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Readers Respond: Tell Your iPhone Roaming Horror Story

Responses: 61


Fight back - part 1

I had similar case and successfully disputed the charges. Here's a few tips on how I did it: 1) Create a clear, clean, point form list with the following information: - Account name & number - Plan type - Plan inclusions - Plan extra's (data packs etc) - disputed amount (in dollars and mb/gb or whatever it is) 2) Gather up all your documents to support the above list i.e original contract, the actual bill etc 3) On another sheet of paper write down exactly why you are disputing it (I dont have the money, I cant pay, its ridiculous etc are NOT acceptable reasons). Acceptable reasons include incorrect charges, misleading information or advice etc. 4) Write down your plan of attack, e.g email customer service if that fails contact consumer affairs/protection if that fails seek legal advice. 5) Type up a draft email. Include all relevant account details, the disputed amount, the reasons why you are disputing and what resolution you seek
—Guest guest

iphone horror

I recently was given an iphone second hand. I could not not get my vodafone sim to work so tried using my sim from my company mb - which worked - unfortunately. I thankfully was the one who opened the bill which came to the Office and nearly threw up when I saw Telstra had charged $5,000!!!!! to my business mb number on the bill for not even making a call but as my phone was switched on and roaming (I had no idea) it clocked this up in 5hrs!!!! I am dead meat when my boss see's this, a single mother, and is probably worth losing my job over!
—Guest Rachel

iphone roaming is basically a scam T.T

I have a softbank (Japanese) iphone, and during my week's stay in America, I got a text message from Softbank on the fifth day stating that I had exceeded $300 this month. I'm not going home for another 2 weeks, but if it hadn't been for that notification, the bill would have probably exceeded $1000. The only warning I had ever gotten for such a crazy bill was at the Softbank store when I had bought the iphone, but the attendant had only briefly mentioned something about turning data roaming off overseas. I wish they would send a notification as soon as "roaming" began, instead of one after $300 wasted dollars.
—Guest mai

Highway robbery

I came home to a phone bill of $1400, of which $666 was data roaming. What I can't understand is why the damned phone passively downloads data when it is in standby in my pocket, even if the phone's data roaming is on. I don't recall seeing anywhere a disclaimer saying this. Telstra don't care that I have racked up such a huge bill and they never warned me of the constant access at $15/mb. They did tell me though that they see this all the time with iPhones. Wouldn't they perhaps warn customers of this? Hmm perhaps it's too lucrative to tell everyone before a holiday.....
—Guest David P

Roaming in the US is a rip-off too

Came back from a trip in the US to a $1,200 Three mobile bill. I Guess AT&T (the us carrier) like to rip off international guests as much as any other carrier. This is a global issue and mobile companies want you to slip up. They are laughing all the way to the bank.
—Guest Andrew

Watch out!

I just spent two hours with ATT tech help and they kept insisting that I must have had data turned on if emails were downloaded. I am in France and have a data plan but have data roaming turned off. But one of the writers here answered my question: if you have a data plan, with data roaming turned off, when you turn your phone on-off-on again, data roaming is automatically turned on. That's what happened to me --- despite several calls to ATT no one warned me about that.
—Guest pianoMD

4000 aud

I rang Vodafone in transit in Singapore to ask to be put on their data roaming cap. 2 days before I was due to leave Thailand and was about to go shopping I checked my account to find a $4000 bill. And they are giving me 6 weeks to pay it! Who has that kind of money after a holiday? I rang and offered to pay them 400 a fortnight, but apparently this is not good enough and they expect me to pay my entire salary for the next 6 weeks. As if that's gonna happen. Only, now I'm worried about my credit rating I am going to have to take out a loan (I only just finished paying one off) so that they don't send me to the debt collectors.
—Guest Ness

USD $4614 Bill!!!

