You’re Being Charged for AT&T Data Even While Connected to Your Own Wifi
I’ve been an AT&T customer for roughly ten years and on an iPhone user for the last six. I’ve probably been hit with overages more months than not.
Like most, I pay for a home internet connection in addition to my $100+ monthly iPhone bill. I’d come home, wait for the 4G to turn into that upside-down party hat, and start streaming away. I’d be chromecasting pandora while uploading Vines and thinking those blinking lights on my router were doing all the work. After six years of paying overage fees, I realized that’s not true.
Recently I’ve been working from home. When I got hit with my normal data overages last month, I started to wonder… there’s no way I’m using 4GB of data during my daily walks to Yogurtland. I’m connected to my paid wifi network for 90% of my day, but still getting hit with penalties at 2x my data plan. I contacted AT&T.
Chatting with the company, I realized AT&T uses my data plan even while connected to my own wifi.
Come to find out, the only way to avoid this is to manually turn off and on your “cellular data” every time you walk through your front door and then do the opposite when leaving your wifi range. Seriously – To avoid AT&T data charges, this is what you have to do multiple times per day.
Maybe I’m the only dumbass that didn’t realize this. If so, I apologize for being a dumbass. But, I’m guessing that there’s a bunch of people out there paying overages for this reason.
The extra $10 or $20 per month isn’t that big of a deal. But, the sneaky way that they’re squeezing this out of me has me considering other providers. In what I’m interpreting as an admission of guilt, the AT&T rep actually credited my account for my last overages because I wasn’t aware of this practice (see below). If you weren’t aware of it either, maybe you should give Rana a holler and get your account credited as well.
Here’s the conversation.
Thank you for your patience! Your AT&T Representative will be with you shortly.
Welcome! You are now chatting with ‘Rana Collins’
Mike: Hi Rana
Mike: Quick question about my data usage
Rana Collins: Hi Mike!
Mike: When I’m connected to my home wifi, is it using my data plan?
Rana Collins: It’s a pleasure to have you on the chat today. I’ll be glad to help you out with the data usage.
Rana Collins: Did you turn off the cellular data every time you hook your device to wifi?
Mike: No, I always assumed it automatically uses my wifi when connected to my wifi to support data. Is that not the case?
Rana Collins: Please make sure that the cellular data is turned off so it will not consume the data and for you to save battery as well.
Mike: So that’s something that I have to manually do every time I get home and want to use wifi… even though it automatically connects to my home network?
Rana Collins: You’re absolutely correct, Mike.
Mike: Is there no setting that I can use to have it only rely on wifi when I’m connected to wifi? It seems like a huge inconvenience to have to open up my settings and toggle that every time I step foot in and out of my door.
Rana Collins: Let me take a deep dive on that.
Rana Collins: Kindly stay online Mike.
Mike: Thanks Rana! Take your time.
Rana Collins: 🙂
Rana Collins: Mike, thank you for waiting.
Mike: no prob
Rana Collins: Sorry for the delay.
Rana Collins: I reviewed the settings of your phone and looks like you really need to manually turn off the data.
Mike: That explains my overages, haha.
Mike: Ok – I guess I’ll do that until I figure out a better way.
Mike: Thanks for your help, Rana!
Rana Collins: I understand that your not aware of that Mike.
Rana Collins: I really want to resolve your concern
Rana Collins: Let me check what we can do about those overages.
Mike: Thanks so much!
Rana Collins: You’re welcome! 🙂
Rana Collins: Mike, thank you for staying online.
Rana Collins: Sorry for the delay.
Mike: no prob!
Rana Collins: We can definitely take care of the overages.
Mike: That’s great – I appreciate it.
Rana Collins: You’re welcome!
Mike: You’ve been very helpful. Have a great day, Rana.
Next time you curl up with your iPad for a hungover “Bearing Sea Gold” marathon, make sure your “Cellular Data” is off.
UPDATE – June 22, 2015: AT&T just got hit with a $100 Million fine for scamming its users. According to the ruling, AT&T has been “throttling” your data, even if you’ve paid for the unlimited package. In a typical 30-day billing cycle, this practice would start on Day 13. At that point, they’d cut off the data you’d already paid for. While this isn’t directly related to the above post, it does show that shithead companies do shithead things. For those below who have commented saying something similar to, “AT&T would never scam their customers and it’s the fault of you lazy, complaining, ignorant customers, words, words…” please take note of the judge’s decision. For details on the AT&T Scam and Fine, click here.