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Thread: Mobile phone excess data charge - I'm in big trouble

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    Angry Mobile phone excess data charge - I'm in big trouble

    I talked my other half into me getting a "smartphone" a few months ago, he was nervous about the horror stories of massive bills etc. I had downloaded 3G watchdog and was tracking my usage daily, connecting to WIFI when at home. Well on Wednesday night, I had to switch off WIFI (it conflicts with my non-WIFI PC, thats a different issue) and forgot to turn it back on when I went to bed. Not to worry one might think, I wasn't doing anything on the phone so shouldn't use much data.

    I wake in the morning to find the phone has used >1GB of data overnight, I have no idea doing what. I could not see any large files, wasn't dowloading anything, nor looking at you tube etc. I had been browsing facebook, a few web pages incl Flickr and possibly Ausphotography, but even so 1GB is massive.

    Virgin have to worst excess data charges of all........my bill stands at $2253 I received an SMS from them while I was in shock at the phone to tell me my account was suspended as I had reached my credit limit. Phonecalls to Virgin so far haven't got me anywhere, I have got the query passed to Customer Services in Sydney who are due to call me back within 72H. It is so stressful waiting, I feel quite sick. Added to this my partner is FURIOUS as he warned me, and turns out there is a check button on the 3G app that had it been turned on, would have stopped data when I reached my limit. I feel such an idiot.

    Anyway, will update as I hear from Virgin, but just wanted to put the warning out there that THIS COULD HAPPEN TO YOU. Please check your settings and make sure you have something that will kill all running apps on your phone should data limits be reached.

    If I dont receive a positive outcome from Virgin (I'm not confident) I will raise a complaint with the TIO.

    Has anyone had a similar experience?
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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Some Apps, Like facebook etc, have built within them a 15 minute 'update'. What this means, is that even if you are not using it, the FB App will check for new messages etc, every 15 mins.

    If this phone is an android one, download Juice Defender Ultimate, whilst its primary role is as a battery use reducer, it has some seriously good features, like turning off 3G (you can still receive phone calls etc) when the phone is idle, setting up 'night mode' so that between say midnight and 6.00 am (you set the times) the phone will not access 3G at all, unless you force it to.

    It takes a bit of tweaking to get the App to where you want it, but it is seriously good.
    Last edited by ricktas; 11-11-2011 at 1:42pm.
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    Oh dear - I sincerely hope you get it sorted out asap! It makes the $300 charge for over download my son rang up for me pale in comparison!
    Lloyd
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    Ausphotography Regular rellik666's Avatar
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    Blimey! I use my phone loads for browsing, I do have wifi at home and work, but use it out and about quite a lot and haven't used 1gb of data! And those charges seem really excessive!

    Interesting app there Rick, shame it is for android. Anyone know of a similar one for iphone?

    Good luck getting it sorted, I know that phone companies are notorious for customer service or lack of it.
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    Ausphotography Regular agb's Avatar
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    So sorry to hear that. There seem to be so many instances of excess bill that I am glad that I am an old fogie and have a phone which is a phone and nothing else.
    I hope that you can find out what has been happening and perhaps have some reduction in the amount charged. On the face of it it seems unreasonable that a phone can be downloading stuff and costing you money when you are not actively setting it to do so.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rellik666 View Post
    Blimey! I use my phone loads for browsing, I do have wifi at home and work, but use it out and about quite a lot and haven't used 1gb of data! And those charges seem really excessive!
    Same here - in the two years I've had my iPhone I've never gone close to reaching my quota. I have wifi at home, but the phone's on 3G all day when I'm at work and on weekends when I'm out. It sounds as though something's not right. I hope you get it sorted OK.
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    My boss's boss was telling me the other day that she was on holiday on some obscure Island, and her grandson asked if he could play a game on her phone. Without thinking about Roaming Data, she agreed to it, and even let him download a new game, and came home to a $480 dollar bill when she's never gone over her $29 cap ever. But yours makes hers look really minor. 1gb overnight is an extraordinary amount for a phone not in use to be pulling down. It would just about have to have been pulling something down the whole time to clock that up. Might be worth checking also that your phone isn't being accessed remotely by someone/something.
    I left my iPhone set to Internet Tethering once by accident (it basically makes the phone into a means for your laptop to connect to the internet without having to get a dongle or other device) when I'd used it to give my laptop internet access while I was out and about, and when I got home, spent the night doing all my usual stuff on here, and other forums, and facebooking, etc, and only found out when I got out my phone to send an SMS, that the whole night all the stuff I'd done on my laptop had been done via my mobile phone data plan instead of via my home wireless data plan. It was a tight month the rest of the month to get through without going over my data limit on the phone.
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    Oh, and get yourself onto a useful sized data plan now you have a smart phone. It's easy to use data without even trying once your phone is able to do so.
    They don't have to be expensive, but if you're not on one, they're stupidly priced. My Telstra one gives me 1gig as part of the standard phone plan I'm on, and that's more than enough for most months.
    Good luck with it. I hope someone at your phone provider has some common sense and gets it sorted out for you.

