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

One of the most inconvenient things about traveling abroad is that you can't use your phone. Unless you're willing to pay hefty roaming charges, you're better off buying a local SIM card or not using your cell phone at all. Unfortunately, it seems no one told 14-year-old Casey Snook this. The schoolgirl was recently faced with a £3,800 phone bill from her provider when she returned from her holidays.

The Daily Mail reports that Snook and her mother were holidaying in New York at the end of May and the teenager was using her smartphone to post photos and updates to Facebook. 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).

When they got back from their holiday, they got a call from Casey's dad, who said the total bill was £3,800. Casey's mum doesn't understand why they received no further warnings regarding the overage charges while Orange insists multiple messages were sent. Not only that, but the company also asked Casey if she wanted to use data despite going over her limit and she supposedly clicked 'yes.' Orange says they have a number of protections in place when roaming, and that they're even automatically opted-in to a data roaming cap that limits charges to £49 for a set amount of data.

"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, and also updated them on their data usage. Once they had reached the limit of their data bundle, the customer actively opted out of our roaming data cap so that they could continue to use data, effectively removing the in-built protection from large data roaming bills."

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. They also want to know why they didn't receive more warnings from Orange.

Create a new thread in the US News comments forum about this subject
This thread is closed for comments
40 comments
    Your comment
    Top Comments
  • jessterman21
    "Impossible that my 14-year-old is lying! I demand recompense!"
    35
  • TeraMedia
    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.
    21
  • 06yfz450ridr
    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
    11
  • Other Comments
  • hixbot
    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.
    8
  • 06yfz450ridr
    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
    11
  • virtualban
    Pre-paid plans don't look so bad now...
    6