phantom cell phone charges! how? why?
April 4, 2012 11:27 PM   Subscribe

i have a boost mobile feature phone. i'm on a pay as you go plan. the phone has been off for several days, yet i continue to see data charges. whats going on?

this phone is a samsung rant phone. i bought it off ebay. i activated it with no problems. i am on the 20¢/min Pay As You Go plan with the 50¢ daily web/data add-on. i can make phone calls as well as receive them. i can browse the web. everything about this phone is functional.

the problem is that the days i do not have the phone turned on, i still get that 50¢ wireless charge. this charge should only be made on the days i actually access the internet with the phone. I removed the battery from the phone and waited 5 days and boom i see five 50¢ charges for each day. the time the charges are made are not the same but they all seem to happen between 12.30am-2.00am.

i called customer service and they said there is nothing i could do on their end because they say my situation is impossible. in fact one of the operators thought i was trying to pull her chain, because she wasn't convinced that even with the battery out, the phone was turned off.

all they could do is turn off the wireless web option. which is what they did and the charges stopped. that was three weeks ago.

earlier this week, i turned the wireless web option back on my plan and removed the battery out of the phone to check if the phantom charges would re occur. and of course they did.

my question is, given boost mobile is right and nothing is wrong their end, how is this technically possible? i know people like to clone cell phones. could my used phone have been cloned before i bought it? i assumed that two different phones using the same ID would be flagged by the carrier and disabled, though i haven't seen any unauthorized phone calls made.

if i ask for a new phone number or a new account could that solve the problem? i assume it isn't because the phone ID never changes and I created a new account/phone number when i received the phone.

posted by sammich to Technology (3 answers total)
Best answer: Even though the plan is called "pay as you go" I think the web add-on is actually just a flat rate 50¢/day, used or not.

Here's the bit from the bottom of
PAY AS YOU GO: Voice: 20¢/minute. Text Messages: 20¢/message. Multi-Media Messages: 25¢/message. Web: 50¢/day. ...[snipped]... Wireless Web: Subscription fee charged daily regardless of usage unless customer calls Customer Care to deactivate.
posted by samj at 1:52 AM on April 5, 2012 [4 favorites]

My assumption is that your phone only communicates with your provider for certain purposes as far as conveying how you're using it. It sounds like samj is probably right; it's just a daily charge. Your phone doesn't have to be on; you could smash your phone into a million pieces and their systems would just add 50 cents to your bill every day. It's like ... my cable bill is monthly, just like your data charge is daily, but if I throw out my TV or unplug the cable box from it for a month, they don't stop charging me.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 6:16 AM on April 5, 2012

Response by poster: thanks guys for clearing that up. i should have read the fine print, but i was assuming all three CSRs i talked to would have been competant enough about their plans to point these things out to me. i guess i can still turn the data plan on and off at will through their website as a work around
posted by sammich at 8:17 AM on April 5, 2012

« Older Did I just get worms?   |   Books that will eat up a boring eight hour shift Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.