San Jose family billed $13,470 by T-Mobile for half-hour of iPhone internet
The news on this case is at abc7news, and written brief and note to follow.
– Mrs Chung, a San Jose family that's been going to Vietnam for decades for family reunion
– They knew how to avoid roaming and internet charges. So, they claimed to have used Airplane Mode to avoid data roaming.
– Once back to San Jose, T-mobile sent them a bill of $13,470 charge for around 30-minute data roaming while flying over to Vietnam.
– The family claimed:
+ Phone was in airplane mode for entire trip so it cannot access Internet
+ Nicolas, the son, played games in offline mode on his phone during the flight
– With T-Mobile:
+ First attempt: T-mobile said Nicolas should have downloaded movie, app, or something else. Nicolas reported not to do so. Billed is reduced to $3,800. Mrs Chung's still found it unfair.
+ Second attempt: Mrs chung's, with support from 7 On Your Side, questioned T-mobile and T-mobile did not provide proper evidence. The bill was void.
b) Ambiguous things to look:
– Mrs Chung's family claim: if the phone is in airplane mode as reported, it does surely not access to mobile/wifi communication unless the function is disorder.
– There are applications running in background that phone user usually give permission for it to access call/data/internet. Thus, whenever the data mode is on, such applications can auto access to internet, usually for application updates.
– If the phone is used on plane, it should not have data access in the air. And, if they are flying over to Vietnam, the charger cannot be Viettel, a Vietnamese operator.
– T-Mobile finally skipped the payment. It may be because the charge is not totally correct due to disconsistency between systems of two non-connected international carriers. Technically, carriers can track to every phone number access any resources in their system.
Mrs Chung's are lucky to have the charge waived finally, but we may not. Disregard to any dispute, here are what we should pay attention to avoid such circumstance:
1. Make sure the data (roaming) is disable
– iOS: Setting >> Cellular >> Cellular Data: OFF
– Android: Setting >> Data usage >> Mobile data: UNCHECK
2. Make sure the airplane mode / disable data (roaming) works
– Try to test by accessing a site (e.g: bbc.com) from web-browser
3. Manually turn-off auto-update function of applications
– Android: Google Play >> hamburger icon (three horizontal lines) on the top-left >> Settings >> Auto-update apps.: select Do not auto-update apps.
– iOS: Settings >> iTunes & App Store >> Updates: UNCHECK
Another recommendation to consider: use 4G Carry Wifi rental When both wifi and data (roaming) are enable, the phone will automatically connect to wifi. Thus, a 4G Carry Wifi can help to avoid absent minded cases like this. Please make sure to turn on the wifi device as well.