Teen sends 10,000 texts with no messaging plan

It's not uncommon for teenagers to have cell phones as it seems nearly everyone has one these days. When a loving parent gave his teenage daughter a cell phone he thought was doing the right thing.

His daughter managed to send 10,000 text messages and receive about the same amount in one billing cycle. Most of the text messages were sent during school hours which equates to about 300 per day during an 8 hour period.

"She went from A's and B's one semester to F's in two months," and after receiving a $4,756.25 cell phone bill the father took a hammer to his daughters phone and grounded her for the rest of the school year.

It's hard to say who is to blame here; the parents when setting up the phone account asked that text messaging be blocked. Its obvious that the block was never put in place but should have the parents been responsible to check that? Either way Verizon has agreed to knock down the bill to a more reasonable level but the final amount has not been disclosed.

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I can't begin to imagine what it was like for the parents to get a $5K phone bill, especially if they thought that they had a texting plan that, while not unlimited, was at least comprehensive. Talk about shock! Without debating the appropriateness of the volume of the rampant texting, I get particularly riled when parents are stuck with huge bills; I hear about this all the time because I work for the consumer advocacy website http://www.fixmycellbill.com, powered by a company called Validas, where we slash the average cell bill by 22 percent. People like the this family may not have been actively misled by their providers, but they were clearly unaware of the vulnerability of their cell plans to their kids' texting habits. I could go on and on about how shifty these cell companies can be in their attempts to make you overpay. I'll mention that at Validas, we stop them and have currently put over $5,000,000 back in the pockets of consumers. You can check out Validas's fixmycellbill.com in the national news media, most recently on Good Morning America at http://www.abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=6887412&page=1.

Good luck to everyone trying to cut your wireless expenses in this rough economy.

Dylan

*shrugs* People are making a huge number of assumptions. But that was what the internet was designed for...making stupid ass comments on things that they don't have all the facts on. Ignore the parents, ignore Verizon. Lets focus on the one key thing in all of this.....10,000 fracking messages. Now I know that I can easily blow threw 30 in 10 minutes with a simple back and forth chat with someone. But 10,000? That girl needs therapy.

If they asked for text messages to be blocked, then text messages should've been blocked. My parents have AT&T and have their text messages blocked. I once tried to message them forgetting this, and they never got it.

And yes Alexo, perhaps it is a better idea to give teenagers pay-as-you-go service (what we call your "kart").

Well, I don't know what to say but..
Here (Egypt) NO SINGLE TEEN use that sort of unlimited service (called "Khat" or "Line" ), they all use the service of rechargeable cards ("Kart" ), so you have for example 10$ credit, after it finish you can't talk or send SMS until you charge again using a recharge card you buy from shop or charge credit directly on-the-fly from special shops, and so on, so that that sort of disaster don't happen.

Lol. I can't believe there are people defending Verizon! Who hasn't had some minute or text overages and just had them up the plan and pro-rate the charges? Anyone who has worked at for one of these companies knows that $4000 isn't worth the bad publicity. Its all about market share, and Verizon is losing ground.

Plus salesmen screw up all the time, its no big deal.

Why should the kids take any responsibility? Verizon will go after the parents to pay. There is absolutely no incentive for the kids to anything other then what they want to. These cell phone companies LOVE this type of behavior. It cost the cell phone companies absolutely NOTHING for text messaging. I really don't understand WHY in the hell people are putting up with paying for texting when there is no associated cost from ANYONE to send a text message.

Verizon is at fault here. The parents thought text-messaging was blocked. Anyway, why is it that teenage girls love to text message? I've had my phone since February of 2008 and I sent/received a total of 1500 text messages.

Anaron said,
Verizon is at fault here. The parents thought text-messaging was blocked. Anyway, why is it that teenage girls love to text message? I've had my phone since February of 2008 and I sent/received a total of 1500 text messages.


BUT wouldnt you think they would of saw her ALWAYS on her cell phone pressing buttons and thought texting?!... then wondered why she was able to do it?

Supposedly it was only at school, at least according to the article which how much of it can you trust? I highly doubt Verizon will charge them for it, but I don't think the daughter will be getting a cellphone any time soon.

I can't even get 100 texts in a month even if I try my hardest to waste them. Hearing someone's voice simply works better lol.

neufuse said,
BUT wouldnt you think they would of saw her ALWAYS on her cell phone pressing buttons and thought texting?!... then wondered why she was able to do it?

maybe they thought she was playing frozen bubble...

my teen 2 weeks into the billin cycle


( Start Date: 03/27/09 - End Date: 04/26/09 )
Text Messages Whenever Messages Unlimited 5,430.0 Unlimited

Verizon usually lets you backdate your TXTing plan to help save you money...you'd think they'd do that in this case to help keep her phone number active. They've always let me do that...

When I originally got my Blackberry last November, I thought I'd been signed up for the unlimited TXTing/picture messaging plan. Well, I apparently hadn't, and I was billed for about $30 in TXT charges. I called up, and they were happy to backdate it. They allowed me to upgrade my TXT'ing plan a couple years ago when I went over, too.

So, I don't understand why they wouldn't allow her to get a TXTing plan to keep her on as a customer. I'm guessing they didn't want to do this because they thought they were making more money off of her up front than what they could for a few years...sad.

The worst part of this is that text messages cost the network providers themselves next to nothing because of the way they're sent- they're "attached" to signals routinely sent between the phone and provider, so no extra signalling needed, but still they rip us off (see above)

and with that out of the way, how could the school miss that? I mean 300 texts per day...surely she would have been texting almost constantly in most lessons?

I like how the company can notify in various formats about being delinquent in paying a bill over $100, but won't lift a finger when your account goes over $500 in a month, let alone over $4,000. wtf?

