$4,800 iPhone bill

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by rdowns, Sep 8, 2007.

  1. rdowns macrumors Penryn


    Jul 11, 2003
    So you describe yourself as an entrepreneur and bought three $600 phones and you are oblivious to this well publicized issue. :rolleyes:

    That said, ATT and Apple need to address this issue already.


    Jay Levy and his family took their iPhones on a Mediterranean cruise. Now the Hewlett Harbor entrepreneur feels as if he got taken for a ride, receiving a 54-page monthly bill of nearly $4,800 from AT&T Wireless.

    While Levy, his wife and his daughter were enjoying the trip, and even while they were sleeping, their three iPhones were racking up a bill for data charges. The iPhone regularly updates e-mail, even while it's off, so that all the messages will be available when the user turns it on.

    "They have periodic updates on their data files, and they translate into megabucks," Levy said. "This is akin to your bank having automatic access to your ATM machine and is siphoning money out during all times of the day and night without your knowledge."

    Levy and his daughter each have three e-mail accounts on their iPhones, and they were each billed more than $1,900.

    His wife's phone had one e-mail account, and her bill hit $890. One connection alone ran $223. Levy said he has complained all the way to office of AT&T's president.

    Data transfers are not a problem domestically, where the AT&T Wireless plan includes unlimited data transfers for the iPhone.

    But the iPhone's international plan in 29 countries, mostly in Europe, costs $24.99 for 20 megabytes. In countries outside the plan, charges can run from $5 to $20 per megabyte, said Ben Wilson, editor of iPhone Atlas, a Web site owned by the online news company CNet.

    "It was a big surprise," Wilson said. "Consumers didn't expect that the charges were going to be so high and that the phone was going to be doing all this data transfer in the background that they weren't aware of."

    Herbert Kliegerman, 68, a real-estate agent from the Bronx, said he incurred $2,000 while visiting Mexico. He filed a lawsuit seeking class-action status in New York State Supreme Court last week, alleging that Apple did not properly disclose the international roaming charges.

    AT&T Wireless offered to refund $1,500 to Kliegerman, but he said that's not good enough. "I want a full refund," he said.

    Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris said the company adequately discloses the potential charges on the Web site and when the phone is activated.

    The 6,707-word terms and conditions document on the AT&T Web site says: "Substantial charges may be incurred if phone is taken out of the U.S. even if no services are intentionally used."

    Kliegerman said said most people don't read the lengthy terms and conditions. Furthermore, the rate plans listed on the site indicate "unlimited data (Email/Web)," without an asterisk. He said that's misleading.

    Kliegerman's lawyer, Randall S. Newman of Manhattan, said about 15 people from around the country have called him complaining of international roaming charges and the inability to unlock the phone to use it with another carrier.

    Apple hasn't yet released the iPhone abroad. Levy said he didn't expect data transfer charges internationally because he believed the data network in Europe wasn't compatible with the iPhone. The Levys brought their phones with them for voice calls.

    Other smartphones also automatically update e-mail and other data such as weather and stock prices, but those phones offer a wider variety of international pricing plans in more countries than is available on the iPhone, AT&T Wireless spokeswoman Ellen Webner said.

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  2. aneftp macrumors 601

    Jul 28, 2007
    I don't feel sorry at all for these people. Never turn your cell phone on when you are traveling internationally unless you signed up for one of ATT international packages. You will get hit with charges even if you don't even pick up the phone and the call goes to voicemail. The minute you have your cell phone on and someone tries to leave you a voicemail, it's going to cost you. Same thing goes for data usage.

    So the moral of this story is to get ATT to unlock one of your old phones (if you have been a customer with them for a while.....they will even unlock newer phones) (the iPhone is the exception and ATT will not unlock it.) Once you have an unlocked phone, by an international SIM card.

    The iPhone is a data hog. People should know the cruises jack up the roaming prices. They should have removed their SIM cards or had their phones on Airplane mode while they were outside of United States terrority.
  3. JBaker122586 macrumors 65816

    Jun 21, 2007
    I'm going to go ahead and call ******** on the iPhone checking your email when it's off.
    ...because it's a bald-faced lie.

    And I somehow doubt these people ran up $1500 each simply by checking email.

