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.
LOL, I believe you. I’ve seen some whoppers. The kicker that I hate (which isn’t really off on that far a tangent) is the “Third Party Content” providers. They are often on TV and such saying “Text ‘Fun’ (or whatever) to number 8XXXX for a free _____.” What they don’t tell you is they’ll attach a monthly fee and all kinds of other charges to your phone bill, which can in some cases turn off you phone service. I dealt with many of the low credit customers who had a $150.00 “Spending limit” (monthly charges cap) on their account, but who got slammed with hundreds and thoousands of dollars from these third party providers. It’s akin to the scam where someone calls you from Guam-kenya-stan and says you need to call back for ___ reason to help a relative, and when you do, they charge $30+ per minute to you phone bill. Why the phone companies (cell and landline), let these charges be attached to your phone bill (often fraudulent in nature) is beyond me. Working at T-mobile, the CSR’s were able to remove charges from some companies, but not all of them. I’m wiling to bet that some of those providers (they often provide videos, ringtones, etc.) were involved in this situation as well.
“T-Mobile recognized that $200k is ridiculous and brought the bill more into line with their costs.”
Agreed, but only because they were called out on it, much like the IRS charging a homeless man $2 Million over a few dollar discrepancy on a tax return he has filed a few years before. I realize that to some people “Corporations” can do no wrong, and that everyone who gets gamed by them are preceived as idiots, but that’s not the case. Both parties are generally trying to leverage against one another (the parties with more money have the most success), and having had experiences with TENS of thousands of these types of company/customer interactions (Probably upwards of 100,000 across the three companies), I can say without a doubt in my mind, that many people get shafted. That’s why lawsuits are filed and settled or won, quite often. Greed doesn’t work one way.
Surprisingly, RF signals do not stop at the border. Go figure.
That’s 71 texts per day per brother That’s 4.5 per hour EACH per 16 hour day
(top secret defenses against spies from APPL and GOOG?)
seriously I had no problems with my old nextel phone.
Take the phones away from those two brothers, give each two hand flags and a cheat sheet on semaphore.
And then there’s the whole - “Hold my beer, watch THIS!” genre.
Or, if they’re texting each other, you can buy two way walkie talkies, with texting options, that can supposedly work for miles. Some bands are illegal in the U.S. without a license, but still, they’re essentially free to use after purchase. (A survival situation convenience, btw).
I now use Straight Talk. Prepaid, $45 bucks per month for unlimited voice, data, text and photos. You’re on the Verizon network, but not dealing with Verizon or their contracts. It’s great. I’d recommend it to anyone.
You supply your own heavy breathing?
The OLYMPICS? What a great way to tell a whopper without lying!!!
Worst that can happen is you burn up all your minutes and have to buy more.
That's what Mrs. OldPossum and I use. I doubt that either of us places more than two to three state-to-state calls a month.