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  • T-Mobile Turns Data on For Smartphones Without Plans, Users Hit With Huge Data Charges


    Earlier this year T-Mobile announced they would be shifting all Smartphone users to a Pay-Per-Use data payment plan whether they wanted to or not. They would notify users by email or their September bill. The “feature” cannot be disabled through the device or via My T-Mobile.

    Infuriating yes. Legal probably. Still going on? Sadly, yes.

    MMi reader Eric Willden recently fell victim to T-Mobile’s underhanded tactics. Three of the five smartphones associated with Willden’s T-Mobile account started transmitting data. The problem, these three phones—iPhones no less— had no data plan attached to them. T-Mobile’s price for this pay-as-you-go access is $2 per MB.

    Willden’s wife and kids—whom the phones belong to—reported that they started receiving email, and other data specific updates while driving around. Suspicious, Willden performed a #932 data check on each of their phones.

    The shocking result: $150 in unwanted, and seemingly unwarranted data charges.

    Willden immediately called T-Mobile to figure things out. Willden also had the foresight to record both calls made to T-Mobile. After sitting through 20 minutes of hold time, two supervisors, and two hours on the phone Willden got T-Mobile to block the Pay-Per-Use data as well as refund the $150 charged to his account.

    Listening to Willden’s phone calls, T-Mobile’s reps outlined only two options at first. One: Willden could add the Pay-Per-Use block and pay the $150 in data charges. Two: Willden could choose a data plan for the phones to operate on and have the $150 overage dropped and a monthly data plan put in its place.

    Judging by the hoops Willden had to go through T-Mobile is hoping most smartphone users don’t have the gumption to pursue a refund and data block on their Pay-Per-Use devices thereby securing another paying data plan customer.



    A quick search through the T-Mobile support forums and I found a number of threads with similar stories to Willden’s. T-Mobile alerted customers of the changes to their plan—whether those customers received or understood the alert is another story—and informed them the changes would take place 30 days from the notification which was on 9/18. Problem is, T-Mobile decided to charge many of these customers for the pay-period between 9/19 and 10/18 even though the charges weren’t supposed to start till the billing cycle after 10/18. T-Mobile reps gave these individuals the same run around T-Mobile subjected Willden to, attempting to push them into a data plan to get the enormous data charges wiped from their account.

    T-Mobile has effectively activated Pay-Per-Use data plans on thousands of their subscribers phones, a disproportionate amount of which are iPhone owners using unlocked phones on the network. Again, it might be legal, but surely it isn’t best practices. Thousands of uninformed users will likely incur a mountain of data charges unknowingly and be subjected to the run-around Willden and others have been subject to.

    My advice to T-Mobile customers worried they could be affected by these data charges is to check your bill, run a #932 data check, and if the charges are there call T-Mobile immediately. Do not accept their “Two Options” either. Demand a refund, if the person you’re talking to can’t give it to you, ask for someone who can.

    Also, act fast. The change is now affecting all smartphones on T-Mobile's that previously did not have data plans attached and at $1.99/MB can get expensive quick.

    Source: Eric Willden, T-Mobile Support Forum
    This article was originally published in forum thread: T-Mobile Turns Data on For Smartphones Without Plans, Users Hit With Huge Data Charges started by Phillip Swanson View original post
    Comments 46 Comments
    1. ewillden's Avatar
      ewillden -
      Belinda from T-Mobile has called me back 2 times now, telling me she's been "monitoring" my account, to ensure that their erroneous charges are going to post to my bill. At least I finally got to someone around there who knows what Customer Service is. ;-)
    1. Yosemitysam10's Avatar
      Yosemitysam10 -
      I fully agree why should I not be able to buy an iPhone 4S for me or my kids and not have the chance to choose whether I add data kids don't need full Internet access while out I should have a choice when I fork out $400.00 or $500 on each phone i should have a choice what I do with it the kids love them because they have everything they need on them I shouldn't have to pay another $100 a month for data after shelling out $1500.00 in phones because of pure greed by these companies the laws need to be changed to protect consumers it's fine for these young people with no kids or living at home still they can do it but try paying all utilities food gas etc. while a phone company tries to hose you unwillingly
    1. MYPHONEI's Avatar
      MYPHONEI -
      Quote Originally Posted by Dranon View Post
      What I don't understand is the narrow-mindedness of people who think like you! NO COMPANY SHOULD MAKE DATA MANDATORY! It should be your choice. If I choose to use my iphone or any smartphone without data plans for whatever reason I have it should be nobody's business except my own. LOTS of people have wi-fi wherever they are and do NOT NEED DATA! I have wi-fi everywhere except in my car. I don't need data in my car... yet ATT insists I pay for a data plan... that is just plain wrong!
      Simple then do not use a smart phone
      Oh and use a candle at home to light your room..........Don't watch TV and if you do do not have Cable or Satellite..... go to work on a horse........ use a manual typewriter while your at it.

