A Saskatchewan family that used a mobile internet service while vacationing was shocked to learn it was facing a bill of more than $10,000 associated with watching a few movies.
John Gibson, from Weyburn, recently took his family to Phoenix, Arizona.
His son Jason and grandchildren Jayden and Sawyer brought along a laptop computer, outfitted with a mobile stick so they could use the internet, including the online movie service Netflix.
"Small children like to watch movies," Gibson explained. "They'd watch a movie in the afternoon and I saw them doing it and never gave it a second thought."
"The kids were getting bored," Jason Gibson added. "So we decided to watch Netflix on my air-card on my laptop."
They enjoyed Shrek, Spiderman and Curious George movies.
However, when they returned home and their SaskTel bill arrived, Gibson was in for a surprise.
"It was over $10,000," he said and immediately called the phone company who told him the charge was for data use out of SaskTel's service area.
"And I went, 'Good lord'," he said, realizing that — although he did not know it at the time — travel to the United States could attract hefty telecommunications fees commonly known as roaming charges.
'Old guys like me just aren't up to speed on technology.'—John Gibson
"You're going to pay roaming charges," he said. "So, a couple or three thousand dollars to watch Shrek probably."
He followed up with SaskTel which decided to take mercy on him and promised to reduce the $10,668.38 bill by $9,600.
"Old guys like me just aren't up to speed on technology and what these things are capable of doing ... without you even realizing it," Gibson said, adding he has learned for the future that he should be more aware of the terms of a mobile internet service.
He said the balance he must pay, about $1,000, will prove to be a valuable lesson.
"It's sort of my fault," he admitted. "I'll pay the thousand bucks and — lesson learned."