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  • ATT Overcharging iPhone and iPad Users



    A class action lawsuit filed against AT&T is alleging the company is "systematically" overstating data usage for iPad and iPhone users.

    The group of lawyers heading the suit hired an independent computer firm to measure every time a group of iPhones and iPads used data in some way. Then they compared the observed data usage to the data usage AT&T claimed the devices used on their monthly bills. The lawyers claim that AT&T systematically over stated data usage by 7-14%. In some cases usage was overstated by as much as 300%. Every device tested was overcharged.

    The piece, shown on NBC's Today Show, contends that iPad and iPhone users regularly incur "phantom" data charges as well. One family complained about data usage being charged to their accounts while everyone in the house was asleep.

    However, the obvious argument would be that the less technically savvy might not realize they have push notifications enabled, thereby incurring charges over night while the phone wasn't in regular use. This isn't the case though.

    To further verify the claims of phantom data charges, and overstating, the lawyers purchased a brand new iPhone. They then turned off everything that could possibly trigger a data charge and let the phone sit for 10 days. When they checked the bill, 35 different data transactions had occurred during that time period.

    AT&T's argument is there is a misunderstanding of how data usage is consumed and billed. They maintain there are many apps that run in the background or are automatically updated using data the consumer isn't aware of.

    The lawyers admit the amount of extra money this costs consumers is small, $10-$15 a month, but with 20 million iPhone and iPad users that equates to big money. AT&T maintains most customers do not incur charges for exceeding their limits.

    For some reason I don't trust AT&T very much when it comes to this story. Have any ModMyi users experienced this "systematic" overstating of data usage?

    Source: Today
    This article was originally published in forum thread: ATT Overcharging iPhone and iPad Users started by Phillip Swanson View original post
    Comments 106 Comments
    1. i.Annie's Avatar
      i.Annie -
      Quote Originally Posted by Donnutt View Post
      This attitude really pisses me off. The iPhone's Internet connection was never meant for a constant full time Internet connection. It's attitudes like this that make AT&T come after people for tethering. People that use a high amount of data per month are bogging the network and making the service worse for everyone else. Even if I had the unlimited plan I doubt if I would use more than 1-2 gb per month, and I stream pandora, browse all the time, and ALWAYS update my apps over 3G. I also tether to my laptop whenever I don't have wifi. Enough with the "stick it to the man" attitude. I hope AT&T puts you on a limited plan and frees up more bandwidth for the rest of us.
      But that doesn't mean it's okay for AT&T to go charging people extra or creating data usage entries that didn't exist. AT&T isn't just going after the people who are tethering (which is fine in my book that they are doing it) but now they're just charging anybody and everybody. There are plenty of people like me that don't hog the crap out of my iPhone data and use wifi whenever I get the chance to. Why should we have any sympathy for AT&T in regards to the data hogs when AT&T had been overcharging me for 6 months?
    1. Essenar's Avatar
      Essenar -
      Quote Originally Posted by jeffhesser View Post
      i don't know that i trust lawyers to be technical experts in this case.... know if they flat turnd the data on the phone off and were still charged then i'd say they have something but i'd bet this is not the case. If they were charging for data that wasn't happening it would be pretty easy to prove with some scientific tests (beyond 'we clicked off on all of the notifications switches'). Plus, there is a data counter on your phone so if you don't turn wifi on that number should match with ATT's number. If those numbers match then it's Apple who is screwing you, not ATT.
      That's why you're not a lawyer, or an engineer or a judge or anyone with credibility to make that statement. If you were or at least knew a thing about law school, you'd know engineering is a popular major for pre law students.

      Not only is it a great bridge to patent law but tier one and tier two schools look favorably upon well rounded technical degrees and even lower the GPA cut offs for engineering applicants.
    1. Donnutt's Avatar
      Donnutt -
      Quote Originally Posted by i.Annie View Post
      There are plenty of people like me that don't hog the crap out of my iPhone data and use wifi whenever I get the chance to. Why should we have any sympathy for AT&T in regards to the data hogs when AT&T had been overcharging me for 6 months?
      Completely agree with you. Rollover data would be nice!
    1. iFlash20's Avatar
      iFlash20 -
      Yeah AT&T claimed they were going to kick me off there network cause I was one of the top users of data even though I have an unlimited data plan.
    1. csglinux's Avatar
      csglinux -
      Quote Originally Posted by mmaboi21 View Post
      Darn att, I'm switching to Verizon when the 5 comes out.
      +1. I've had a long, long history of similar problems with AT&T.
    1. MikePA's Avatar
      MikePA -
      Quote Originally Posted by liquidzoo View Post
      We all know how smart big business can be...
      We all know how stupid gross generalizations are, too.
    1. steve-z17's Avatar
      steve-z17 -
      This is interesting, my sister-in-law goes over her Data limit almost every month (iPhone 4) and she uses her phone for talking and texting. Guess we'll see what happens.
    1. Fallguy's Avatar
      Fallguy -
      I have unlimited data through AT&T and its nice to know I dont have to monitor my usage even though I only use about 350 mb per month . I am surprised how long it took for someone to figure this one out .
      Also people with unlimited data plans should be left alone by AT&T because it is a "UNLIMITED" plan for a reason ! I mean thats why we wanted it in the first place , and not for AT&T to monitor our usage and gripe about how much we're using .
    1. ohthatguyagain's Avatar
      ohthatguyagain -
      I miss Cingular...
    1. Roninjinn's Avatar
      Roninjinn -
      Quote Originally Posted by liquidzoo View Post
      Ah, but that would be the smart thing to do...

