After returning home from a cruise, a Miami man said he was billed hundreds of dollars in cellphone charges, but he said he never used his phone on the ship.
Alan Koshar was shocked when he opened up his cell phone bill and noticed he was being charged five times what he typically pays.
“It was taking away from the joy and memories we had from the trip,” Koshar told us.
In May, Koshar and his wife took a 14-day Alaskan cruise. He said he saved up for the trip on his retirement budget.
“How often do you get to cruise into a bay and see a bunch of icebergs coming off a glacier?” Koshar said.
When Koshar returned home from the dream vacation and opened his cellphone bill, he was surprised.
“When I got the bill I was shocked because I had not anticipated any of these charges,” said Koshar.
The couple snapped pictures on the trip and texted those photos to family and friends along the way. But according to Koshar, the couple only sent pictures on port days from Alaskan cities.
“I would wait until we were at a port and we would go on land, take pictures and send them from the various stops along the way,” said Koshar.
However, a look at his cellphone bill showed Alan was being hit with international and maritime data roaming charges. The charges totaled more than $600 between two billing cycles. When Koshar called AT&T to find out why, he said he was told by a representative the ship was pulling in his cellphone signal.
“The customer service representative told me that sometimes the ship has more of a pull on the signal than the town you are in, and therefore the ship charges you as if you are on the ship out at sea,” said Koshar.
He said the employee offered him the option of purchasing an international package to retroactively take care of the charges. Koshar said he accepted the offer, but when he received the next bill, he found the charges were still there.
“As soon as I got that, I called up ATT and tried to get some appeal of the charges,” said Koshar. He said he later found out his appeal was denied but he couldn’t get an answer as to why.
“I made every attempt by contacting by phone, by contacting by letter, and each time it seems like I wasn’t getting a response,” said Koshar.
That’s when he called NBC 6 Responds. We reached out to AT&T about Koshar’s claim. A representative told us “Due to customer privacy rules, I can’t share the details of the customer’s account.”
Within a week Koshar told us he got a phone call. AT&T credited $530 dollars back to his account.
“I am very appreciative for the efforts of NBC 6 because otherwise, it would have completely blown the budget for that trip,” said Koshar.
Bringing a little bit of the joy back to an experience that meant so much.
For anyone looking to book a cruise, it’s a good idea to call your cellphone company and the cruise line to compare the phone and Wi-Fi packages available. Some cruise lines are even rolling out “social media packages”, which for a small fee allow you to stay connected on social media networks while at sea.