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Wrong Number: Woman Receives $200,000 Phone Bill
October 19, 2011
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Roaming fees - they'll get you good. A Florida woman found that out the hard way when she received a phone bill from T-Mobile... for $201,005.44. That's right: enough money to buy a small condo or Justin Bieber's car. Celina Aarons has a plan that normally costs her $175 a month, which also includes the cost of her two brothers, who are deaf and mute and use their phones to text and communicate.

One brother recently visited Canada on vacation, but failed to turn off his data roaming plan. The result was a phone bill for two hundred grand, which left his sister "freaking out. I was shaking, crying, I couldn't even talk that much on the phone," as she told WSVN. Luckily, T-Mobile reduced her bill all the way down to $2,500, and gave her six months to pay it.

So great ending to the story, right? Except for the lingering question: how can T-Mobile afford to reduce the cost of their services by 99%? In a statement about the situation, a spokeswoman said of the $200,000 bill that "the amount was correct," but the company chose to "cut her bill to $2,500".

We contacted T-Mobile to ask how the bill got so large. They couldn't tell us what the costs to the company were, but they say that "as soon as T-Mobile discovered the high data usage being incurred, T-Mobile suspended the account". So it sounds like the bill could have ended up being even higher. A recent global study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) found that Canadians and Americans pay by far the highest roaming fees while travelling.

Cellphone billing woes are nothing new, of course, on either side of the border. The CBC's Marketplace has looked into the issue a couple of times. Check out their second installment of 'Canada's Worst Cellphone Bill' here.


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