What happened to my $29,000.00 cellphone bill?

So prior to travelling to Europe for a pro-longed period of time, I got one of those neat 3G wireless modem doohickies all the kids are talking about. Within less than a month of usage, I had racked up nearly $30,000.00 in data roaming charges. I didn’t particularly care as I’m not returning to the country in question in the foreseeable future and I consider such a bill to be quite ludicrous in any event.

So fast forward a few weeks, and here is where things get weird: not only has my $29,000 bill vanished, but it has been replaced by nearly $800 in credit (I haven’t paid the company a penny in months). I promptly called the company and requested a cheque be issued for my account credit.

So my primary question here is what on earth could have caused their computer to credit me all this money? And can I legally accept the money? I dare not call them and demand they investigate the situation, but I would rather like to know what happened.

any thoughts?

Dunno, but I wish some of my bills got transmogrified to credits in the same way. Where do I sign up?

I’d be careful if I was you.

Interpol arent always the impotent fools we like to think they are.

Maybe they’ll want you to pick up the check in person, like Homer Simpson picking up his free boat.

billfish: I have not done anything illegal, and interpol only works on behalf of other police agencies.

Travelling to Europe from where?.

from north america.

I can’t speak as to your jurisdiction and all that, but I’m pretty sure that knowingly accepting money from a billing error like this is usually fraud. But accepting a service with no intention of paying the bill for it is theft of services, so the ship has already sailed (ethically and legally) on you being the good guy here.

Do you recall putting down a $30,000 deposit?

got a cite for any north american jurisdiction where you know that to be true?

what about the company simply zeroing out the bill? was i legally obligated to call them and say “oh by the way, you seem to have forgotten about the 30k you had wanted before?”

Wild wild guess… Maybe their billing software is programed in 16bit, so once you hit a bill of 32,767, it rolled over to -32,768. You then used about $32,000 worth of service more before you noticed it, and hence found out you had a $800 credit…

Doubtful, but would explain things…

How in the world did you manange to run up a $29,000 bill in one month?


Both are on a scale much larger than $800, of course, but the concept’s the same.

EDIT: Whoops, the second one’s not North American. Oh well.

3 cents per kilobyte…download a couple tv shows and you’re toast!

Hell, I recall a story where a guy thought he had unlimited data download and downloaded just ONE “big football game”. It ended up being a six or seven digit bill. Fortunate for him, he could show he acted in good faith and the company did not push the issue.

As for the OP, they may or may not be as in the clear as they think they are.

You really need a cite that running up a bill you never intend to pay or take money that was never rightfully yours is “illegal” ? :rolleyes:

As I understand it, you had a US-based wireless contract and obtained a device from your domestic carrier prior to your trip to Europe. Then, you returned home to a $30,000 bill. Is that correct? If so, I don’t see that it’s relevant that you’re not returning to the country in question. I think you’d still owe the bill to your domestic carrier.

A guy I work with had something similar in the “big bill” category happen to him.

We work for a large company. They started a program with “Company S” that was supposed to be “a good deal” for us. He got one of the wireless cards. Two months later he got a bill for something like $210,000 (This isn’t an “I heard” - I saw the bill)

We believe what happened was “S” issued the company a sizeable stock of the modems for distribution as needed. They were sitting in a warehouse somewhere and unbeknownst to the company the meter was running. My co-worker was the first person to sign up for an online account, and we believe he got one bill for several months of all the modems.

Furious, he turned the modem in. Since he had it for more than 30 days the only way they could ‘correct’ the bill was to have “S” keep the account alive and issue a credit every month for the term of the account (1 year?) Then he had to setup another account for just his cell phone. While he ends up paying the correct account, all this activity somehow shows up on his credit card history, which I suspect could be a problem someday. (Or it was something complex like that)

The guy who was billed a large amount for a FB game was on a cruise ship. He had unlimited data on his phone and the ship was in port. His phone connected to the ship phone system, not the normal cell phone network and that’s why he got a super high bill.

Well. It could do wonders for his credit history. Who couldnt love a guy who paid off a 200k bill in short order with no complaint from the company he “owed” it to? :slight_smile: