Man Gets an $85,000 Cell Phone Bill for Modem Use

MJMANDALAY

Registered User
Jan 26, 2005
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#1
We've seen $3,000 cell phone bills. We've seen $10,000 cell phone bills. But now we've got a bill that's approaching six figures, as a Canadian man has been hit with an $85,000 invoice.

And no, it's not a computer error.

Piotr Staniaszek had been using his cell phone as a modem for his computer, thinking he was covered under his $10-a-month unlimited mobile browser plan from Canadian telco Bell Mobility. He actually caught the bill at $65,000. When he called to complain, he was told that it had hit $85,000 for the use since the bill was mailed.

The likely problem is that Staniaszek got understandably confused about what his recently signed $10 data plan covered. Such plans often cover data use on the phone itself (such as texting or using the built-in browser on the phone), but not when it's used as a modem with a PC. (Without going into extreme detail, the connection types are different, and the phone company can tell the difference between the two types of traffic.) Bell Mobility has dropped the bill to just $3,243, but Staniaszek is still fighting it. (Of course.)

Staniaszek also notes that the phone company should have notified him when charges started to spiral out of control; previously he'd gotten a call when he racked up a mere $100 in charges on his old data plan. Now his bill climbs into the thousands and no one bats an eye. I'd be peeved, too.

Remember that all cell phone plans are not created equally, and "data" has numerous definitions. Before you connect your phone to your computer, make sure you understand the charges you're setting yourself up for, and check your usage on your phone company's website periodically (especially if you're using your phone for something new) so that you don't get slapped with any financial surprises.


[media]http://tech.yahoo.com/blogs/null/61440;_ylt=AoZDi7Cnnhh5hinXTlQTXaZbMJA5[/media]
 

DanaReevesLungs

I can keep rhythm with no metronome...
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Jun 9, 2005
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#2
While working at Cingular I saw some super high bills, but nothing like this. The highest that comes to memory was a $15,000+ bill for the exact same reason. Dude thought he could tether his phone to his laptop while on business trips to surf the net. We credited him the entire amount minus the monthly charge for the unlimited tethering package which was $60. It took a lot of higher ups getting in on it, but what helped him out was notes left by a customer care rep that advised him of the ability to tether his phone to his laptop without getting charged extra.

Moral of the story...always have a rep read back the notes verbatim as to what occurred during that call. Reps cannot however read notes previously input into the system verbatim as they are legal documents which would require a subpoena.
 

Turfmower

Registered User
Jan 17, 2005
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#4
The phone companies are just out to fuck people. If you get out of the normal charges on your credit card they call you to tell you what is going on. Why can't the cell companies do the same. When I got my cell I told them i dont want any of that internet or texting shit on my phone they said there is no way to take it off. I get pissed when I get a .20 cents charge when the wrong button gets pressed it it connects to the web or when some one texts me i get hit for 25 cent fucking call me I have enough minutes in my plan to fucking talk not text like a 14 year old girl.
 

DanaReevesLungs

I can keep rhythm with no metronome...
Donator
Jun 9, 2005
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#6
The phone companies are just out to fuck people. If you get out of the normal charges on your credit card they call you to tell you what is going on. Why can't the cell companies do the same. When I got my cell I told them i dont want any of that internet or texting shit on my phone they said there is no way to take it off. I get pissed when I get a .20 cents charge when the wrong button gets pressed it it connects to the web or when some one texts me i get hit for 25 cent fucking call me I have enough minutes in my plan to fucking talk not text like a 14 year old girl.
First off...who is your current provider? All of the major carriers can remove "add-on" features that aren't necessities to your rate plan...i.e. text messaging, multimedia messaging, internet access.

Secondly, while the notifications are a convenience they aren't a requirement by the cell phone carriers. Most, if not all, carriers give you ways of checking the bill or usage during the course of the bill cycle. While the info may not be up-to-date by the hour or day, it's still better than nothing.

Personally, I'd like to see up-to-the-minute usage on my phone or the net. The technology is there. Instead of offering me 40 fucking channels of TV on my phone, how about letting me know what my usage is the minute I get off of my last call? Why they don't do that...no revenue involved for them. It's all about the bottom line.
 
J

Jers

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#8
just goes to show, myspace really does ruin lives
 

MJMANDALAY

Registered User
Jan 26, 2005
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#9
So MJ how did you end up paying that off?
Sir I have unlimited internet access on my Sidekick. And I will pay my next 6 months in advance after I take your money at tomorrow nights Poker game :)
 
Jun 2, 2005
15,516
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Dallas
#10
I used to do this all the time before they got wise and figured out how to track what kind of connection you were using. Maybe they always knew and I just got over-looked, who knows. Glad I never got hit with shit like that.
 

jackjack

Registered User
May 12, 2007
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#11
I used to do this all the time before they got wise and figured out how to track what kind of connection you were using. Maybe they always knew and I just got over-looked, who knows. Glad I never got hit with shit like that.
They always knew, but never had an official policy until recently, when data networks became useful due to full coverage and phones that took advantage of it becoming ubiquitous.
Verizon changed their plans Nov1, 07. Any plan after that, or any change to a previous one puts you on the new system which charges two dollars per megabyte for data rather than just the minutes of airtime.
 
Jun 2, 2005
15,516
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Dallas
#15
They always knew, but never had an official policy until recently, when data networks became useful due to full coverage and phones that took advantage of it becoming ubiquitous.
Verizon changed their plans Nov1, 07. Any plan after that, or any change to a previous one puts you on the new system which charges two dollars per megabyte for data rather than just the minutes of airtime.
Wow, that would have sucked a nut... Has AT&T caught up with this yet?