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UK Girl Handed $5,700 Roaming Bill After Vacation in NYC

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July 17, 2013 4:41:31 AM

Overages should be illegal, any extra data usage above your plan should be a pro-rated charge at the same cost per MB as found in the standard plan. There is no way a cell carrier can justify that they need to charge 1000 times more per MB if you go over some arbitrary data cap.

That being said, why didn't this girl's parents take the cell phone away? Also why wasn't she using wifi? New York city has at least 1 open wifi network on every block.
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July 17, 2013 5:02:43 AM

I agree you cant go one block in nyc without seeing atleast 50 different wifi connects with some being free to use

But that bill is crazy, how i miss unlimited data. To bad all the carriers are overloaded and thats why its not really possible anymore minus sprint. That or they just love charging overage fees
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July 17, 2013 5:18:01 AM

Pre-paid plans don't look so bad now...
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July 17, 2013 5:35:22 AM

"Impossible that my 14-year-old is lying! I demand recompense!"
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July 17, 2013 5:45:20 AM

Why the hell didn't she stop when she was told that she had gone over? I mean, come on. No sympathy there.
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July 17, 2013 5:46:53 AM

Every single carrier hopes you over use and go over your cap to charge you heaps for your own negligence. That's when the real money starts to be made from the consumer. This is common knowledge like death and taxs. The 14yr old is just outright lying about not seeing the messages and opting out. Pre paid till 18 I say or the parents foot the bill.
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July 17, 2013 6:14:28 AM

This is why I use Sprint. I'm not dealing with that overage shit, arbitrary data limits, etc. I refuse to support a company that doesn't have unlimited.
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July 17, 2013 6:15:07 AM

Stupidity should have it's rewards. Let her cherish this prize.
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July 17, 2013 6:31:37 AM

Haha, kids. :lol: 
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July 17, 2013 6:48:57 AM

Round-trip plane tickets from Heathrow to JFK: 1133 euros.
Boutique hotel rooms in the panhandle: 1321 euros
Steaks at McCormick & Schmick's: 183 euros
Using your Orange phone to document your trip on facebook: priceless

When you simply must get snookered by your mobile carrier, nothing beats the data-consuming abilities of a teenage girl. For everything else, there's Mastercard.
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July 17, 2013 6:54:28 AM

Quote:
The teenager apparently received a text message from Orange, her carrier, four days into the trip, informing her that she had gone over her data limit and that her normal £50 bill was now £320. The carrier blocked calls and texts but did not block data, and so the schoolgirl continued to use her phone (though the Daily Mail does report her mother told her to stop using it until they got home).


Quote:
Casey's parents are going to pay the bill but say the rates are ridiculous, that it's extortion, and that their daughter doesn't remember opting out of her roaming data cap.


I agree that overages and caps are stupid in most cases. But this is a case of a teenager being a teenager. She admitted she got a text that she went over 4 days into the trip and now she's surprised and acting innocent?

Time for the people that sired her to act like parents.
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July 17, 2013 7:16:14 AM

A picture is worth a thousand bucks.
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July 17, 2013 7:43:26 AM

sounds like a stupid teen that was warned plenty...
at least she got warnings, for years in america you get a huge bill without any knowledge that you've gone over in any way. It was a total scam.
Got a $300 bill after I met my girlfriend and talked to her excessively and ended up going over my minutes.

Unlimited plans are the way to go... NO Issues, NO Bullsh*t
Still gotta be careful about leaving the country though. If you do then just get a pay as you go type phone when you get there. Then you just buy cards for more minutes/service as needed while you are there, no surprise bills.
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July 17, 2013 8:40:28 AM

So the provider will cut service to voice and texts as a precautionary measure, yet not cut service to the most-expensive part of their roaming plan; data?

hixbot said:
Overages should be illegal, any extra data usage above your plan should be a pro-rated charge at the same cost per MB as found in the standard plan. There is no way a cell carrier can justify that they need to charge 1000 times more per MB if you go over some arbitrary data cap.

That being said, why didn't this girl's parents take the cell phone away? Also why wasn't she using wifi? New York city has at least 1 open wifi network on every block.


I think that overage fees are excessive with most providers, but this case was about roaming vs. overage. Though to play devil's advocate, providers might argue that they plan for a certain amount of load based on a pre-determined per-user usage. And high outliers tax their systems more than expected. Then again, there are also a lot of minimal data users. So I can't imagine that the average changes much. It just ends up being a cash grab.

