Submitted by Andrew Farago on August 18, 2009 - 00:53
I went to the AT&T store to find out why my bill was so much higher than it should have been.
First of all, I'd apparently logged on to the Internet--or attempted to--even though my phone isn't set up for that, and apparently I get charged 50 cents or so every time that happens. Step one, then, was to block my phone from doing that.
Secondly, and this was the big one, I was getting charged $20 a month from a company called FlyCell for ringtones, downloads and stuff like that. This was news to me, so the store people had me call customer service and get that straightened out. Apparently FlyCell gets your number off of the Internet (probably through Facebook), then sends you a text message. Since that's the cell phone equivalent of junk mail, I dumped the message without reading it, but the gist of the message is "We're signing you up for this service unless you tell us not to, and we'll be charging you $20 a month whether you use this service or not."
So, fortunately, AT&T has dealt with this before, so they credited me $40 and blocked me and Shaenon from getting fraudulently signed up for anything like that again.
Given how this resolved itself, I wonder how many people just end up paying these fees every month without reading their bills, how much money companies like FlyCell get through sheer apathy, and how companies like that manage to not get sued out of existence for their shady business practices.
Anyway, we'll stick with our cell phone plan for now, and AT&T has won a few good-faith points by squaring all of that away for us.