Anyone who signed up or is thinking of signing up for AT&T's 2-year contract for cell phone service should watch out for two major abusive billing practices by AT&T, plus overbilling of $1 or $2 every month.
1. First Abuse: If the 2-year contract ends on, say, June 30th, they intentionally set your billing cycle to a few days before, like 28th of every month, so that they can bill you until the end of next cycle, July 28th. If you cancel service on the last day of the contract, June 30th, they WILL STILL bill you until July 28th, well beyond the contract termination date, even when no service is provided! They set the billing cycles arbitrarily, without informing the customer. When challenged, they simply say it's company policy not to pro-rate a bill and hang up on you. The only way to fight it is to go to arbitration committee, for which you have to put up $10,000 in deposit (even if your dispute is only for $90)!! The contract takes away your right to small claims court or any other avenue of justice. It is well known that arbitration panels are stacked with industry insiders, so who in their right minds would put up $10,000 in an improbable attempt to recoup $90? The US supreme court has also reinforced (upheld) AT&T's ability to force the consumer into arbitration.
Clearly, the customer is setup to be ripped off.
2. Second abuse: AT&T incorrectly calculates the Contract Termination Date as two years and one day, instead of just two years. The customer is not allowed to challenge it. If you started a contract on July 1st 2012, it should end on June 30th 2014. But AT&T will state the end date as July 1st 2014.
AT&T ostensible has a "dispute mechanism", which is a black hole. They only have a postal address. If they don't reply to your physical mail, you cannot call them or email them.
All this amounts to systematic fraud by the company.
Product or Service Mentioned: Att Phone Service.
Monetary Loss: $170.