Regarding overage fees, I really respect how Ting mobile (a MVNO operating on the Sprint network) does it. You can select a basic data package size, with sizes of like 200MB, 500MB, 1GB, 2GB, and 3GB getting set (and reasonable) monthly prices. If you end up going to the next-larger bin, all you get charged is for that next-larger bin price (they don't care if you went beyond your initial set amount). No overage fees. If you go beyond 3GB, you pay per-MB beyond 3GB at the equivalent MB cost for the 3GB package (it's not a lot, $0.02/MB, and there's no upper limit)
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July 17, 2013 8:43:17 AM

Carriers really need to do more automated messages that reminds customers at different tiers about their roaming charges and should use an "opt-out" system than an "opt-in" system in terms of blocking calls/text and data. They should have also blocked data too instead of only calls and texts. It's rather obvious that data roaming nets the most profit for these companies so I don't see them ever doing that.

However, a $5700 bill isn't even close to "record breaking" for roaming. I've seen many similar horror story in Canada but there was the case where a father was charged $22,000 (yes, enough to buy a new car) for roaming when his son turned on data roaming. More here: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/20...
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July 17, 2013 8:45:39 AM

The girl is an idiot, but it must be illegal for a carrier to charge so much for data! even when it's roaming or whatever
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July 17, 2013 9:10:09 AM

Her mom told her to stop. Hey mom, how about making sure she stopped.
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July 17, 2013 9:11:19 AM

Roaming is just a way for carriers to reap massive profits with very little cost. Europe is trying to squash roaming overcharges, and EEUU should follow suit.
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July 17, 2013 9:18:09 AM

Britsh under-18 kid acting irresponsibly and parents saying its the fault of the service/company/someone else. Typical British behavior.
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July 17, 2013 9:41:00 AM

What!!!!!!!!! They are going to pay it?
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July 17, 2013 9:41:01 AM

What!!!!!!!!! They are going to pay it?
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July 17, 2013 10:35:27 AM

So how can a minor op out? A service involving a contractual relationship and any aspects of it must be handled by the parens right? So is it acceptable for Orange to change that op out without explicit consent of her parents? I mean a phone call or at leat a settings panel behind a user/password are the bare minimuns to manage your phone account right? Right?
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July 17, 2013 11:21:29 AM

Must be a slow news day. Spoiled brat 14 year old used her phone overseas, parents should have just turned it off and left it at home.

14 Year old, obviously lying and ignored the warnings, because she's bad, she does what she wants.
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July 17, 2013 11:27:11 AM

well, its the parents mostly at fault here. they gave a smartphone to their 14 year old daughter for her to own. they knew all the fees that involve use of said phone, its all in the contract they signed. they didnt enforce the rules of phone use. the girl most likely wasnt aware of the consequences of using a phone. I sure as hell didnt know jack squat about bills at that age.

the phone company is also at fault here. why in the living hell would they turn off calls, but keep data activated? data should be the first thing cut off because its fairly easy to come by a wifi hotspot anywhere, especially in NYC. calling is important and data is not so much. Id say they tried to force the use of data on the consumer in order to charge that ridiculous amount by cutting off the rest of the phones functions. and that should be looked into by the right authorities.
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July 17, 2013 12:50:11 PM

lol if this happens to you don't pay your bill. There is no way a court will uphold excessive roaming charges like this.
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July 17, 2013 1:35:06 PM

I think carriers should also be obliged to provide current BILL AMOUNT as opposed to only the amount of data transfered and also to keep asking the question say every 200$ over the standard plan. "Your current bill is 2000$. Do you want to continue?" definitely is more appealing than "You already downloaded 15GB. Do you want to continue?"
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July 17, 2013 3:39:52 PM

When my niece moved in with us last year (long story), I moved her phone over to our account. I already had unlimited text messaging set up for the account, but apparently at some point while adding the extra phone line, the unlimited messaging did not carry over. I just about fell flat on the floor when I opened the bill at the end of the month and saw a bill for nearly $1400.

My niece had blown through more than $1200 in text messages in a month. I had received absolutely 0 notifications from the carrier, and when I called them, the support person agreed that the extra line should have had unlimited messaging, but they swore up and down that there was absolutely nothing they could do about the bill.

