AT&T "threatened" with high SMS usage in an attempt to get me to upgrade

in General Discussion edited January 2014
So it was New Year's Eve and thanks to iMessage, I knew I could let every one of my friends know that I wished them a Happy New Year, including those on non-iOS devices, despite the fact that I only have the $5 "entry-level" texting plan that gives me 200 messages every month. The 200, 1000, 1500, etc., messaging plans are no longer an option for those who don't already have them and are grandfathered in. It's all or nothing with AT&T as far as texting is concerned, so you can pay $20 for unlimited messaging or pay on a PPU (pay per use) basis, which can generate large bills if you start sending more than the occasional text.

After only 30 or so messages, AT&T sent me one of those automated messages claiming that I was going over my texting plan (200 SMS/MMS, video, IM), which was somewhat alarming. I don't text much to begin with, so I was definitely not anywhere near even half of my limit, which was confirmed after a quick look at my unbilled activity. This is especially true since a lot of my friends have iPhones where neither party incurs any SMS-related charges if both iOS devices are running iOS 5, which incorporates the iMessage feature.

Still, I bet the average user who doesn't visit blogger sites and forums like these (i.e. most people) will feel a little alarmed and I dare say that a significant portion of those people probably also do not know how or where to check their "unbilled usage", nor do they want to be bothered with having to think about it. This was likely also the case with the AT&T customer who sued the company for threatening to throttle his data usage. I bet he was using an unusually high amount of data one day, or over the course of a week, which is only unusual for HIS usage patterns. This is probably averaged out over a set amount of time, as was the case with the message I received from AT&T claiming that I was about to go over my messaging limit, which would have been true, but only if I had continued at the rate I was texting on that one single day.

This is at best misleading on the part of AT&T, but it is more likely a fear-mongering campaign to scare its own customers into upgrading their services and generate higher monthly bills in the process.


  • Reply 1 of 2
    Well, that's it for you, right?

    You're going to block texting to and from your device now, right?

    And just use iMessage?

    Because that's what they deserve at this point.
  • Reply 2 of 2
    Yup. Stop texting. Also, is there a state ombudsman or something you can report this behaviour to?
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