Saturday, August 18, 2007

The New iPhone Bills Are Even Bigger Than The Instruction Manual - Way To Go AT&T!

Click On Right Arrow To Start Video While You Read This Blog Entry!

The iPhone. It's a rage. It's a sensation. It's pretty darn cool. The only problems I've heard about are with the service from AT&T who used to call themselves "the right choice." In this age of user-friendliness and people believing the myth about global warming, early adopters of Apple's iPhone are getting their first service bills from AT&T and finding out that those bills are so detailed they belong in libraries. Apple's renown for elegance and simplicity has been ironically mocked by this ridiculous document of excess. Why would we possibly need to know how many times we weren't charged to access something of the type DATA using our Data Transfer at the Rate Code MBRF? As a Blackberry user, I'm not seeing bills like this.

Justine Ezarik, a Pittsburgh graphic designer and active Internet blogger, got her first bill on Saturday. She says it was so huge — 300 pages — it was delivered in a box. AT&T detailed every text message and Internet use for her billing period. "This is so silly," she says. "There's no reason they need to send you this much information." The video Ezarik made of her experience uncrating the bill has been viewed online more than 100,000 times since Monday. Consumer tech blogs picked it up, spurring chatter across the Web about the bulky bills. The iPhone, which launched in June, costs $499 or $599, and service plans range from $59.99 to $99.99 monthly. Ezarik — a heavy user of text-messaging (as if you can't tell by her looks and this YouTube video) — says her first bill was for $275. Oh my gawd! "A lot of that was taxes, activation fees and pro-rated charges," she says. "I was shocked at how high it was."

Tech site Ars Technica describes a 52-page, doubled-sided bill. Oak Harbor, Ohio, teacher Kelly Croy also reports receiving a 52-page bill: "The biggest phone bill I've ever gotten in my life," he says. AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel insists these situations are exceptions. "We're not sending lots of boxed bills to customers," he says. The company itemizes text messages and Internet usage on its data network, which adds to the normal heft of the bill. Siegel says that customers who don't want the details, such as Croy, can call AT&T and change their billing. "We don't want to presume for the customer that they want detail or don't want detail. That needs to be up to them," he says.

Options include summary bills or online billing. I think most people are probably going to choose online billing unless you've got the need for a roaring fire in the ol' fireplace once a month! Rock on AT&T and thanks for the paper!