    Don't be a tard and you won't get a big bill. Case closed.
  4. flyfish29 macrumors 68020


    Feb 4, 2003
    New HAMpshire
    I say it wouldn't hurt ATT (only help their customer relations and image) if they put an asterix on the part that says unlimited data!

    I for one would never have known that internationally an iPhone would cost me money even when I am not using it at all. So while many would know this, I am sure there are many who would have not clue like myself.

    Now that being said, I tend to read through all those booring agreement things anyway- at least ones that could cost me money- I don't read software ones for sure!!!
  5. skubish macrumors 68030


    Feb 2, 2005
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    This article is misleading. It says the iPhone downloads email while the phone is off. This is not true. The iPhone will download email while in standby mode. I think we all knew this but some people might not. Could be a mistake or could be an author(not the OP) trying to be dramatic.
  6. megfilmworks macrumors 68020


    Jul 1, 2007
    Sherman Oaks
    Just got back from Europe with my iPhone. Used the data plan and have the .99 @ min international call plan. If you turn email prefs to check manually, it only checks when you open the mail. I used Google maps and my email (3 accounts) weather, etc and had a hard time using my 20 megs over the edge network. There is wifi everywhere in Europe and most of it is free. Extra charges for me on the 2 week trip...less than $100. I have heard that cruise ships have very high data charges. And making phone calls from cruise ships ha been always been very expensive. If you know the facts you can save bundles... by the way, visual voicemail and all other features worked well.
  7. aphexii macrumors 6502

    Feb 22, 2006
    until apple adds the ability to TURN OFF EDGE, I side with the consumers.
  8. TXCraig macrumors 6502a


    Jul 2, 2007
    Houston, TX
    Agreed! They need to FIX THE PHONE! Apple needs to address basic operation of the phone before they spend time making Starbucks buttons on the phone.
  9. engelhart macrumors member

    May 23, 2004
    I thought switching the iphone to aircraft mode turned off edge?
  10. Eric Lewis macrumors 68020

    Eric Lewis

    Feb 4, 2007
    CANADA? eh?

    if i hack my iPhone to work with rogers!

    and by mistake....i click the stocks or safari? wont the charges be outragous?
  11. aerospace macrumors 6502a

    Jun 26, 2007
    ...and your phone part of the iphone
  12. dangleheart macrumors 6502

    Jun 29, 2007
    All of you who do not have any sympathy for these international travelers keep this in mind. These people are ordinary consumers and not at the level of macrumors members and even 1/100th of that. If Apple and AT&T only wants to sell to techkies, they do not have a business. This crap about charging people for automatic data usage when they are not aware of it and having the defense as ' it is in the fine print' is just a recipe for failure. The millions of mass consumers, if they get a wind of this, will have this unexplained 'phobia' about the iPhone when Apple's goal is to make this 'Common man friendly'. Very bad form AT&T. Give those good people the full refund.
  13. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Agreed. I mean, pretty much every cell phone out there by default gives you a warning when you've entered "Roaming" as well as the ability to disable making Roaming calls at all so you don't unknowingly rack up extra charges. It's stupid that awesomeness that is the iPhone doesn't give you any indication that you could potentially be racking up huge fees due to background processes and apparently no setting to disable EDGE when you go off the AT&T reservation. Seems kinda like a no-brainer type thing to me.

  14. seafurydriver macrumors member

    Aug 9, 2007
    I agree that this is a huge problem for Apple and AT&T, because it impacts business customers who would otherwise choose the iphone over other smartphones. This happened to me when I traveled to Italy and China and had data roaming charges of over $1000. One email download alone cost me $126.

    The problem here is that there’s no way to control these costs. You can’t turn data off on the iphone (although you can call AT&T and have them disable data when you travel outside the US) without loosing the telephone functions. I know if I talk to America for one hour from China on my iphone that I will run up a big bill, but that’s much different than turning your phone on in the morning, throwing into the briefcase, and having your bill run up like a meter on a taxi cab. People just don’t expect that a service that costs $20 a month for all you can use could possibly cost $1000-$3000.

    For all of you who criticize people like me for not knowing that the iphone would run up such a big bill just imagine yourself sitting down at a bar and ordering a beer, only to find that it costs $100 after you’ve finished it. Or park your car at the mall for a few hours to find that the bill comes to $500.

