Canadian Man's Phone Bill Costs More Than A BMW M5 - InformationWeek

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Commentary
12/14/2007
09:30 AM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
Commentary
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Canadian Man's Phone Bill Costs More Than A BMW M5

Some poor Calgary man thought the $10 unlimited mobile browser plan he subscribed to meant he could tether his phone to his laptop and download movies. So he was rather shocked when he received a phone bill for $85,000 in the mail -- more than the price tag of one of Germany's finest sports sedans.

Some poor Calgary man thought the $10 unlimited mobile browser plan he subscribed to meant he could tether his phone to his laptop and download movies. So he was rather shocked when he received a phone bill for $85,000 in the mail -- more than the price tag of one of Germany's finest sports sedans.If you thought those $3,000 iPhone roaming bills were exorbitant, 22-year-old Piotr Staniaszek of Calgary, Canada, is much worse off. Apparently he recently renewed his phone contract with Canadian network operator Bell Mobility. Along with the new phone, he subscribed to a data plan. One which he thought was totally unlimited. Turns out that wasn't the case.

I don't know what Staniaszek does for a living, but the report I read said he was bored at work and thought to pass the time, he'd download some movies from the Internet and watch them on his PC. So he tethered the two and used his phone's wireless data capabilities to download high-definition movies. This was strictly forbidden in the fine print of his contract -- omething he obviously didn't read.

About 10 days ago, a $60,000 phone bill arrived at his parent's house. When Staniaszek called to complain, he was told that the total bill had risen to $85,000 because he was being charged by the kilobyte.

In an interview, Staniaszek said, "I told them I wasn't aware that I would be charged for hooking up my phone to the computer. I'm going to try and fight it because I didn't know about the extra charges. Nobody explained any of this to me."

Bell Mobility agreed to reduce the charges to $3,243 in a gesture of goodwill, but that's not enough for Staniaszek. He's vowed to fight the company until the bill is dropped entirely, even though he did download gigabytes worth of movies. Bell Mobility has said that Staniaszek should have known that using his phone as a modem fell outside of the normal data usage expected for a $10-per-month plan.

I don't know about you, but if I am going to spend $85,000 on something, it sure as heck ain't gonna be downloading movies over my phone. This should also be a warning signal to IT managers out there. Make sure your employees can't get themselves into similar trouble by implementing software to block such downloads.

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