A Florida woman received a nasty wake-up call about data roaming when she got her T-Mobile phone bill for…$201,005.44. She also learned, the hard way, why you should turn off data roaming when in another country.
Yeah, that’s not a typo. Celina Aarons, whose plan usually costs her $175 per month, told WSVN-TV that she was, unsurprisingly, “freaking out” when she received the bill. “I was shaking, crying, I couldn’t even talk that much on the phone. I was like my life is over!”
Aarons shares her plan with two of her brothers, who are legally deaf and mute. She and her brothers use the plan to communicate via text. Her bill shot up when her younger brother, Shamir, went vacationing in Canada and forgot to turn off his roaming. In the two weeks’ vacation time, they racked up thousands of dollars in charges for everything from texting to downloading videos.
Aaron was understandably annoyed (to put it lightly) at the fact that T-Mobile hadn’t notified her of the incredible charges. “That’s like paying for a nice house right now,” she said.
T-Mobile agreed to lower the bill to $2,500, which is still a heck of a lot, and to give Aarons six months to pay it off. Honestly, T-Mobile should probably just waive the bill after all of the not-so-hot publicity they’re going to get, forcing a woman with two deaf-mute brothers to pay a still-absurd phone bill.
In another well-known case, a Malaysian man was hit with a phone bill from his (disconnected) late father’s phone line for $218 trillion. Er, yeah–again, not a typo. The man was ordered to “pay up within 10 days or face prosecution,” to which the man appropriately responded, “If the company wants to seek legal action as mentioned in the letter, I’m ready to face it. In fact, I can’t wait to face it.”
So the moral of the story is, turn off your data roaming and keep on top of your phone bill. Those wireless carriers can be sneaky.