available, checks to see if anyone sent you a message, and many other things while it sits there, without the screen even turning on. Whether you realize it or not, whether you intended to or not, your device used the services that you were BOTH charged for. If you do not want to pay data fees, use a flip phone. And then still have data blocked. And FYI, 200mb is almost nothing.. Most smartphone users go through that in a day or 2. Their regular $39 data plan has 3,000mb in comparison. How can the original poster say it shows big companies don’t give a S@#t about you? You got a human on the phone in just a few moments, they apologized that you were essentially too stupid to realize that even though you won’t be charged a data plan, if you use the service it is an a la carte item that if you use it, you pay for it. They even refunded you money for services you used. That is like demanding the gas station give you money back because you drove the wrong way and don’t want to have to pay for the gas that used. & no, I do not work there.. It is just people like you who piss and moan and use services you aren’t paying for makes EVERYONE ELSES bill that much higher. Then myself and everyone else reading has to chip in for your ignorance.

    • BJ December 18, 2014 at 5:46 pm #

      I appreciate the info in your response regarding GPRS charges. Very helpful, but one question…. I notice u said use a flip phone to avoid the charges. Can you give me any ideas on why I was charged $1.99 in GPRS fees on my prepaid at&t flip phone when I wasn’t using it all? Just curious, because I NEVER use any data or access internet or email on the phone, only my laptop…. Just want to understand whats going on with my phone. Thanks.

  3. anna December 5, 2014 at 5:37 pm #

    what is the phone number to call them?

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