AT&T Roaming Data Usage Woes

Have you ever traveled out of the country just to come back home and get smacked upside the head by your AT&T cellular bill? Well one of our faithful readers, Mike, has a very unusual situation... he asked us to share his story with you in hopes of preventing this happening to any other readers.

Mike recently added a International Data Roaming Plan before a trip out of the country. It seemed like all was covered... until he got home and received his latest bill. Here is Mike's story, in his own words:

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blockquote>I was informed by an AT&T service rep that AT&T had charged me the exorbitant per KB rate for international data useage because I had cancelled my International Data Roaming plan after I returned to the United States. The plan is available on a month-to-month basis, so cancelling it when I got home seemed like an obvious thing for me to have done, since I have no plans to go overseas again in the foreseeable future. But the service rep said that AT&T's policy (unwritten, so far as I can tell) is that one needs to leave the roaming plan in place for 90 extra days, so that it is still in place when the foreign carrier finally reports the subscriber's roaming back to AT&T. If the plan is not in place when the foreign data useage gets reported to AT&T, then AT&T's billing system is incapable of recognizing that I had an international data roaming plan in place on the dates that the foreign carrier says I used its data connection.

Ouch, I could imagine this bill would have really hurt. Luckily for Mike, he spoke with a "very nice" AT&T rep and she credited his account for the appropriate amount. Mike is not alone either, for similar stories be sure to check out this thread in AT&T's official forums.

And for more information regarding International plans be sure to check out the plans available here. Mike and all of us here at TiPb really want you to be aware of AT&T's policy. So before you leave the country, if you have any questions be sure to call and ask a service rep! It may just save you a pretty penny... or two...

Thanks for the tip Mike!

Jeremy

Community editor. Tech enthusiast. All-around geek.

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There are 6 comments. Add yours.

Ryan says:

As much as it sucks, this isn't an AT&T policy. This is an industry standard for roaming data, voice calls and long distance. It can take up to 90 days for other carriers to report usage to your selected provider, which means it can take up to 90 days for your charges to appear.
I recently added international calling to my iPhone and the AT&T rep reminded me to leave it in place for 3 months after I a finished making international calls. I'm sorry that didn't happen here.

Sean Peters says:

Hmm. I was in sort of the same situation, but when I called to cancel after returning from overseas, the AT&T guy was very careful to explain that I needed to wait until the data usage actually showed up on my phone bill before I cancelled... or I'd get hit by these gigantic charges. I guess I was lucky to get a rep who knew what was going on.

Simon says:

A similar situation happen to me with AT&T International Plan.
I knew I was going to be traveling into Mexico so I added the International Plan with a limited amount of download. During my 1 week trip I made sure not to go over the alloted download, which was a breeze to keep track of on an iPhone. When I returned home I got a call from AT&T asking me to verify that I was out of the country. I stated "yes I was". Then they replied "OK well you have over $700+ in international fees". I was like "Hell to the NO I DON'T!". After some back and forth the charges were removed. I didn't cancel my international plan until the following month just to avoid any further hassle. It seems AT&T has some work to do in this area but I'm happy with their customer support who always seems to fix things. To bad I cant say the same for crappy Sprint!

NPD says:

That's poor programming on their systems people. Their billing software should look at the dates and charge according to the plan that was in effect when the service was used. They weren't being nice, it's likely they would be breaking the law if you took it to the FTC and complained. You don't have to pay just because their billing software is stupid.
It's an unwritten policy because it's BS, isn't a policy and probably unenforceable.
-N

tommy kearney says:

My name is Thomas Alexander Kearney and I work for a law firm that is filing a class action law suit against AT&T on behalf of iPhone users. If anyone has left the country with their iPhone after purchasing an international data plan, you might be a victim of fraud. If you would like to participate in a class action law suit against AT&T, please contact me at tkearney@ucsc.edu, or call the law firm, Ringler Kearney Alvarez LLP at (213) 473-1900, and ask for Thomas Alexander Kearney. If you have trouble reaching me through the firm, you can call my private number at (818)259-9946. You have legal rights. Thank you.
-Thomas Alexander Kearney

thomas kearney says:

My name is Thomas Alexander Kearney and I work for a law firm that has filed a class action law suit against AT&T on behalf of iPhone users. If anyone has left the country with their iPhone after purchasing an international data plan, you might be a victim of fraud. If you would like to participate in a class action law suit against AT&T, please contact me at ttomk40@gmail.com, or call the law firm, Ringler Kearney Alvarez LLP at (213) 473-1900, and ask for Thomas Alexander Kearney. If you have trouble reaching me through the firm, you can call my private number at (818)259-9946. You have legal rights. Thank you.
-Thomas Alexander Kearney