crazy yet legal AT&T billing practice
I recently complained to both AT&T and the FCC with regards to being billed two minutes for calls significantly less than 1 minute (37 seconds, 32 seconds, 58 seconds), and the response I received from an AT&T response team member was:
In reviewing the terms of service, I found that it states the following: "("CHARGEABLE TIME") IS BILLED IN FULL-MINUTE INCREMENTS, AND ACTUAL AIRTIME AND USAGE ARE ROUNDED UP TO THE NEXT FULL-MINUTE INCREMENT AT THE END OF EACH CALL FOR BILLING PURPOSES. AT&T CHARGES A FULL MINUTE OF AIRTIME USAGE FOR EVERY FRACTION OF THE LAST MINUTE OF AIRTIME USED ON EACH WIRELESS CALL." Therefore, if a call starts at 6:42 and ends at 6:43, the portion of the call which took place during 6:42 will be rounded up to a full minute and the portion of the call which took place during 6:43 will also be rounded up to a full minute.
In other words, calls as short as 2-4 seconds that fall on either side of a change of time can be billed a full 120 seconds. Is it me, or does this sound absolutely ridiculous (whether it is written into the contract or not), and why isn't there any movement to stop this?
- 11-16-2009, 11:42 AM #2
- 11-16-2009, 12:12 PM #3
That's pretty much always been the case for all telephony providers, including landlines back when we paid for l/d by the minute. You will be disappointed to discover that the billable time starts when you finish dialing and before the other party picks up.
- 11-16-2009, 12:24 PM #4
I have to say that I've not ever recalled being charged two minutes for calls of less than 60 seconds duration in the past, so I am not necessarily convinced that this type of billing practice has always been the practice of all phone companies. Beyond claims of this, is there evidence to support the statement that this is usual practice? I've been with Verizon and Sprint in the past, and do not remember this happening. Certainly I have been hit with two minute charges for call durations as short as 61 or 62 seconds, but to be hit with a two minute charge for a call of half a minute just because it falls on two sides of a time change is something I've never heard of.
- 11-16-2009, 01:26 PM #6
- 11-16-2009, 07:28 PM #7
For AT&T to be so damn greedy you would think they would have more coverage than what their pathetic company has.
I have not had bad coverage here
But in the next month or so I will be traveling
And I keep hearing ( a cs rep told me also) at&t wireless has the most consumers out of all of the cell phone providers(i believe the number he told me was 78 million) & i find that to be hard to believe
- 11-16-2009, 08:23 PM #8
I misread the scenario earlier. I certainly don't agree with paying for two minutes when it's under one minute. I didn't realize AT&T did that. But, then again, we have around 8,000 rollover minutes that we'll never use so I don't really pay attention.
- 11-17-2009, 10:39 PM #9
- 11-22-2009, 01:40 PM #10
I've always known that if your call lasts more than 60 seconds you'll be charged for the next minute. The way I understood it was they can't charge you for fractions of minutes. This is kind of interesting. I'm with Sprint though, so I really don't need to worry about that....Any Mobile, Anytime, Nights and Weekends starting at 7pm. The only minutes that come out of my bucket are when I called landlines between 6am and 7pm.
- 11-22-2009, 06:15 PM #11
This is why I posted a question in the Apps section for software that beeps at the 50 second mark so I know when another minute is almost up.
A) I spoke with a rep who explained that a call of 2 seconds could be billed 2 minutes if it fell on either side of the change in time.....this was also confirmed by my billing statements which showed that I was charged 2 minutes for calls less than 40 seconds.
B) If you read the text "Therefore, if a call starts at 6:42 and ends at 6:43, the portion of the call which took place during 6:42 will be rounded up to a full minute and the portion of the call which took place during 6:43 will also be rounded up to a full minute," it also confirms what I wrote.
I don't believe I have it wrong, but thank you.
- 11-24-2009, 01:10 PM #13
Therefore, if a call starts at 6:42 and ends at 6:43, the portion of the call which took place during 6:42 will be rounded up to a full minute and the portion of the call which took place during 6:43 will also be rounded up to a full minute.
Beyond this, I have also discuss this with a rep AND corroborated this with my bill. My bill, is in fact, how this got started. What is with everyone? Do you guys really think I am dreaming up the conversation and the bill?
- 11-24-2009, 03:19 PM #15
- 11-25-2009, 09:07 PM #16
- 11-26-2009, 05:25 AM #17
I don't think you're dreaming up this topic, cause it wouldn't surprise me that the phone company wants to maximize their profits, and I guess that's one way to do it. What does surprise me is that you would spend time complaining about a one minute round up policy if that is their policy. I have so many rollover minutes accumulated that I don't think I'll ever be able to use them up anyway.
Do you also file a complaint with the city's parking agency when you throw a quarter in the meter for each 15 minute interval, but end up only using the spot for 10 minutes, and hence, want a refund for the difference to make up for the actual time you spent parking there? If you are that concerned about the extra minute or two that you are being charged according to their policy, you could simply synch your phone with your carrier's official time and then make your 40 second calls right after a minute rolls over, so you only get charged 1 minute, and that way, you'd feel almost whole because the phone company only screwed you for charging you 20 seconds over your "actual" usage.
Last edited by iBoxtaboy; 11-26-2009 at 05:40 AM.
- 12-01-2009, 05:53 PM #18iPhone Newbie
- 33 Posts
I can't remember the last time I payed attention to my minutes.
Between free nights and weekends, free mobile to mobile, and roll over minutes I haven't come close to my minutes in a long time. With the addition of unlimited text and email, I rarely even use my phone.
They could charge me ten minutes for a one minute call and it wouldn't matter. Is it a practice they should do? No. Is it something that's really worth fighting? Nope.
- 12-01-2009, 06:46 PM #19
- 12-02-2009, 11:33 AM #20