      We all know how smart big business can be...
      No... that would be the dumb thing to do if you were a business.

      It's shady what AT&T is doing, but the business model isn't 'broken'. It's there to make more money and keep their system from being overloaded. AT&T's network (or any of the others, as they're ALL getting rid of Unlimited data) can't handle the load of allowing all smartphone users unlimited data.
      Think about it, that means that EVERYONE on their network can use as much bandwidth as they want, whenever they want.

      What is 'smart' for a consumer, isn't 'smart' for a company. It may save us money, and be more cost effective for US, but not for the business. And that's what they're doing.. running a bsuiness.
    1. thevmax's Avatar
      thevmax -
      Quote Originally Posted by i.Annie View Post
      It's either this is true or AT&T's system is delayed. Because I've had nothing but trouble with AT&T and my capped 2GB data plan. And I didn't even tether at that time when I had AT&T.

      It's a load of crap either way. When I go over 2GB, I have to pay $10 for another 1GB which is fine except that it always happens 2 or 3 days before my new cycle starts. And its funny because I would check on the day of the new cycle and there's 165MB used already on that morning. So what? I used 165MB as I was sleeping over night? Or it just decided the 165MB doesn't go on the previous bill that I paid $10 extra for that overage, and it goes on my new bill with the 2GB I pay for already monthly.

      It's either they were adding 160+MB of "phantom" data on the first morning of my new cycles every month or the system is so delayed that it doesn't stick the usage from a day ago on the bill it is supposed to be on and stuck it to the new bill. That's 160+MB of my 2GB that is gone for every new cycle. It's a load of crap, and it happened every single month for 6 months that I had AT&T.
      While I am not disagreeing with your issues, you didn't mention whether you had PUSH turned on and how many apps you usually have running. I have been surprised at how much data ATT says I used, but, I have push on for my mail and Ilocalis AND I use Google Maps daily for deliveries that I make. I have been grandfathered in on the unlimited data plan but I still am concerned that ATT could change their plans on the fly at any time....
    1. i.Annie's Avatar
      i.Annie -
      I mentioned I only surf the web with Safari And I don't run multiple apps at the same time. And I don't see how push will rack me 165MB in a single morning on the first day of my new cycle.

      Isn't it difficult for someone with an unlimited data plan to notice any additional charges or delayed updates in the data tracking system? Just saying, it's a massive delay in the system updating.

      Verizon's system updates very frequently and very accurately, even if I have unlimited data on VZW I still check to see what my usage looks like. And believe me, same phone (iPhone 4), same data usage amount, *different* usage numbers showing up.
    1. mmaboi21's Avatar
      mmaboi21 -
      Quote Originally Posted by i.Annie View Post
      Because you don't use as much data as some others do, you won't notice anything. I want to say this is because the system is delayed, rather than go into the "phantom" data charges (which may or may not be true as well). If you don't use it often enough, the delay of the system will catch up quicker and more efficiently because there isn't that much to process/enter into the system.

      Not sure if that made sense...works in my head Either way the delay is a cheat too.
      Lol I had to read it twice but I got it
    1. i.Annie's Avatar
      i.Annie -
      Quote Originally Posted by mmaboi21 View Post
      Lol I had to read it twice but I got it
      Good, bc I was not about to try to figure out another way to explain it
    1. Jahooba's Avatar
      Jahooba -
      $10-15 a month is a lot! To me, anyway.
    1. theguy1429's Avatar
      theguy1429 -
      Thank goodness I'm in Canada!
    1. editwizard's Avatar
      editwizard -
      Quote Originally Posted by epignosis567 View Post
      AT&T can kiss my black a s s! I have unlimited data and sometimes I tether my laptop even when there IS an Internet connection just to piss them off.
      Suck it AT&T.
      That truly made me lol
    1. purplemonkeyspank's Avatar
      purplemonkeyspank -
      Americans are suckers when it comes to being shafted by the mobile operators state side.
    1. RICO_'s Avatar
      RICO_ -
      Good job AT&T. If u had just kept the Data Plan unlimited you wouldn't have this problem. Now you've got a headache to deal with.

      By the way has anyone noticed that everytime you go into the "About" section in Settings on the iPhone it uses a little bit of data?
    1. i.Annie's Avatar
      i.Annie -
      Quite a bold statement to make. Generalizations aren't very nice you know. Just bc I'm American doesn't make me a sucker, bud