On January 13, 2010, I decided to purchase a T-Mobile internet stick for my laptop, because it was necessary for my work. I got the stick for free when I signed a year-long contract for 5GB of service for $49.99 per month. I was warned by the salesman not to go over the 5GB limit, and when I got home and saw the Usage Meter on the Web Connect program, I didn't think that would be a problem.
Throughout our usage of the service, we have always kept watch on the Usage Meter to make sure that we would not go over, and we have never gone over the monthly usage limit on the Usage Meter.
On today, March 4, we received our second bill from T-Mobile - totaling 412.14!
Part of that was a late payment of a total of $57.84, and I accept full responsibility for the fact that it was late. I went online and paid for that immediately. (T-Mobile got to charge their additional fee for a late payment, so it's not like they have any reason to be unhappy about it.)
There was also the (normal) monthly charge of $49.99.
However, $304.31 of that was assessed as a "usage charge" because, according to them, we went over the limit by about 1545MB.
First off, let's break down the ratio difference of what they are charging here. For the normal plan, they are charging $.0098/MB. Once you go over 5MB, though, they will start charging you $.2/MB. That's not exactly a central point for me, but I think it's worth pointing out.
Now, if we were always watching the Usage Meter so closely that we never went over, how was it that we went over so egregiously far that they slapped us with an extra $304.31 on our monthly bill?
Well, first off, despite what the sales guy had told me, the monthly billing cycle started on the 24th rather than the 14th, when I bought it. And naturally, the Usage Meter was naturally set for the 14th. Thus, according to the Usage Meter, from January 14th to February 14th, we were about 1GB below the limit for total usage. However, little did we know that the billing cycle was actually cut into a smaller chunk (1/14-1/24) and then a whole month from January 24th to February 24th. Because it was cut the way it was cut, our usage went over the limit by 1545MB for that month.
As I said, though, we were never aware of that until we got the bill today. This was because I had never set the Usage Meter for the 24th - mostly due to the fact that I had never been told to do so.
Of course, when I called T-Mobile, it was my fault for not going to their website to check there. Instead, I had made the mistake on relying on the software that THEY HAD PROVIDED on my computer.
After about two and a half hours on the phone, we did manage to get a bit of a reconciliation - in that they agreed to take the "usage charges" down to $150. how charitable they are.
Why does T-Mobile provide two different ways of measuring usage, in such a way that it can cause confusion and lead to even the most conscientious of consumers to get $304 added to a monthly bill of $49.99? Well, the answer is in the question.