Being charged even Mobile Data and Background Refresh are off, on iphone 6


I got charged on 13, 17 and 20 Apr for using only around 5 kb, even I was at home and used wifi all day long

Mobile Data and Background Refresh on my iphone 6 were switched off long time ago


Could any one tell how can this happen?

Re: Being charged even Mobile Data and Background Refresh are off, on iphone 6


They can't say what the data was, only it was transfered. The issue might be a failure in the iPhone or the Optus system.

Sounds a bit like the old 3c charges for phone calls that used to appear on your bill. "System Error" but 99% of the time no one would bother asking for a refund. Telcos windfall.


Given the amount of data I would call and they'll likely reverse any charges.




Peter Gillespie

Re: Being charged even Mobile Data and Background Refresh are off, on iphone 6


Hi Peter,


Thanks for the reply.


I just looked into the usage details. It said those charges were due to 'internetbrowsing', and duration of them were all '00:00:00', which was really confusing. 




Re: Being charged even Mobile Data and Background Refresh are off, on iphone 6


Duration is likely only for phone calls. Browsing the internet has no real duration as it is downloading sporadically and continuously. 


It could be a optus error and they'll possibly just cancel the charge when you explain. Not sure if you can check data usage at your end? Does the modem keep any logs? Any pc that only uses the modem you turned off? You could check it's time stamped history?


Perhaps your two accounts are somehow linked behind the scene? Optus should be able to confirm that at least.


Good luck


Peter Gillespie

Re: Being charged even Mobile Data and Background Refresh are off, on iphone 6


Apologies for the delay in getting back to you Koala, we're really busy at the sec and have only just gotten to your messages.


It's difficult to say what may have used this, have you checked that during this time mobile data is switched off?


Do you have Wi-Fi assist turned off too?


Have you spoken with our customer care team to see if they can view the data usage at the time this happened?

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Re: Being charged even Mobile Data and Background Refresh are off, on iphone 6

[ Edited ]

I have been having this exact problem for the last few weeks. Mobile data and app refresh has been turned off on my phone for years, and has to be manually turned on for me to use it; all of the sudden I’m being charged for random ‘internet browsing 00:00:00’. Call to Optus to demand a fix resulted in billing refunding me my credit but not believing the error was theirs, then passing me to technical support who shrugged and suggested there was something wrong with my phone (Apple staff stated to my face that if mobile data is turned off there’s no way apps or anything else can be using mobile data by accident). I got home after all that to discover new charges (!!) while my phone was upgrading (!!!). Had a long argument with Optus chat staff, who didn’t even understand basic questions/statements, and a “I’ll send it to level two support”. (Haven’t heard anything, but then it’s been the holidays) So then I turned off my phone completely and deleted any apps that might have been the culprit just in case, and was happy to see no more data usage.


Until today, when my data usage says yet again, that I used internet browsing.


Unlike 99% of people, I don’t use my phone for anything except home wifi (through Telstra!), and very rarely text/call or use the internet. I am unemployed and must budget my money carefully and continually having to top up my credit because Optus steals my data usage is very frustrating; especially when 0 minutes of internet browsing is costing me a dollar a pop!


If anyone at Optus is out there can you please:
a) contact me
b) actually try to solve this instead of demanding the fault is with my phone?
c) provide an explanation as to why usage is for 0 minutes but still gets credited anyway?
d) lose my business for good after being a decades-long customer


PS. Chat is useless, there’s never anybody there and the person I did end up talking to was terribly bad at comprehension. Phoning was slightly better except I couldn’t show them my phone settings; while I was literally in an Optus store because the floor staff can’t help prepaid customers with these sorts of issues. And though I found half a dozen Optus ‘Yes Crowd’ topics of a similar nature, none of them included any information on how to resolve the issue. I used to like Optus for its customer service, but f me this turned me off completely.

Re: Being charged even Mobile Data and Background Refresh are off, on iphone 6

[ Edited ]



I think, internet browsing is always reported 00:00:00. there's another column that lists the data usage (which can be as little as 1kb) - internet isn't charged by the minute.


Despite what Apple staff say, mobile phones can apparenlty slip into exchanging data occassionally I believe. If the issue is happening reasonably regularly then you could try turning your phone off for a day and seeing if the billing errors disappear?


What plan are you on that is charging you a $1 for incidental usage?


I believe Optus can also turn off mobile data permanently at their end. You can always request it be instantly restored with another request.


So that explains the 0 minutes but the issue is still most likely something with your phone (Once you accept that then the Optus response has been pretty good so far IMO). 




Peter Gillespie

Re: Being charged even Mobile Data and Background Refresh are off, on iphone 6


Data usage isn't actually listed in KB or anything else, just time.  On my account page on the website it doesn't list usage, but in the app it says a range of 0-30 kb. As in, mostly a little under 15 kb per day it's been used.