I just got hit with a USD $4614 bill from GTA in Guam after being in the Philippines for 4 weeks. In that time I had maybe 3 text based emails per day and uploaded a couple of photos to Facebook when I proposed to my Fiancee in Hong Kong. This is outrageous and I'm seeking a lawyer to file an anti-trust lawsuit. Unlike AT&T, GTA does not offer international roaming plans and refused to unlock the phone for international travel which is the only travel possible from Guam. I am not paying this outrageous bill and hope they come to the party in a closed door meeting with them. Total anti-trust stuff here...
—Guest StungByGTAGuam


My husband BARELY used his iphone and we got a $3163 bill upon our return from a one week trip to the Dominican Republic. He had just gotten it, not a clue as to how to use it and we feel RAPED. I put it in dispute on my credit card, 2 days later they shut off service, and then they charge me another $40 reactivation fee. They only offered to credit us a measly $100 so I am planning to fight in small claims. The EU passed a law March 1st which caps these fees so for the same amount of use we would have paid $200. Where is the US government on this issue!!!
—Guest Nicole Allen

AUD$2100 bill

Just returned from Europe to a $1000 bill when I hardly even used the phone. Vodaphone won't respond to my claim that this is not explained in any of their promo material or on their website. I turned the data roaming off but still it has downloaded updates for applications??? WTF How can this happpen? I consider it theft by stealth and nobody wants to accept responsibility.
—Guest D manuel

what a welcome home gift i had

i went to mexico for 15 days and had data roaming on for about, let's see, perhaps 4 days and then they cut my service off...a day later i got a call from AT&T to the surprise that they cut off my service because i had data roaming and that it was due to high usage costs. i had a $7000 bill waiting for me at home but settled the plan down to a $1000 bill. Why didn't they call me before, when they saw the phone was being used in another country? Nooo, they call once they have you in the $7000 hole. Just turn off the data roaming, disconnect yourself from the internet, instead of disconnecting yourself from food :(
—Guest mslopez

Using unlock iPhone

I have an unlock iPhone and using a local prepaid card for call. Even though I made only one call but the minutes were gone in 2 days. I found out that I should let the provider know to make the card only for calls and not data. Beside where I am now have lot of free wifi spots that I can use if I need to check mail, etc. Best of all, almost all McDonald here provide free wifi or if you are eating in a restaurant that have wifi, they will give you the code to log in.
—Guest William

$500 for almost no roaming

This is a global problem. I have a Japan iPhone with Softbank as a provider. I was in Europe for a week and _rarely_ had data roaming enabled. But still I was hit with a US $500 roaming bill. I called Softbank and they stated "just don't do data roaming." Not a useful solution since what is the point of having an iPhone if you can't use data? I strongly suggested that they come up with a better idea. Right now, they can get away with this since iPhones are typically tied to one provider.
—Guest Bryan

Shock and Awe

Yeah, I bought the biggest international data roaming package they had, and I still ended up with a $1,700 bill (!). Not a typo. One thousand Seven Hundred Dollars. And I was only abroad (in Ireland) for four (4) and a half days.... That's more than my entire trip cost. I'm trying to push back on AT&T, but seeing as they are the only carrier that supports iPhone, if I dump them, I'll end up with a very expensive iPod .... The nasty thing is that I didn't even know I had exceeded my minutes (by a huge margin) until they temporarily disabled it due to high usage. Which they could have done once I hit the limit, but chose to wait until I was on the hook for about $1,500 extra. I guess they're willing to rob you but don't want to kill you for fear that they won't be able to suck your blood later. *ssh*les ......
—Guest Booesq

AUD$2100 bill

Came back from France to a $2100 bill - Vodafone Australia don't send any usage warnings or stats or anything, just boom. I knew I was racking a bill up though. Their website also does not mention roaming rates. No carrier in AU offers a plan like AT&T or Verizon for international data roaming packs. LAME
—Guest tdftips.com


I was just hit with over a $1,300 charge and was only gone for one week. If you turn off roaming and turn off your phone, it will turn roaming on automatically on the data plan. This is outrageous. It is time for a class action against AT T.
—Guest B. Eder

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