By Rob Pegoraro
Sunday, July 25, 2010; G03
Q: I've had an unlimited-use data plan with AT&T for years, but now the company is telling me I've gone over a 5-gigabyte usage cap.
A: Two readers sent a version of this complaint during the past two weeks. Both said they'd been using these plans without issue until recently, when AT&T Wireless warned them that they were going over a 5-gigabyte limit.
I forwarded each reader's e-mail to AT&T publicist Jennifer Clark, who reported back that neither customers had been on an unlimited plan.
"We've had a small group of customers on a DataConnect 5GB plan who were not being charged for overage when they went beyond that limit," she wrote. "We're now working to bring their accounts in line with the policy for the other DataConnect 5GB plan subscribers."
Clark added that users who had signed up for AT&T's earlier Data Connect Unlimited plans (which it stopped selling in 2008) could keep using them, but if they made "certain changes to their account" -- for instance, transferring it to a new line -- they would have to sign up for a new $60 plan with a 5-gigabyte usage cap.
That's what happened to one reader, but AT&T apparently did not inform him clearly when it made this change in 2008 or in subsequent conversations.
It remains unclear just what happened with the other person who wrote (who, for what it's worth, said AT&T's representatives told him all unlimited users were being moved over to capped plans).
AT&T's customer-care staff seems a little confused about these matters. Users with old, unlimited-data plans should be prepared for lengthy calls to customer service -- and keep careful records of their interactions with the company.
Rob Pegoraro attempts to untangle computing conundrums and errant electronics each week. Send questions to The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit http://voices.washingtonpost.com/fasterforward for his Faster Forward blog.