Skip to comments.Woman charged $201,000 for phone bill
Posted on 10/18/2011 11:55:02 AM PDT by Responsibility2nd
Cue the outrage button. A South Florida woman got a shock when she opened a recent cell phone bill: she owed $201,000.
It was no mistake.
Celina Aarons has her two deaf-mute brothers on her plan. They communicate by texting and use their phones to watch videos. Normally, that's not a problem. Aarons has the appropriate data plan, and her bill is about $175.
But her brothers spent two weeks in Canada and Aarons never changed to an international plan. Her brothers sent over 2,000 texts and also downloaded videos, sometimes racking up $2,000 in data charges.
T-Mobile told Aarons the bill was correct. She called Miami TV station WSVN, which contacted T-Mobile. The station reports that T-Mobile cut Aarons' bill to $2,500 -- and gave her six months to pay.
(Excerpt) Read more at cbsnews.com ...
You would think people would check costs before using a phone out of the country.
Those evil Corporations! Cell phone use should be a right! I never had a Cell Phone Corporation tell me that international rates would be different than my home country rates (albeit I hate my Country) /s
Can this rate as, “Too stupid to have a cell phone?”.
While on the Olympic Peninsula, I got a text from Verizon telling me I was roaming on a Canadian data plan. I was still in the US, but on Hurricane Ridge, so maybe I was picking up a signal from Victoria, BC. I had no data service in Olympic. Without that text, I wouldn’t have known I was ‘roaming’.
Worst that can happen is you burn up all your minutes and have to buy more.
Couldn’t she just get a baby sitter?
It'd be interesting to know the real costs of providing such service and which corporations have prices set well above costs.
But they’re deaf/mute (and by liberal implication slow/needy). They should get all free stuff because they’re less fortunate than us...
I’ve skied in the OLYMPICS.
I worked for T-mobile a few years back, and during that time I handled close to 40,000 calls (give or take). Some of the calls that i took were ridiculous. I can honestly say that the efforts made to scam customers were only matched by the scams many customers attempted to take money from the company. I have worked for 3 different cell phone companies over the years, and none of them was perfect. But I’ll never forget some of the $5,000 dollar T-mobile bills I’ve seen, and the stories behind them.
One man went to a trip in Europe, and had his cell phone with him. He knew he would be charged the international rate, so he declined/rejected each and every call that came to him. He was charged not only the excessive international rate (about 15X more than it would have cost him to add a $10 or so international calling feature), but he was also charged several dollars per call in “call forwarding” since technically the calls is “forwarded” back to the U.S.
If he would have added a “calling” feature and answered the calls (and susequently hung up), he would have spent something like $50. But instead after all the charges were added up it was something like $1,000, for NOT answering the call. There are one time (one month) per year or life of account rerate fixes, but this type of stuff is common. It’s wacky some of the ingenius garbage that cell phone companies can come up with.
I should add that I have seen charges that were similar with landline companies as well, but nothing on the order of the 3 cell companies that I worked for (T-Mobile was by far the worst).
It’s crucial when you travel to Canada to make sure you set your Data setting to “Off”, because even if you don’t think you’re using it, there is stuff getting downloaded without you even knowing it.
Agreed. After years of having a cell phone I finally switched over to a prepaid phone. In this day and age, you can have a skype phone (for example), that plugs into a USB in any computer with an internet connection and lets you dial (and receive calls) anywhere in many countries for less than $10/month. You can also call internationally to other countries for pennies, and to other Skype users for free. That is just one example of technological advancement. Or There’s Magic jack, and on and on. We truly live in an age of technological miracles, for which I am grateful.
I’d hope there’s an applet somewhere that lets you easily get at and see your current phone bill, and lets you put caps on overage.
I could understand why a non-hearing customer would need to text a lot, but why would a non-hearing customer want to download videos? Without a sound track videos are almost useless.
My Sprint phone warns me when I go ‘roaming’, which
includes inside MS buildings in Redmond.
the way they ding me so...
you know i coulda been a bell
I do not know Verizon’s policy, but I do know that at T-Mobile, it was possible to have international roaming overages refunded if you were near the border. I saw a few times people charged Mexican roaming charges, who were never actually in Mexico. We would simply look up where you were at, at the time of the call, and see if you were really in the U.S. (Although, if a person could do it, i’m sure the computer could have been programmed to look at the data, also). I had to do that a number of times for people in Texas. Of course, who knows how many people simply paid the charges not knowing they were being charged for something that never really happened. I’m glad that you got that text, and were able to avoid the hassle.
Hey one of my jobs where I work is to manage cell phone and data card use. I always have the plans changed to International when anyone travels outside our borders. When I travel personally all devices are set to only use WiFi. Never have I gotten an extra charge. But to be fair I am probably a lot more savvy than the average welfare idiot with a cell phone.
Sounds to me like T-Mobile is doing the right thing here. I am sure it costs T-mobile something to have a foreign service provider allow TM customers to use their network. T-Mobile recognized that $200k is ridiculous and brought the bill more into line with their costs.
Further, these guys were in Canada and even a little bit of common sense would tell you to check on the details of your phone plan before downloading videos and other such non-essentials while in another country. A $2,500 fool tax spread over 6 months also seems appropriate.
Is that due to some interference system MS has in place?
“It’d be interesting to know the real costs of providing such service and which corporations have prices set well above costs.”
I think you’ve swerved into a great FR thread! I’ll bet many FReepers would like to see other Provider’s rates and bills for each month.
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