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Teen runs up $6K mobile bill using Facebook

new york english girl “data roaming” function massive withdrawal orange customers numerous text alerts

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#1 Hum

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 21:41

Casey Snook, a 14-year-old girl from England, unknowingly racked up a $6,000 phone bill by uploading photos to Facebook while on vacation in New York City, according to a story published Friday in the New York Post.

During the five-day trip with her mother, Kate Snook, Casey snapped photos of the Empire State Building, Times Square, Grand Central Station, and Central Park. Eager to share her travels with her friends, she uploaded the photos to Facebook. But since Casey hadn’t blocked her “data roaming” function, all that time spent on the Internet added up.

According to the Post, the family only found out about the phone bill only when Casey’s father, Victor (whose name was on the cell phone account), called Kate to tell her that the UK phone company Orange had made a massive withdrawal on his bank account.

The Post reports that Kate and Victor have arranged a payment plan to settle the bill but claim that Orange didn’t provide their daughter with a clear warning signal that she was incurring such charges or attempt to contact Victor. Says Kate, “I can’t believe that a company would let a bill which is usually [$75] get up to that level,” said Kate.

an Orange rep wrote:

“We know our customers want to use their smartphones while on holiday without the worry of a big bill at the end. That’s why we offer a number of services, such as roaming bundles, which allow travelers to use data overseas and control the cost. All Orange customers have a number of protections in place — customers are even automatically opted-in to a roaming data cap, which limits their charges to £49 ($74) 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. 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 inbuilt protection from large data roaming bills.”

 

"If you know for sure that you won’t be using your phone, simply turn off your phone’s roaming data by clicking on “Settings,” “General,”“Cellular,” and “Data Roaming Off.”

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#2 McKay

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 21:44

Wow, I'm on Orange and within seconds of me turning my phone on in America I received a text telling me how much it would cost to do anything. And every Smartphone I've ever owned has had Data Roaming turned off by default.



#3 theyarecomingforyou

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 21:48

I've been stung by huge bills my mobile providers without being given a single warning, though nothing as large as this. This sort of behaviour should be illegal. There's no way that it costs that much to provide that service, meaning that providers are simply screwing over customers because they can. Not enough is being done to protect consumers from abusive business practices.



#4 wv@gt

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 21:56

Thats odd, I always get a notification when I am data roaming usually email or text from Tmobile. With my data plan on Tmobile I am set to 10mb of data roaming and if I hit the limit it automatically cuts my data off



#5 Top Qat

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 23:44

When I got the phones for my kids I got contracts that have capped allowances.
They simply cannot talk/text/surf over the given allowances. No surprise bills, just a fixed monthly cost.
Allowances are more than enough, never had any complaints from the kids.

There is no way I would go for an uncapped contract for kids, that's asking for trouble.