    Was the information about international roaming charges buried in the AT&T contract? Sure it was. But I would ask you to also look at the cover page for the iphone on Apple’s website. You will find the following under the AT&T logo…

    • Rate Plans for iPhone
    All rate plans include Visual Voicemail and unlimited data
  15. illegalprelude macrumors 68000


    Mar 10, 2005
    Los Angeles, California
    so im a little confused and have a question.

    Mid October, ill be going to a cruise for Mexico for a few days. How do I avoid having my iPhone rake up over charges?

    As long as I have my phone but dont call or text from it. I wont be getting charged right? Only if I actually use the phone or send texts will it use international rates?

    Also, my email, if i set it to check manually, then it should be checking and taking up minutes.
  16. iMacZealot macrumors 68020

    Mar 11, 2005
    >Perhaps at&t should do the same thing as T-Mobile. With T-Mobile, your phone is not enabled for world roaming by default, and you must activate WorldClass before you go. The only problem is, people don't know about this, either, and I've heard horror stories about people being phoneless for their entire vacation.

    >I do agree that Apple should include a switch in the Settings Pane to turn off GPRS/EDGE. Even my Sidekick 3 had that.
  17. aphexii macrumors 6502

    Feb 22, 2006
    Exactly. Both valid points.

    I've never had a phone in my 11+ years of mobile "phoning" that lacked the ability to turn off data (if the phone had data as a feature).
  18. skye12 macrumors 65816


    Nov 11, 2006
    Austin, Tx
    The issue is if you turn it on at all the phone will connect to the system and email functions proceed to download. Apple needs to put in an easily
    accessible function to disable the phones email when out of the country.
    AT&T is used to having passive subscribers who just shrug and pay the bills.
  19. mm1250 macrumors 6502

    Sep 3, 2007
    That would just be way to easy for ATT and Apple.

    I'm sick of these cellphone companies trying to price gauge the customer. I feel really sorry for people who get screwed over like this. I mean, if you have your phone on but only expect to get charged for the calls coming in or out. They SHOULD disclosue when your roaming, plain and simple. Boo to Apple for not putting these on the phones. Such shaddy business practices on both sides.
  20. kdarling macrumors P6


    Jun 9, 2007
    First university coding class = 47 years ago
    Forget visual voicemail.

    What every phone out there needs, is a utility screen showing how much your current charges are... with an alarm popup when they go over a preset amount, as when you're roaming.

    But of course that would never come from the phone companies.
  21. treblah macrumors 65816


    Oct 28, 2003
    Data would still come in over GPRS, just slower.
  22. 7on macrumors 601


    Nov 9, 2003
    Dress Rosa
    T-Mo has that, minus the alarm. Just go to your Tzones account page and under "My Account" it will list current usage. Also dialing #min# or #msg# will give you your remaining minutes and remaining txt messages quickly. I don't have a data plan so I don't know if there's a similar thing for data, but it should show up in the my accounts page.
  23. matttrick macrumors 6502

    Aug 28, 2006
    anyone saying "i dont feel sorry for these people", i hope you walk outside to slashed tires. what do you think, because you are a techie and come onto forums and the like that there are no people out there who do not know this stuff?

    the average consumer expects to buy a phone and use it at the advertised rates. you shouldnt have to worry about hidden charges buried in 6000+ word user agreements.

    just because the younger crowd grew up in the tech generation does not mean that all those baby boomers out there did. people are so smug and self righteous its disgusting.

    ATT is crap for pulling this (among a myriad of other trash they do to rip people off) and if apple wants to keep its appeal to the common user, they need to either prevent this situation from occurring, or CLEARLY and EASILY disclose these possibilities to potential NORMAL customers.
  24. AirborneAngel macrumors 6502

    Sep 8, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    I do feel sympathy for the fact that they now have to pay 5000 dollars...collectively more than the actual price of their iPhones, but hey roaming charges are to be anticipated, they should have turned their phones off or left them at home. Filing a law suit against Apple is impractical, it is there faults.
  25. BornAgainMac macrumors 603


    Feb 4, 2004
    Florida Resident
    I agree. It gets me so upset to hear stories like this. With the proper tools, a consumer will be able to avoid these charges such as a charge monitor tool. Perhaps allow the consumer to put a lock or limit on their phone that will disable it if they reach a certain threshold and the ability to raise the threshold if necessary. I would like to keep within my minutes and messages without having to constantly log into the website.

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