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    Thanks for the comments everyone.
    It is certainly a big lesson learnt whatever the outcome.... for that I am still waiting. I think they make you wait so long so that you get really stressed and then agree to any discount off the ridiculous bill that they offer. Well I'm really stressed anyway

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    Member Tommo1965's Avatar
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    dont pay the bill, do not even attempt to pay it..a friends daughter did the same thing...they didn't pay the bill and it was wiped ...you will be ok on this..so try not to worry too much..also turn off all push notification

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Milbs1 View Post

    ...If I dont receive a positive outcome from Virgin (I'm not confident) I will raise a complaint with the TIO.

    Has anyone had a similar experience?...
    I don't see that anyone has the right to charge you like that. Wouldn't they have been alerted? Big deal about the SMS after the fact - that's just poor!

    Check out your contract for any leeway, and about the TIO, state what happened and what you expect to get as an outcome. Have a clear outcome in mind and stick to it. I think you'll get a fair way with the TIO. I had to once, but for much less money, and it was exactly what I was after, a full refund.

    Best wishes.
    Last edited by ameerat42; 11-11-2011 at 4:41pm.
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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    $2253.00 buys an excellent lens ( or 2 or 3 ).

    I reckon in the 12 odd years that I have had a mobile my total spend on phones and calls over that time would probably only be a little more than your single bill.

    Yeah, I know I am backward.
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    Well Virgin "Customer Services" still have not rung, their representative abroad tells me they dont work the weekend and so it will be Monday...... I think that is really poor form, leaving this hanging over the weekend. A crap weekend it will be for me, and then IF they call on Monday I will have to deal with it at work..... I am not a happy girl, my joy at being a finalist in Photo5 has been well and truly overshadowed

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    How'd you go with this?

    I've just switched from an ordinary old Nokia to and Android Samsung Galaxy SII last week and your tale has just spooked me a little.
    Last edited by Paul G; 27-11-2011 at 3:57pm.
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    Well the outcome was that I negotiated a significantly lower charge of $200. Still not happy, but decided that stress of fighting the charge all together was not worth it. I now have 3G switched off on the phone, and only switch it on to do something specific and then switch it straight off. On top of this I have installed a traffic monitor app and I'm much more cautious about what I am doing. I still use the WIFI when available.

    I am angry that they are allowed to get away with this, given that they can have up-to-date charging for prepaid customers but are up to 48h delayed for postpaid, it stinks of a scam to trap customers.

    Hey-ho, we live and learn!!!!!!

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    Is your phone iPhone or Android? How do you turn off 3G?
    Last edited by Paul G; 27-11-2011 at 4:48pm.

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    Did you manage to find out what apps were causing the issue? Facebook etc won't churn anywhere near a gig overnight, nomally the only large files are updates for applications 9I've seen a few xxx mb updates come through for some of my apps. If you got hit with a load of them overnight they could cause it. Failing that it could be that you left the browser running in the background. On mot android phones when you exit back to the main screen the application itself doesn't actually close, if you left it on youtube or similar that could cause it? I have downloaded a task killer which makes sure that all programs are fully shut down, I also turn off the data network overnight usually.

    Glad to hear they relented a little on your bill at least!
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    Some is defentally not right there. I never turn off my 3G, and never turn off my Phone (LG Andriod) I run multiple email accounts, facebook (1hr updates) and about 70 other apps. I have a 1Gb data limit on a $29 plan, which I realy exceed (only when I watch a lot of youtube).

    I would demand a fully detailed data usage report to find out excatly when and if possable what took you over.

    It is possable (I have head similar from friends that had telstra accounts) that there is backgroud new/weather and other useless information that is pre install (that you did not necessarlly agree to) apps running that have the tendance to syphon of your data usage, regardless how carfull the unsupecting customer is.

    You can alway take up the issue with the consumer watchdogs.

    Good luck in getting a fair responce from virgin.
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    If you own your own Phone , Check these guys out , We just set up our 14yr on the $40 plan : http://www.amaysim.com.au/?cid=gsems
    Last edited by William; 27-11-2011 at 5:16pm.
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    Virgin were apparently unable to tell me what application used the data, only when it was used which was essentially overnight in 4hrly blocks.
    I have an android (HTC Incredible S) and it is very difficult to know what is running in the background.....I now have a task manager application which helps with this.

    To turn off 3G I go to "settings' "wireless and networks" and "mobile network".......

    I have no idea what caused the usage, nor am I likely to know. At a guess I would say it must have been something with video but my internet history didnt show you-tube or anything, I had been using AP, Flickr and facebook. Also, possibly Canon Photo5 (which does have a video).

    Thanks for the support, be aware that it is not just "idiots" that get caught out!!!!!

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