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Old November 8th, 2011, 03:00 PM
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Paul Motter Paul Motter is offline
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Default Interesting experience regarding Cruise Ship data charges

I just got home from my Seabourn cruise to find a cellphone bill that says I downloaded 22 megabytes of data during the cruise.

BE ADVISED - I am not sure what the data was, but I think it was a picture of our dogs that was sent to me by text message. I opened it three times. Now, I am not sure of this because it really doesn't make sense time wise... one time was at 8:30 at night (I would have been at dinner) and the other two times were at 4:30 in the morning 4 days later.

Now, I KNOW enough to keep data roaming turned off - during a cruise. had I kept it on during the cruise you would habe seen the data going FAR FAR higher than just 22 MB during a 12-day cruise.

So, this means a text message is not considered "data" while you are on a cruise ship. AND guess what the rate is

$25 per megabyte!

That is crazy high? One picture can easily be 5 MB if it is taken on a new camera, even higher.

My verizon bill had $421 extra charges for "data" during the cruise. Okay, so I called Verizon and I asked them - I had my data roaming turned off, so what data did use during the cruise.

"We can't tell you due to an FTC privacy act." I was told. Oh! So they can charge you for data that they can't identify. Really? I was told I need to submit a subpeona if I wanted to know what tha data was. I was given an address in New Jersey.

Now - I know from just last month that if a company (like CenturyLink, nee Qwest) is doing business in AZ they need to have a local DBA address. I was able to get that from our AZ Corporation Commission. (They are very good). So, this guy telling me I needed to subpeona NJ just to find out why I was being charged $421 is basically a red herring.

Now - think about this - I can prove I had data roaming turned off, because otherwise my bill would have been FAR FAR higher from email alone. The first rep told me it could have been "wi-fi" - that my phone could have connected to a wi-fi and downloaded data. Really? If I log in to the Seabourn Internet access I get unlimitd data - does not make sense, either. I told her that, she then suggested it was app updates set to work "automatically." - I guess that is possible but do they update even when data roaming is turned off?

I needed more information. The second rep "from tech support" told me that being on a cruise ship isn't "roaming" because they have an agreement with the cruise line. I shot that down immediately with the argument that I would have been getting my email and my data usage would have been far higher if that were true. Based on this disinformation I decided I was not sppeaking to knowlegable person so I asked to speak to a supervisor. By the way, he also said they are just collecting the money "for the cruise line" - but I don't know if this is true or not. I asked what would happen if I could get the cruise line to reverse the charge (based on the fact that I had data roaming turned off). He said that I would still have to pay the Verizon bill, but that the cruise line could then reimburse me. (I was not going to ask them to do that).

So, I started speaking to the supervisor - and lo & behold, he offered me a "backdated data plan" for the past month which would cover 50 MB. Cost $30. I took the offer rather than fight this thing, mostly because I am afraid it was the picture my SIL sent me of our dogs. I shou;d not have looked at it (I did open it three times, by the way).

I am not a regular "texter" so I don't know how it works, but I do know I get texts all the time, overseas, even when I have data roaming turned off.

The lesson is this - do NOT open a text message on a cruise ship, especially if it has a picture. Second lesson, if this happens to you - keep asking for a supervisor until you get some satisfaction.
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