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Thread: Is there a way to completely block being charged for text messages?

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    Is there a way to completely block being charged for text messages?

    Since I'm using a prepaid phone, I get charged 20 cents for every text message I send OR receive. I have a call blocker that also "blocks" texts, but I still get charged for receiving texts, even from spam texters and political groups, which is something I've been getting and expect will increase greatly over the next 8 months. I use my phone very sparingly and never do texting and can make $100 in phone minutes last more than a year. I'd like to keep it that way by not having political groups drain my account by sending me unwanted texts--and that could number in the dozens or even hundreds between now and November!

    I've looked up how to stop political texts, but it wasn't much help. They say if I get a political text (which costs me 20 cents), I should text STOP back to them (costing another 20 cents), and then they'll send me a confirmation text (another 20 cents) that I'm no longer on their list. This doesn't even address the fact that texting them back also confirms for them that my phone number is an active one and may even cause them to pass my number onto other organizations.

    In short, I want to stop text messages in a way that I won't get charged for receiving them. I just want them entirely blocked. Is this possible? Could AT&T set up my account this way if I ask them to?

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    I have what may be considered a very poor suggestion or two:

    1. Consumer Cellular splits the service time into voice in one allotment and text-plus-data into another allotment. You can pick a plan to include one or the other of the two types of allotments. I believe Consumer Cellular does not use any of ATT, but the T-Mobile equipment, but still different carrier than your ATT.
    2. Try switchover to a mvno carrier which allows you to pick separate quantities of talk, text, data; which may also allow you to pick zero of text; examples of such mvno's may be Tello, or US Mobile, and others; which might not be to your liking, or they may actually be.
    Last edited by joseg2016; 02-01-2020 at 09:04 PM. Reason: more clear

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    Just chiming in here. Those political, sales, etc. SPAM texts should be illegal, especially if companies like AT&T are making folks pay for those incoming texts!

    Just my two cents.

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    Some special groups who send mass texts are excempt from being blocked or stopped, so legally they may come through to you phone number anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by a107 View Post
    Since I'm using a prepaid phone, I get charged 20 cents for every text message I send OR receive. I have a call blocker that also "blocks" texts, but I still get charged for receiving texts, even from spam texters and political groups, which is something I've been getting and expect will increase greatly over the next 8 months. I use my phone very sparingly and never do texting and can make $100 in phone minutes last more than a year.
    Is your usage pattern such that the $2/day plan would work for you? On this plan, received messages don't trigger the fee, you only pay $2 for a day that you send a text or make/answer a call.
    iPhone 11 is my current primary phone. I have older model iPhones and Moto phones available on other lines. Currently prepaid, though would consider postpaid on right plan.

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    Quote Originally Posted by a107 View Post

    In short, I want to stop text messages in a way that I won't get charged for receiving them. I just want them entirely blocked. Is this possible? Could AT&T set up my account this way if I ask them to?
    I know that At&t Postpaid allowed CS to block all SMS/MMS with the internal billing settings when I worked for them. Check with your provider to see if they can accommodate. I am not certain which prepaid provider you are using (Cricket, Tracfone, At&t prepaid for example).

    Do you have an older plan ? I thought modern plans included free messaging (incoming and outbound).
    Don't make me turn this car around.....

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    Short answer: NO.

    Unfortunately that is a consequence of the model adopted in the U.S. where the recipient of the call or text gets charged for it. At least with the call, you have the option of not answering, but with texts you are screwed. Even if your device blocks the texts, your provider consider those texts as being received/delivered anyway and hence the charge. In countries in Europe and Latin America (not sure if all), incoming calls and texts have always been free (only who makes the call or sends the text pays), so cell phone users don't get penalized for unwanted calls and texts.

    This was a big problem here when most plans used to charge per number of texts and calls sent/received, but with the popular adoption of plans with "unlimited" calls and texts even for prepaid, the problem has become moot for many (if not most) users, so I guess interest in addressing that has disappeared.