I got a manager on the phone, and he gave me the exact same spiel. At that point, I was ready to cancel the account. I wrote a very concise email to their customer retention department, and after two weeks, I got a response that my account would be credited for the overages. Sure enough, on my next bill, my account showed that the amount had been credited. But the next month after that, the credited amount was added back into the bill. Another email, and it was rescinded. This went on for about 2 more months, and I finally got in touch with a senior account representative in retention who finally explained what was happening.

Retentions was crediting the account, but Billing was still registering the overage as unpaid, and reapplying it with each new billing cycle. The account representative explained that her boss, an Executive VP with the carrier, ended up calling the billing folks and promised to start creating new orifices all around if they didn't get this situation fixed. Since then, no new overage fees.
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July 17, 2013 4:31:05 PM

"The carrier blocked calls and texts but did not block data".... then later....

"Customers receive warning texts to alert them of their data usage and we have an app that helps them monitor data usage, and opt-in to a data bundle if needed," Orange told the Daily Mail. "In this instance the customer received numerous text alerts which updated them on the roaming costs for the USA"

so... was the company sending alerts, but also blocking them at the same time???


...but mostly, next time use a laptop or tablet and pay for the hotels wifi or find that one "rare" coffee shop in New York that offers free wifi.
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July 17, 2013 4:48:57 PM

There's no way in hell it actually cost anyone that much money to transmit digital data. This is straight up robbery.
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July 17, 2013 5:00:44 PM

It is all he said/ she said.

Yes the data charges are exorbitant but they must realise that it was their childs fault for trusting them to not use it. The parents should have done more to ensure that their child only used the Wifi and not the mobile data.

Hopefully they can come to an arrangement with their carrier and get the bill dropped to a more reasonable amount.
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July 17, 2013 6:03:21 PM

Lol seriously? Parents fault 100% for trusting your 14 year old with a smartphone with limited data plan...OVERSEAS! No sympathy.
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July 17, 2013 9:47:11 PM

FWIW, I went to NYC several months ago, and the hotel I was staying in didn't have free wifi in the rooms. Certainly, they did in the lobby, and there are plenty of coffee shops nearby with it, but for the sake of convenience I tethered off my phone instead. I can see why she might have continued roaming, though in her case it was a stupid idea. (I wasn't getting charged any extra for my tethering, and was nowhere near my cap.)
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July 18, 2013 1:07:04 AM

- The parents should have done more to ensure that their child only used the Wifi and not the mobile data. -

No the 14 year old is fully responsible. She isn't a 2 year old child. She is a fully functioning person learning maths and science at school.
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July 18, 2013 2:40:21 AM

If that was my girl, her phone and my sledgehammer would have a close encounter. Kinda the way that dad shot his daughters laptop several times with his handgun. If she wants a new phone, she can pay for it herself.
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July 18, 2013 2:41:04 AM

If that was my girl, her phone and my sledgehammer would have a close encounter. Kinda the way that dad shot his daughters laptop several times with his handgun. If she wants a new phone, she can pay for it herself.
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July 18, 2013 3:30:10 AM

And this is a surprise ... why? If you have a daughter tho is 14 year old, has a smartphone and keeps documenting everything on facebook, even when you tell her not to, you fails as a father and you pay the price. In this case its actually a monetary one (and let me thell you, its the best warning you are going to get).

I dont have a kid myself, but my cousins have, and their kids learn to clean up after themselves and others, they learn to share, they learn to have fun with parents rather than with toys.

If i was that mother id be happy to realize Ive been doing it wrong.... If she does...
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July 18, 2013 3:41:20 AM

On a side note, id probably cancel the account, pay the bill, and until my daughter dosent return that money in, no phone, no nothing that requires real responsability.
OFC if your daughter is examplary for the next year you will most likely give in, but you need to bring that kid to reality.
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July 18, 2013 5:22:24 PM

I am sorry but people "justifying" this as reasonable are not being logical at all
Should she have stopped when warmed? Of course

Does that make $5k+ reasonable just transfer a few more bits? Hell no!

Chances are she didn't even understand it - if you were in the same circumstances - unaware that it would cause that large of bill to go over, would you still feel it is reasonable?

Sorry but it is sad for people to stick up for blatant gouging.
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July 20, 2013 9:56:08 AM

This is what people nowadays, always on their phones. You go out and see everyone is looking at hteir phone.
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