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Now THAT's some phone bill!

  1. Dec 14, 2007 #1

    turbo

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  3. Dec 14, 2007 #2

    DaveC426913

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    Heh. I just heard on the news about a bunch of customers at an automated parking machine that were each charged $148,000. It drained their bank accounts. Apparently it was a misplaced decimal.
     
  4. Dec 14, 2007 #3

    jim mcnamara

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    We had a customer whose meter read 400,000 kWh used in one month.
    Boy did she a get a big bill. Boy did we hear about it. Turns out she really used 380 kWh instead.
     
  5. Dec 14, 2007 #4

    mgb_phys

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    The difference here is that it wasn't a mistake. He bought a cheap monthly call plan with very high data charges then used his phone to download movies.
    Incredible that the billing system didn't notice that someone with a $10/month plan had hit $80K in debt.

    It's easy to do - I got a $5 data charge on my new phone because I browsed through the list of themes/ringtones, unknown to me it downloaded them from the net.
     
  6. Dec 14, 2007 #5

    turbo

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    According to the story linked in the OP, his plan was costing him $150/month, which isn't a cheap plan, IMO. Still, somebody should have noticed the charges he was racking up and given him a head's up.
     
  7. Dec 14, 2007 #6

    Moonbear

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    Y'know, that's a good point. There should be flags on the accounts and someone contacting the customer when you start to rack up a large bill. When you more than double your base plan rate, that seems like a good time for the company to put a flag on the account and contact the customer to find out if they know their bill is getting so high.
     
  8. Dec 14, 2007 #7

    Evo

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    You have to be careful, even if you buy an unlimited data plan on your phone, it more than likely will not include using your phone as modem. (which is what happened to him) While using it as a modem *occasionally* might not set off the alarms, constant use will and you will get hit with data charges or they will just disconnect you. I know, it's a rip off, data is data, if you're using it for your computer, obviously you're not using it on your phone, it's their way of forcing you to buy two data plans, one for your phone and one for your computer.

    They will if you have bad credit and have a spending limit flag on your account. If you have good credit, you will have unlimited spending approved, and no flag.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2007
  9. Dec 14, 2007 #8

    jim mcnamara

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    After all, the CEO of Qwest has to get his annual bonus to he can pay for his villa on Aruba - the one with the hot and cold running maids....
     
  10. Dec 14, 2007 #9

    Moonbear

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    It sure would be better for them to disconnect you so you know there's a problem than allow you to accumulate a bill that nobody could afford. So much of these details are in fine print and legalese (or technical jargon) that there's just no way a normal person could understand the limits of what they're paying for.
     
  11. Dec 14, 2007 #10

    Evo

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    Unfortunately, they disconnect you when you don't pay the bill, I forgot to mention that. Either you agree to pay, or get disconnected.

    Cell phones can be scary things with all of the things they let you do with them...for a price. I'm lucky, my company gives me a personal (not company) cell phone with unlimited free everything.
     
  12. Dec 14, 2007 #11
    In the article, it says that bell agreed to lower the bill to $3243, that's an almost an $82 000 reduction. And the guy says he still plans to fight it. If I were him, I would take the deal and go with it, because chances are good the $85k would hold up in court, since he did sign the contract (not reading it is not a valid excuse). He purchased unlimited time, not unlimited data, and now he's paying for the data.

    Also, he is an oilfield worker, while $3243 is still a fair bit of money, it's not the end of the world for someone in his position.
     
  13. Dec 14, 2007 #12
    Few years ago I worked as a cell phone service rep (for a short period of time.) and answered a call from a distressed father who recieved a $50,000 phone bill. Turns out his son had used his phone to download lord of the rings. Worst part was that I couldn't handle crediting such a bill and it turned out management there deemed it was a valid bill... [​IMG]
     
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