Suddenly Erroneous Data Charges for Picture Messages
wraujr
Enthusiast - Level 3

Phone (Samsung Brightside) in use for over 18 months.  No changes in plans, etc.

Suddenly, starting on 10/18 (2 weeks ago) this phone has received DATA charges.

Account has NO data plan, so data is billed per MB.

Web access has been blocked to prevent accidental (since touch screen) web access charges.

No apps/games are in use.

Called/chatted customer service twice, but they can't shed any light on problem.  Son confirms no web access/downloads.

Today, another charge appeared so I called son and he remembered he had just received a Picture/Video SMS from a friend at the same time.

Remember - he has been communicating with this same friend, on the same phones for over 18 months!

Pulled up the DATA charge logs and the TEXT message logs and FOUND that certain Picture/Video SMS are resulting in DATA charges.

The plan has unlimited TEXT/PICTURE/VIDEO so there have not been any charges for 18 months, WHY NOW?

Plenty of other Picture/Video received from other numbers with NO data charges.

Son uses over 3000 Text/Picture/Video a month on the unlimited plan.

I have logged 9 cases of invalid billing since 10/18.

Here is the pattern:

Phone RECEIVES Picture/Video from <phone number>@icmms1.sun5.lightsurf.net

   (some claim this is the server for Blackberry phones)

Sizes range from 1 to 300KB

Have identified three(3) specific phone numbers.

    2 are Sprint Customers

    1 is a Verizon Customer

Here are the dates and times.

11/03/2014 10:23 AM

11/01/2014  3:31 PM

10/31/2014 10:06 AM

10/31/2014  7:36 AM

10/30/2014  7:37 PM

10/18/2014  8:38 PM

10/19/2014  5:18 PM

10/19/2014  5:19 PM

10/21/2014  7:38 PM

OK Verizon the ball is in your court.  You have been notified of erroneous billing problems.

Seeing how you just settled a case concerning improper/erroneous billing on Shared Family plans I hope you will take me seriously and do a proper technical investigation.....I have spent quite a few hours analyzing data...

Finally, I would have sent this as a direct email to Customer/Technical support, but you don't seem to offer that option.

Conveying this over voice (i.e. 611) or through "chat" was unproductive.

Labels (1)
Re: Suddenly Erroneous Data Charges for Picture Messages
Not applicable

You are notifying Verizon on a customer to customer messageboard?

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Re: Suddenly Erroneous Data Charges for Picture Messages
wraujr
Enthusiast - Level 3

Yes I know that.  Do you have an email contact for Verizon?  Hail mary pass hoping a moderator looks at and intervenes. Also would like to hear if others are having same problem....

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Re: Suddenly Erroneous Data Charges for Picture Messages
vzw_customer_support
Customer Service Rep

I'm sorry you feel that you are being charged erroneously wraujr. I can understand the frustration. We can review your account and check what investigation has already been performed on your account and if there needs to be an investigation we can start one. We can also review your account to provide an explanation of why you have charges on your account. Please start by sending us a private message. You can also reach us on Twitter or Facebook.

KInquana_VZW
Follow us on Twitter @vzwsupport

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Re: Suddenly Erroneous Data Charges for Picture Messages
wraujr
Enthusiast - Level 3

Thank you.  Although there is no email support, after multiple attempts I was able to convey all this information concerning dates/times/charges thru a "chat" session with a very knowledgeable/experienced Verizon Rep.  He opened a ticket to investigate a possible error in the billing system that may have been failing to link text messages with data transfers which resulted in improper data billing.  It will take 2 to 3 days to investigate, but I will post back when there is any update from the ticket.

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Re: Suddenly Erroneous Data Charges for Picture Messages
mel029
Enthusiast - Level 2

I am having the same problem since 10/31.  I have a plan with unlimited text/picture/video.  I have a basic phone and don't receive many picture messages, but I have a family account so I regularly check the usage.  I was surprised when I saw that my line with the basic phone had incurred data, which happened to be at the same exact time a picture message was received.  Happened again on 11/3.  I called verizon wireless both times and both representatives who I talked to told me they noted the account and that I should not be charged data usage.  If there is a data charge on the bill when it is received, I will call again, and will call every time an erroneous data usage is charged to my line.  I've had this same phone for 6 years, and NEVER received data usage for a picture message.    I have a feeling this is a technical issue that needs to be addressed by Verizon Wireless, since somewhere along the line their system is not reading picture messages correctly, but rather reading it as some type of data transfer.

Re: Suddenly Erroneous Data Charges for Picture Messages
wraujr
Enthusiast - Level 3

I spent an hour in a "chat" session with a very knowledgeable rep. We documented dates/times/phone numbers where this was happening.  He created a ticket that will supposedly get this elevated.  He believes it is an issue with billing.  As he briefly explained to me, with a picture/video message there is a text message and there is also a data transfer involving the picture.  Supposedly, the billing software is supposed is recognize and link these two transactions.  After linking the billing system will note that you have unlimited text/video/picture messaging and the data charge will be deleted.  In my case (starting around 10/18) the system is failing to properly process the transactions.  It should be noted that many do get correctly processed while only a handful get erroneously charged.  In my case we noted that it if the source of the picture message was an AT&T Blackberry server (<phone number>@icmms1.sun5.lightsurf.net) then there was a data charge.

You can look at your "unbilled data usage" and look for received picture messages and see if the sender is this server.

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Re: Suddenly Erroneous Data Charges for Picture Messages
wraujr
Enthusiast - Level 3

Also, my son verified that the size of the data charge was pretty much the same as the size of the picture received.

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Re: Suddenly Erroneous Data Charges for Picture Messages
mel029
Enthusiast - Level 2

The picture messages I received were from Sprint customers.  And yes the data usage is the same as the picture size.  Hopefully I will not be billed, but it does show data used under my usage which never happened before.

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Re: Suddenly Erroneous Data Charges for Picture Messages
wraujr
Enthusiast - Level 3

Been a couple dates and charges are still occurring.

Have now verified that data charge matches the size of the received picture.

Have not received any status from Verizon on the ticket.

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