    If the problem is costing you too much, consider switching to a plan/provider where texts do not cost that much. For instance, Tracfone offers a 5000 text card for $5 and you can keep the cost of usage to a minimum: $20/90 days or get one of those ebay offers from tracfone with a $50 good for a year with 1200 calls/ 1200 texts and 3GB of data, and if you don't use them, they get rolled over.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jairzinho View Post
    Short answer: NO.
    Not necessarily, the OP should try my suggestion in Post #6.

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    Quote Originally Posted by veriztd View Post
    Not necessarily, the OP should try my suggestion in Post #6.
    That's assuming the OP wants the text messaging feature completely disabled in his/her account (ALL and ANY text messages, not just spam).

    Before I would not recommend that at all. During emergencies, that's the most effective way to reach out (or be reached), especially if towers are congested in the area. But now with data based services like iMessage and wi-fi all around, that's probably not so important to have.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jairzinho View Post
    That's assuming the OP wants the text messaging feature completely disabled in his/her account (ALL and ANY text messages, not just spam).
    In short, I want to stop text messages in a way that I won't get charged for receiving them. I just want them entirely blocked. Is this possible? Could AT&T set up my account this way if I ask them to?
    I am pretty sure that my response to the OP was what they were asking about. Unfortunately it's all or nothing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kevink1 View Post
    Is your usage pattern such that the $2/day plan would work for you? On this plan, received messages don't trigger the fee, you only pay $2 for a day that you send a text or make/answer a call.
    Not really. As I said, I can make a $100 minutes purchase last more than a year. At $2 a day, I'd be paying $730 a year at most. That's assuming I made a call each day, which is not the case. I'd have to use my phone only 1 day each week in order to break even with what I'm paying now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by veriztd View Post
    I know that At&t Postpaid allowed CS to block all SMS/MMS with the internal billing settings when I worked for them. Check with your provider to see if they can accommodate. I am not certain which prepaid provider you are using (Cricket, Tracfone, At&t prepaid for example).

    Do you have an older plan ? I thought modern plans included free messaging (incoming and outbound).
    I'll give them a call to find out. Thanks for the idea!

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    Quote Originally Posted by a107 View Post
    Not really. As I said, I can make a $100 minutes purchase last more than a year. At $2 a day, I'd be paying $730 a year.
    That is why I asked. If you use your phone to make or receive a call every day, then it isn't for you. But if you can stretch $100 minutes (500 minutes) over a year, most days you must only be on the phone for 1 or 2 minutes.

    Now, if you were to only use the phone for, say, 3 days on a given month, that would be $6/month, and be under $100/year.

    I stretched a phone on this plan for 6 months earlier last year to get my 6 months usage on a phone so I could unlock it. So I think I spent $60 in PINS so they didn't expire.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kevink1 View Post
    That is why I asked. If you use your phone to make or receive a call every day, then it isn't for you. But if you can stretch $100 minutes (500 minutes) over a year, most days you must only be on the phone for 1 or 2 minutes.

    Now, if you were to only use the phone for, say, 3 days on a given month, that would be $6/month, and be under $100/year.

    I stretched a phone on this plan for 6 months earlier last year to get my 6 months usage on a phone so I could unlock it. So I think I spent $60 in PINS so they didn't expire.
    What I currently have (since I started using AT&T quite a while ago) actually gives me 1,000 minutes for $100. It's a 10 cents per minute deal. I understand that it went up since then. I thought it went up to 25 cents.

    With the $2 plan, would I get charged for the day for received calls, including texts?

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    With the $2 plan, would I get charged for the day for received calls, including texts?
    With all plans in the US (prepaid or postpaid) you are billed airtime whether the call is outbound or inbound. Some plans have unlimited voice, otherwise it comes out of your allotment of minutes or deducted from your current credit balance. Same thing with text messages

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