...and the answer from A.A.A. is...
From about 10 to 11 this morning, I talked to 3 different AT&T reps and 2 different Apple reps. Guess what? Apple says I shouldn't be charged, and AT&T says that I should. Surprising? Didn't think so. I told the Apple rep that if she could call me back at noon, that would be great - I had class.
Update #1, 12:45pm Friday -
I get home, and the rep calls at 12:02pm. Nice. Apple is on the ball, like I knew they were. She informs me I was right with how I figured the whole thing out - like this: I send an I.M. to an iPod Touch. They get it and respond. Since they don't use AT&T or any cellular work, that positively confirms that it is strictly DATA. I'm right. I knew it. I should not be charged she tells me. The only way it will count you will be charged is if you set it up to I.M. a phone number or if you have it set up to notify you via SMS. It should be counted as DATA when it is screen name to screen name.
She tells me my next step is to talk to AT&T again. She transfers me over, and with the other girl on the line, tells me to have a nice day. As I hear the click of her hanging up, the AT&T rep starts to tell me why I should be and am being charged...
She is useless. I then ask to be transfered back to Apple. I am. I get the customer service version of Jesus.
I then explain the entire situation. He goes "WHAT?! WOWWwww", and I laugh along with him. I told him about my theory of iPod to iPhone, and how it must be DATA and not SMS Text, and thus not counting towards my AT&T limit. He agreed entirely, and said to my delight "I'm going to have fun with this". I told him I had another class, and he said that he was going to call AT&T.
Update #2, 4:30pm Friday -
I get a call back at about 2:30pm, and he tells me that he has bad news. He says it looks like they're right. He then tells me some AT&T rep is on the line - yes, another one. She tells me the same thing I heard 4 times over already. That they charge for all iPhone messages as Text, be it through the Messages app or any Instant Messager app.
I then ask to talk to a higher up. I get her. She's clueless, naiive, ignorant, and plain rude. I explained the same thing to her yet again. Her response? You'll love this.
"The iPhone is a phone, and the iPod is not"... Translation; We can charge you whatever the hell we want because you're an AT&T customer locked in to our death grip contract. When I explained that the iPod and iPhone are basically the same hardware running basically the same software, that over Wifi, they both act the same way, she ignored it. Completely. She cut me off to tell me that it wouldn't be on my AT&T MyWireless account if I hadn't used it.
She repeated that a couple times, until I heard the tone in her voice go dry and strict. She repeated the same thing again. That the iPhone is a phone. Yes lady, I know that, the name gave it away...
So I cut her off finally. I told her that I give up, and that AT&T will just charge me whatever they want anyway. If they really want the $3.65 that badly, then they can have it, because I give in.
I hung up on her.
So in a nutshell, after 1 AOL phone rep, 4 Apple phone reps, and 5 AT&T reps, 2 of which were AT&T supervisors, I am left stuck with one answer.
Even if I'm right, and the text that goes through AIM is DATA, AT&T refuses to recognize it, and will charge it as SMS Text, because they don't care. Apple telling me it's free and AOL telling me it's free are both trumped by AT&T - because after all, they are high and mighty.
Tomorrow, I go to a local AT&T store. Let's see if Round 2: In Person leads to anything different. Bets anyone?
Update #3, 12:45pm Saturday -
The rep at the AT&T Store told me what I expected; that he simply "could not help me", and that I should call tech support.
I did this morning, and I got further than I did in collectively 5 hours of debate yesterday. The person I spoke to took the $3.65 off of my account, but only on the condition that I understand that AT&T is still billing me correctly. That AIM does count towards SMS Text messaging. He told me that while it does count towards DATA, it also counts towards the 200 text messages I have per month.
It's all ridiculous, but it's one small win for Skippy. That's $3.65 that AT&T will not be getting from me. In part, I win. In some says, I always win.
Update #4, 10:45pm Sunday -
I just got a text. I got a text. Are you reading that? Can you guess what I'm getting at? A text from AT&T FREE MSG... It reads as follows:
"AT&T FREE MSG: AutoPay Enrollment Change Confirmation - conf #**************. Your change request has been processed."
The problem here? I've been at work all day. I haven't enrolled in anything at any time ever. They decided to enroll me in AutoPay. Why? Well because if I go on AutoPay, then they can go right ahead and charge me whatever they want, and I may not notice.
The only problem with that is that I am the most stubborn, persistant, and obnoxious person that anyone's ever fucked with. Let's play, bitches.