The issue only started about a month ago, but I noticed just before Christmas. I deleted any new apps that might have been causing the issue (as I said, just in case Apple was wrong - and all Apple were willing to do was a factory reset), and triple-checked my settings. I did turn my phone off for one night and saw no charges; but then I have also had no charges for just over a week with the phone on too, until yesterday. The only last potential app that could have been the problem was not opened, but deleted, this morning... but I got charged this morning too.


It's a prepaid plan, $10 Mycredit. I easily have money left over at the end of my 90 days, and have done so consistently for the past 18 months or more. I know it seems strange to most people... but I just don't use my phone outside of the non-Optus wifi.


I do know Optus can turn off data, as they told me previously. I don't want it turned off. On the rare occasion and for emergencies, I may need to access the net over my phone. To turn it off and on is a hassle, especially as I've never ever had any data usage issues up until now. I'd rather know what the problem is and get it fixed than shrug my shoulders, because if I need mobile data turned back on... this whole thing could start again and go back to eating my credit. I don't understand why the solution is "turn it off completely" rather than figuring out why it keeps happening at all.


So if the issue isn't Optus, then how can it be my phone? There has been yet to be an explanation of how I can have ALL mobile data settings turned off, and still end up with internet usage. Even the Optus app tells me little: just mumbo jumbo about accessing XML configuration access protocols (53.1% on today's usage, as compared to the 39.8% of 'general' - aka non-specified - browsing).  I've been browsing the net for ideas and still haven't come up with anything... except plenty of other Optus customers with similar complaints and no solutions provided.


And no, the Optus response hasn't been good. I very much stripped my comment out of all the stupidity provided by the staff, because it's irrelevant to the actual solving of my problem. And when billing says talk to technical support, and tech support says talk to billing, and there's no solution but to pray it doesn't keep happening... I'd say that's a pretty good example of terrible customer support. 


Re: Being charged even Mobile Data and Background Refresh are off, on iphone 6


Didn't want to negate your customer support comments. They usually try to be helpful by all reports but they're a mixed bag of capability. IMO issues like this which are outside the normal loop of problems is something (as you've found) its hard to find someone with an answer.


The issue may still be with Optus but from what I can infer the data transfer part of the telecomunications infrastructure is pretty hard baked in. That's to say, if Optus recorded your phone recieving that data then its almost certain your phone recieved that data. (NB I assume you've reset the iPhone data counter each day and checked what mobile data it shows internally?). I don't think I've ever heard a post where Optus says their data usage is incorrectly reported and issued a refund. (They do small credits, but that's just them being nice.)


Agree the turn off completely solution is far from ideal, just an option if the issue becomes pressing. I deally Optus should just provide 1Mb free to all customers to avoid this sort of insignificant use, but either they can't or more likely they won't.


FWIW Apps aren't the only thing to use data. Your phone itself does as well, and how that data gets reported (accessing XML configuration access protocols) can be misleading and difficult to track down. 


So the issue may be your phone or it may be Optus. You could try borrow another phone for a few days? Or take the SIM out and just use wifi? All a big hassle but tracking down the issue can be a big hassle. Optus can't know the data contents, just that data is sent to your phone from a mobile tower. If it is some wayward software or hardware bug on your end Optus can't be expected to find it. If it is some small deep level code bug in Optus billing bowels then obviously phone staff won't be able to do much (Their screens tell them you used the data).


I think if you want to get to the bottom of it you'll need to start discounting things at your end totally. If for example you get billed for data usage after the phone has been turned off for a day or three then the Optus system is looking shaky.


Good Luck


Peter Gillespie

Re: Being charged even Mobile Data and Background Refresh are off, on iphone 6




Between posting here initially and now I've browsed various Apple, tech forum and Optus forum threads. All have these in common: random new/unexpected charges and mobile settings off. All also have these in common: no one knows what the problem is, Apple suggests it's the phone providers' fault, the phone provider blames the handset, and the customers get frustrated. This isn't just me, and nobody knows how to prevent it from continuing. It just seems to be luck.


I'm not asking Optus to be a crystal ball. I'm just asking Optus to do a little more investigation than shrugging their shoulders. Same goes with Apple. (Ideally they'd get back to me after sending my ticket 'higher', and talking things through in more detail than "well, it shows data there so it must be right") And also... I am making every effort to figure this out myself. But I can't trace any specific app or data that's being used, I can't track any pattern in my phone behaviour that matches the timing of the so-called browsing, there's no match between being turned off or on... and as my above comments point out, other phone users/Optus customers have similar problems with random luck and very little public customer response. This seems to be an issue no one wants to solve and/or take responsibility for.


Thanks for the comments, but I need to actually talk to Optus staff about this, because they're the only ones with access to more info and proper assistance. I just hoped my post would catch someone's attention.


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