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Old 09-17-2007, 11:14 PM   #1
stephen_s
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Default Fun, Tours and a $3,000 Bill for Hardly Using an iPhone

This is why I'll never get an iPhone no matter how low the price goes. Granted it was Mr. Dingman's fault, but...

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Quote:
When Neil Dingman recently went on a European vacation, he took his iPhone with him with no intention of using it much. In fact, for the 14 days he was there, he used it only a handful of times and had expected to see just a small increase in his next bill for roaming charges.

Instead, he was charged $852.31.
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/10/te...c9182d&ei=5070
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Old 09-18-2007, 07:47 AM   #2
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Stephen, on this one I have to disagree.

I don't have an iPhone. I find it's way too expensive for what you get, on over-priced iPod (Poor business e-mail and PIM connectivity. Bad audio quality on phone calls. Tons of "GSM buzz" on nearby speakers. The phone is a fingerprint magnet which makes it hard to see anything on it.)

I do have a Treo, so I have a variety of messaging and Internet capabilities, beyond phone calls, such as Email, Web Browsing, Text Messaging, Instant Messaging, etc.

I am aware of the cost of using the phone outside the US. This is where AT&T and Verizon for that matter are at fault, in my opinion. With these new phones, they haven't been proactive in explaining what can happen with these phones, with regard to your bill when you're out of the US, nor have they explained to their users what features to disable, when you're out of the US, to ensure you're not met with an enormous bill the following month.

AT&T and Verizon would say all that's the user's responsibility. It is to some degree, except that frankly, for most people, they don't, or for that matter, can't understand all the ins and outs of the phone bill as the cell phone service providers have made the service unduly complicated. Even some of their own employees are incapable of understanding it.

Here's an example of that. I got my first bill on the Treo, and checked out the service feature list I was being charged on. It was a list of 19 features. I was astounded. I mean, I had a phone with 2000 minutes of phone calls, unlimited data (Internet), and 1000 text messages. That sounded like 3 features to me. Then I got the phone activated for international calling. When my next bill came the feature list jumped to over 40 features on the bill.

How is anyone expected to understand? Well I got a terrific supervisor from AT&T, and did figure it out.

The cell phone providers need to give their own people better training. They have to spell out the features simply and directly, and they've got to do the same, for domestic and international usage of the phone, if they're going to charge extra for international. And users must ask questions to ensure they understand what they've purchased. I think it's that simple.

So, having said all the above Stephen, I'm a heavy business user of my phone, getting lots of calls, email and messages all day from clients and business associates. My phone's feature set (more extensive than the iPhone) is invaluable to me. A low end feature set may be find for many, and if it is, that's what people should get, but many of us productively use all those other features. I'll be using my messaging in Europe next month, and later in South America (sometimes there anyway, as the service there is iffy). I think users can work out the details. It just takes some effort.
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Old 09-18-2007, 08:01 AM   #3
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The problem here is the phone's defaults are set to $$$. The customer, esp nontechnical ones, should not have to jump through hoops to keep the danged thing from making its own calls every 10 minutes. (Esp since previous defaults for international service have always been set to off.)
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Old 09-18-2007, 08:03 AM   #4
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Ned, the reason why I say it's Mr. Dingman's is at fault is he should have known his iPhone was programmed to check for e-mail every so often. He programmed his iPhone with his e-mail address, so he may have some idea on how to program it.

Granted, like Kairho says, he may not be technical, but Dingman should have also read the manual. I know that when I got my phone I read the manual cover to cover to find out the available features.

Last edited by stephen_s; 09-18-2007 at 08:07 AM.
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Old 09-18-2007, 08:18 AM   #5
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Well, there ya go.
Quote:
I know that when I got my phone I read the manual cover to cover to find out the available features.
Read a 200 page manual for a cell phone? And that's a simple one! I can't even imagine the manual for the iPhone.
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Old 09-18-2007, 08:28 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weblet View Post
Well, there ya go.

Read a 200 page manual for a cell phone? And that's a simple one! I can't even imagine the manual for the iPhone.
That's good advice, assuming you have a clue what your cell phone manual is trying to tell you.

I use an alternate service called a T.A.N. to make sure I'm utilizing my cell phone correctly.

When I need to figure out how to make the phone do something, I present it to the T.A.N. (Teen Age Nephew) and he makes it happen while I watch. I find that far more efficient than reading the complicated 200 page manual. I think T.A.N.s are born with the manual preprogrammed in their brains.
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Old 09-18-2007, 08:45 AM   #7
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I wish I had access to T.A.N.! Then maybe I could figure out why my phone mysteriously changed it's ring tone to sound like a European ambulance!!!! (Not as funny as it sounds - I forgot to turn it off while working at the Holocaust Museum last Saturday and it rang!!!! LOUD!!!! Thank goodness there were no Survivors around right then - they get very nervous when they hear that tone.)
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Old 09-18-2007, 08:52 AM   #8
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I agree that he should have known, but I think most people haven't any idea of the charges you can incur when using your phone out of the country, especially data. It's also very hard to find out anything about international charges on either AT&T's or Verizon's site.

My bill is the same every month; no roaming, no extra minutes, no data charges. It's all built in. This lolls you into forgetting about disabling that automatic email retrieval.

I think with the use of all this data, and the essential elimination of roaming charges for most users in the US, the providers must do a better job reminding people. I think that's why they have forgiven all those charges for so many customers.

By the way, I don't know about the iPhone, but on my Treo I have to go through several screens to turn off automatic email retrieval.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stephen_s View Post
Ned, the reason why I say it's Mr. Dingman's is at fault is he should have known his iPhone was programmed to check for e-mail every so often. He programmed his iPhone with his e-mail address, so he may have some idea on how to program it.

Granted, like Kairho says, he may not be technical, but Dingman should have also read the manual. I know that when I got my phone I read the manual cover to cover to find out the available features.
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Old 09-18-2007, 08:56 AM   #9
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Thanks for the reminder to set up my phone for England..

True story...

For my current assignment we are moving data for professionals from one system to another. I worked with this nice older gentleman for quite a while, but he just couldn't get the information out of his old system for me to load.

Finally, in a fit of desperation, I asked if he had grandkids. He said yes, and I asked him to bring his 9-yr-old granddaughter into his office. That Friday, she came in, we were done in 20 minutes, and I told her that Grandpa had to take her to lunch anywhere she wanted!
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Old 09-18-2007, 09:06 AM   #10
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I think it's a combination of faults. It's partially the phone company's and partially the consumer.

I definitely agree with Ned that the phone companies should be more proactive in explaining the features of phones to consumers and also showing them exactly what they will be billed for. I went and bought a new phone in the last few months, one that has email and internet. From the time I walked into the store to the time I walked out it was less than 15 minutes, part of which was waiting for a rep to help me. Do you really think they told me everything I need to know in that time? I know enough though to go and do my own research, but most people don't.

On the flip side, a lot of consumers stick their head in the sand. They don't think, hey I'm going out of the country I might get roaming charges. Or that the internet access that I pay extra for at home is even more expensive abroad. Or people that think that their mobile to mobile access will still be free when they are in Paris. Or parents that let their kids bring their cell phones with them on trips and don't bother to tell them that their texting and/or calling their boyfriend will be much more expensive at home and isn't allowed. People just don't even let these things cross their minds. Then when they get back they get the bill and act like it's everybody else's fault but theirs. Yes, a lot of this information is hard to come by. But, for example, on AT&Ts website they have a tool that can show you where they have coverage internationally including on cruiseships. They also have a link that shows what the international roaming charges might be. All it takes is going to the AT&T wireless page and clicking on the international link.
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