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:
- 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.
I 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.