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11-09-2011, 10:14 PM #1
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 Wilden recently fell victim to T-Mobile’s underhanded tactics. Three of the five smartphones associated with Wilden’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.
Wilden’s wife and kids—whom the phones belong too—reported that they started receiving email, and other data specific updates while driving around. Suspicious, Wilden performed a #932 data check on each of their phones.
The shocking result: $150 in unwanted, and seemingly unwarranted data charges.
Wilden immediately called T-Mobile to figure things out. Wilden 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 Wilden got T-Mobile to block the Pay-Per-Use data as well as refund the $150 charged to his account.
Listening to Wilden’s phone calls, T-Mobile’s reps outlined only two options at first. One: Wilden could add the Pay-Per-Use block and pay the $150 in data charges. Two: Wilden 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 Wilden 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 Wilden’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 Wilden 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 Wilden 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 Wilden, T-Mobile Support Forum
11-09-2011, 10:41 PM #2
I don't get it. How did these customers use data previously? Were they just using data without being charged for it? Or did they have a previous data block on the devices that was dropped by T-Mobile and replaced with the pay per use package?
Edit: Ok, I think I get it. They didn't have a data plan at all, which meant they didn't receive data. Once T-Mobile added the pay per use, data transmittion was enabled and the phones then started doing so. Right?
Last edited by justibackwardsn; 11-09-2011 at 10:48 PM.
11-09-2011, 11:00 PM #3
11-09-2011, 11:01 PM #4
Thats funny to hear since an iphone on T-Mobile needs to have the apn settings put in to use data. This guy must have put them in. I do not think T-Mobile would put the settings in his iPhone for him.
11-09-2011, 11:02 PM #5
Pay-per-use? That's just nuts. How you could have a smartphone with no data plan? Why would you even buy a smartphone if you weren't planning on using it the way it was intended? At least AT&T makes it mandatory for its smartphones. T-Mobile is garbage...
11-09-2011, 11:06 PM #6
I got these charges also. I tried to perform a #932 data check, but I guess T-Mobile just says that "All circuits are busy now"
11-09-2011, 11:15 PM #7
I got charged around $100 because of this stupid t-mobile services as well. I called them many times and demanded for a refund but they won't let me. At the end, I told them to block this stupid service within my account...
11-09-2011, 11:27 PM #8
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11-09-2011, 11:29 PM #9
11-09-2011, 11:32 PM #10
11-09-2011, 11:43 PM #11
since an iphone on T-Mobile needs to have the apn settings put in to use data.
11-10-2011, 01:39 AM #12
This is crazy, tmobile users should go to simple mobile , same network but cheaper
11-10-2011, 01:40 AM #13
11-10-2011, 04:27 AM #14
I'm not sure it would be a dumb thing to have iPhones without data plans. I would have given my kids my old iPhones if they could use them on WiFi only. There young and don't need to be on the internet away from home and I don't need to pay for a stupid data plan for kids. And why not have a phone with a camera and music player that uses the apple OS. It's just greed on the part of AT$T that makes them have to have a data plan.Anyway who ever gets hit with this charge should call back as many times as possible and ask for a supervisor and someone will help them. You just have to get past the idiots they have in place to wear you down so you'll give in.
11-10-2011, 04:34 AM #15
I'd love to have a wifi only iPhone!!!
11-10-2011, 05:47 AM #16
I put the APN settings in for the purpose of MMS messaging - which does not count against data usage, but against your text messaging usage. Glad I read this article, checked my account, and have only used 21.6 mb of data fortunatetely. Regardless, T-Mobile will be getting a not so happy call from me today!
11-10-2011, 05:48 AM #17
11-10-2011, 05:54 AM #18
11-10-2011, 06:05 AM #19
Really you need to check stock prices when you are out and about??? I check at starbucks or McDonalds but guess what they have wi-fi!
Prices on shelves what with a barcode scanner or even the internets? So you ARE price conscious! But most places have free wi-fi for that also!
You say it is just your opinion BUT yet you bash people for not wanting it or push them to get a cheap phone plan with pay as you go. THAT is not expressing an opinion THAT is sticking your nose up at people, THAT is narrow-minded thinking that the way YOU think is the the ONLY way or the right way! Read Orwells 1984 it will be like looking in a mirror...
Last edited by Dranon; 11-10-2011 at 06:13 AM.
11-10-2011, 06:26 AM #20