Every phone company in Canada has roaming on by default. Now, I do get a text when I go into another country for 'special rates' to avoid roaming, but I can't disable roaming. Roaming is a fundamental feature.
I think all carriers now do have the text notifications or some kind of customer notification system in place. Now, the reason why they do that is because the carriers get so much flack in the media and regulators for bill shock. The carriers fought tooth and nail to avoid having to implement these notifications. They would rather consumers rack up huge bills and then try and make people pay them.
yeah and you know why it's as expensive as it is and why it varies from country to country? because the companies whose towers get used in other countries to allow your phone to work charge AT&T a lot for their use (this is speculation from me the same way you speculate AT&T is just trying to drain your pockets with roaming)
Again, it isn't speculation on either of our parts. AT&T does get charged fees for its customers using another carrier's network. Those fees are passed on to the consumer with markup. Roaming will rack up bills if you're not careful. As I stated before, carriers fought tooth and nail against consumer protections that are in place now such as the text notifications of roaming. That right there shows that they have only profit margins in mind which is what every company does....as companies are in business to make money.
With that said, I'm off to get ready for work. To the OP, I'm sorry that you came here to vent frustration and got nothing but flack. I felt you have valid reasons to be upset and its just sad when people weren't more understanding of your situation whether or not they agree with you. Good luck.