Friday, August 14, 2009

How Much?

Well, I was waiting for the first thing to go wrong, (she says in true Pollyanna fashion) and it's a doozy, as they say.

Got a text yesterday from the nice folks at AT&T, my wireless phone company, informing me that "due to a high incidence of international data access" my service had been suspended both here and in the US. Don't you hate it when they do that?

My Visa people did is back in February, just after I had paid for our upcoming holiday. Apparently, because they weren't used to such a large amount being charged to my card (see- I told you I'm not a shopper), they simply suspended it. Didn't bother telling me until I tried to use it to fill the car up. Oh no. That would make far too much sense. Just wait till I have five people behind me and a smart arse cashier all smirking at me, why don't you?

Anyway, yet again I was mildly irritated at the suspension. Why can't they just text me or phone me to ask what's going on instead of taking it upon themselves to decide that a globe-trotting phone thief is making merry with my account? So I rang them up, and told them that since I was in England, yes, there would be a "high incidence" of international usage.

What I failed to appreciate was the emphasis on the phrase "data access". Apparently my plan doesn't cover e-mail access outside of the US. Since this is the first time I've ever had a phone that could "pull data" on an hourly basis, (or all the time if you want it to), we simply didn't think to make the necessary changes to our calling plan. I'm generously saying "we" although it's the Ball & Chain who fiddles around with all that stuff, so technically it's his fault.

Why all the fuss, you might ask. Well, as of yesterday, I have apparently run up a $900 bill.

Yes, that's right. Upwards of 450 quid that would be.


I immediately phoned the B&C who I think, has managed to sort it out. Apparently we can retro-actively buy into the appropriate plan for $100 and it will cover the 50 mega somethings that I've unwittingly already used. Still daylight robbery in my opinion, but a lot easier to live with than the aforementioned $900 wouldn't you say?



  1. I'm with you on this - mostly. My Visa account is a total pain - always being stopped for no apparent reason. But when my card was cloned they were really good about it.

  2. Our company recently merged with another company and no one told us of said merger until the bill added up to...well, not 450 quid, but damn near...and MY ball and chain called them and gave them what for and now all is well with our world...but damn the inconvenience!
    Having fun in the UK I hope...wishing I were with you!

  3. Oh dear, but at least you are finding a way around it! I just got a bill for 500 sterling for my daughter's cell phone and there is no way out except to let it outstand and then negotiate installments! Have a great time!

  4. Phew! Glad B&C could sort it out for you and you won't have to pay that extortionate amount.
    hope you are enjoying your holiday apart from that shock!

  5. It would be far too nice of them and far too convenient for everybody if they texted you and told you to take advantage of the email service wouldn't it? They did the same to me when I went home last year. They also forgot to switch on my sim card, even though I asked the dimwit in the shop 5 times to make sure she'd activated it. Muppets.

  6. Wow! That stinks! My twin sister is a missionary in Africa and I had to call her Visa once for her since they had frozen it. I had to be her and explain that I was in Africa and that the charges made on it were okay! Luckily it worked out and was able to use her card again. Now she usually calls when she is set to go back to Africa to let them know she will be making purchases overseas.

  7. Oh. My. God. $900!!! Glad I don't fiddle with all that newfangled technology ;)

    That said, MasterCard used to routinely shut down my card when I made any overseas purchase. And you don't need to be an expat to buy things from overseas!

  8. I am dreading my mobile phone bill since using it in the UK. I have all the right plans and data access and all that good stuff. Still. I know I will need to sit down, have a stiff drink and get the smelling salts ready for when it finally arrives. Of course, i could just access the bill online right now. This instant. As I type. But I won't. Avoidance is by far the best policy. And if I manage to outdo you on the $900 bill, you will be the first to know. My obituary will read heart attack. But you and I know it will be murder in the first degree courtesy of T Mobile.

  9. OMG! Knowing what mobile phone companies are like we rang Vodafone before we went to Menorca and they arranged for us to have calls and texts with no roaming charges. Forewarned is forearmed! Hope you get it all sorted.

  10. ouchie. i am going to phone my cellphone company forthwith and make sure I can use myphone in europe.

  11. oh my, that is a shocker. what on earth are their charges, this can't be true, can it?

  12. At least they let you buy time retroactively. When my husband and I were long distance dating I thought I was on an international calling plan when I wasn't. The result: $600 phone bill. I called and argued with them, escalated to the highest manager they would let me talk to. Her job was just to tell me "no we're not going to reduce the bill". as a result, have vowed never to use them again when I'm in America.

  13. Yikes! My hubby had my email/internet options switched off mine the minute I got off the plane once At&T told him how much it would cost! I have to say it was kind of freeing to not be attached to my BB for a month! I could take or leave it now! Hope you got it sorted!

  14. YES !! It absolutely IS daylight robbery !

    The cell phone companies have an amazing scam going ! Complete rip off artists -

  15. Even with the international data roaming plan I managed to rack up over 300 GBP on my bill when I was in Asia/Australia but it was a known entity for me, I needed my email and had full knowledge of the charges. But they still suspended my account, thus requiring me to call them from Australia. And I had to call the Barclays people from there too, even though I had put an "International travel plans" order on the account.


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