      You see its people who think and act like this I do not understand either, If you want a smart phone then understand part of the main function is based on the web,

      I just had a conversation with someone 10 years younger than me, "my 10 year old does not need a computer" I was shocked to hear such BS, this was because the school had sent a letter home because the child has no computer skills yet. I stated that it is the modern world, if this was 1890 then your child would be expected to know how to ride a horse and split wood. Its 2011 and part of life now is computer skills. you would think someone younger than me (47) by 10 years would understand this but ignorance can be found everywhere.

      The moral is embrace change, the world is changing around you don't fight it enjoy it.

      Quote Originally Posted by Yosemitysam10 View Post
      I fully agree why should I not be able to buy an iPhone 4S for me or my kids and not have the chance to choose whether I add data kids don't need full Internet access while out I should have a choice when I fork out $400.00 or $500 on each phone i should have a choice what I do with it the kids love them because they have everything they need on them I shouldn't have to pay another $100 a month for data after shelling out $1500.00 in phones because of pure greed by these companies the laws need to be changed to protect consumers it's fine for these young people with no kids or living at home still they can do it but try paying all utilities food gas etc. while a phone company tries to hose you unwillingly
      You have no choice on Verizon and At&t but the point is you do not have to buy Iphones for your kids either, Apple believes that the experience of an Iphone is diminished without Data, and to be honest I agree with them, I understand if you cannot afford it there are IPOD touches then, you do not have to buy the phone you know
    1. Yosemitysam10's Avatar
      Yosemitysam10 -
      I just had a conversation with someone 10 years younger than me, "my 10 year old does not need a computer" I was shocked to hear such BS, this was because the school had sent a letter home because the child has no computer skills yet. I stated that it is the modern world, if this was 1890 then your child would be expected to know how to ride a horse and split wood. Its 2011 and part of life now is computer skills. you would think someone younger than me (47) by 10 years would understand this but ignorance can be found everywhere.




      Whatever you say your the mother of all moral standards I'm not getting into a testosterone fueled pissing match with a simpleton about what is right and whats not its people like you and that cookie cutter thinking that make carriers rich all I'm saying is that if I spend 1500.00 on phones I should be able to choose what I do with it my wife and I both have data plans but why shouldn't my kids be able to enjoy a iPhone 4S and use it on wifi only if that's what I decide and I have had every form of technology out since before you were born and obviously I can afford it or I wouldn't have 4 iPhone 4S's it's about choice and freedom of it not making greedy providers rich .
    1. Dranon's Avatar
      Dranon -
      WOW I THOUGHT YOU WERE SMART BUT JUST NOT GETTING THE POINT! You must also like oppressive governments that tell you what to do and what you should like... "APPLE BELIEVES" Really you care what Apple believes and then if someone believes otherwise they must be.... what???
      You must like oppressive governments also, let them tell you what you like or dislike and how to behave or not!
      Your whole argument about the modern world has nothing to do with choice of whether I want data or not so I do not understand the point you are trying to make????
    1. MYPHONEI's Avatar
      MYPHONEI -
      Quote Originally Posted by Yosemitysam10 View Post
      I just had a conversation with someone 10 years younger than me, "my 10 year old does not need a computer" I was shocked to hear such BS, this was because the school had sent a letter home because the child has no computer skills yet. I stated that it is the modern world, if this was 1890 then your child would be expected to know how to ride a horse and split wood. Its 2011 and part of life now is computer skills. you would think someone younger than me (47) by 10 years would understand this but ignorance can be found everywhere.








      Whatever you say your the mother of all moral standards I'm not getting into a testosterone fueled pissing match with a simpleton about what is right and whats not its people like you and that cookie cutter thinking that make carriers rich all I'm saying is that if I spend 1500.00 on phones I should be able to choose what I do with it my wife and I both have data plans but why shouldn't my kids be able to enjoy a iPhone 4S and use it on wifi only if that's what I decide and I have had every form of technology out since before you were born and obviously I can afford it or I wouldn't have 4 iPhone 4S's it's about choice and freedom of it not making greedy providers rich .
      WOW what a statement yes lets bring SEX into this and berate someone because of it! WOW

      Your right, arguing with you is pointless, you miss the whole point and Whine about things that you cannot and that will not change.

      Of course you have a choice its called Pay as you go with a simple phone.

      You could have bought IPOD touches that are just like Iphones but without the phone part

      Tmoble and At&T and Verizon have a right to charge you what ever they want they are in a free country and have the same choice as you.
      Being in a free country does not mean you get all the freedom and choice but others do not

      You want Iphones but you do not want the Cell company to then charge you for Data, the Cell companies have decided all smartphones are to be charged for Data, you do not want this, too bad, its the way the world has changed.

      You missed my point, to have the smart phone without Data is really defeating the purpose of a smart phone, I think that, APple thinks that and so do the Cell phone companies. The phones OS's themselves are set up to go on the internet and most people do not or will not JB, Root and tweak them to stay off so they require you to have Data plan or pay for the use of Data on their system, sounds fair and legal since you are using a service they provide.

      The companies have a right to charge what the market bears and you have a right to not use them. No problem here, you are not entitled, and that my friend is the problem with Americans these days, they feel freedom means they are entitled.