Teens are in a war on who can text the most and get the biggest bill ever. Parents need to monitor their teens especially if they have their own cell phones for un-necessary use of texts messaging and downloads. It's clear these teenagers could care less.

during school hours??? what are they DEAF?? cant they talk during the break/recess or sometime during class or after school? i blame the parents and lack of communications to their daughter.

Friend of mine asked Cingular (back when they were Cingular) to block texts/internet on his phone. They didn't and he got a text, he was mad. He called and asked them again, documenting their info. AGAIN they didn't. So he called and spoke to a super, gave the customer service reps info and got a month free because they kept screwing up.

So the parents asked for a block and Verizon didn't do it and the post asks who's fault it is? Let's think, Duh!

This sort of thing happens all the time so how is this possibly front page news?

almost $5k phone bill? at 10 cents a message (what verizon is charging me for a no text message plan) thats only $2,000 for text messages, where did the other $2,700 come from?

anyways, verizon has a user page called "My Verizon" which you can um CHECK to see if you have text messageing disabled, it's one of their options... how about checking it when you buy a phone to MAKE SURE?!

neufuse said,
almost $5k phone bill? at 10 cents a message (what verizon is charging me for a no text message plan) thats only $2,000 for text messages, where did the other $2,700 come from?

anyways, verizon has a user page called "My Verizon" which you can um CHECK to see if you have text messageing disabled, it's one of their options... how about checking it when you buy a phone to MAKE SURE?!

I thought Verizon charged more than that for messages. This is from their TOS page:

Standard text messaging charge of $0.20/message applies to messages sent and received

http://support.vzw.com/terms/txt_messaging.html

splur said,
Verizon charges more than 0.10$ per message and they charge for incoming too don't they?

Well I am just going by what they charge me, she might have an older plan or a newer one then me...

My stepmother thought that she setup her daughter's cell phone plan to NOT have text messaging and BLOCK text messaging. She was very specific to Verizon Wireless on this. They did not set this up, as we tested it between her and my phones and it was obviously not blocked. She calls them again, they say the block is in place. We test it, obviously not in place. She has to elevate it to T3 support and then wait a few days for them to figure out how to block it.

ridiculous, a text message costs the carrier absolutely no money whatsoever. I can't believe they can still justify charging customers this much money.

psybapunk said,
ridiculous, a text message costs the carrier absolutely no money whatsoever. I can't believe they can still justify charging customers this much money.

That's completely wrong. When you send a text, you are not being charged for the amount of millwatts it takes to include the message in the Header signals, you are paying for the cost of maintaining the cell network, Employees, Contractors, Administration Costs/Overhead, R&D, etc. and to the Shareholders that make it all possible for that Message to be sent.

yet another reason to hate companys. I mean it should have been that once the texts cost became = to the monthly plan for unlimited it should have charged for unlimited instead of ala cart.

Theres no point in giving a young person a mobile phone and blocking texts. Just no point. :p

My sister doesn't even answer her phone. For all she cares it's just a text messaging device, and that's all itll ever be. She responds to texts though. Constantly.

I have verizon and when i added my niece to my plan, she started texting like crazy and we didn't have unlimited txt yet. so i received a call from a verizon person to let me know the high volume of txt from that particular line and recommended me a unlimited txt plan.
I thought that was very professional from them

Who's fault? It's the damn daughter's fault. Why do kids get away with everything these days? Even if it were supposed to be blocked, she should've known that and she should've asked about it rather than taking full advantage of it. It's like the bank vault door was open... I didn't know I wasn't supposed to steal all that money? How much money? 2.5 trillion?

Who the HELL sends 10,000 text messages in ONE MONTH!? Did her parents get her a Blackberry Curve which came with a job as CFO at an international corporation? It's her god damn fault.

It's hard to say who is to blame here
No it isn't. Verizon should have had the block in place and therefore must not charge for the texts. Not hard to figure out.

That said, you have to wonder how a kid could send over 300 texts a day without her parents ever noticing. It amazes me to see the sense of self-importance kids have today. When they hit the real world they are in for a shocking surprise.

This. If she can send THAT many texts without her parents even noticing, how well are the parents even paying attention to their child?

While Verizon SHOULD have had it blocked, I don't understand how the parents could let that go unnoticed. Then again, many parents have that "I don't care" attitude, at least until it becomes an inconvenience to the parent.

Text messaging is a very profitable scam run by the cell carrier companies. The text messages are sent on a free reserved data portion of the of a data packet; which the phone uses regardless to communicate with the network.

"The text messages utilize a reserved field in the header of packets which transmit other types of data"

That's a quote from one of the comments but I also confirmed the same with friends that work in the industry and service actual cell towers.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-10784_3-9982251-7.html

If it's in writing then Verizon should eat the text messaging costs. I suspect they do this on purpose, just like the cable cable company giving away free HBO for a weekend to get you hooked.

The parent should have tested the phone first. Trust but verify.

Unless the girl is brain damaged she is more at fault than anyone.

schwit said,
Unless the girl is brain damaged she is more at fault than anyone.

You have to be brain damaged to send all those messages in such a short period of time :P

This is one reason why none of my kids are getting cell phones until they leave my house. Teens are way too irresponsible to have cell phones

briangw said,
This is one reason why none of my kids are getting cell phones until they leave my house. Teens are way too irresponsible to have cell phones


Exaggeration...

I think people are overlooking the fact of how many texts she sent. That's just insane.

Get a life much?

My employer had a similar problem with his teenage daughter last year. When she got the phone, they told her text messaging was included, but, it was mobile to mobile IN NETWORK. Well, being a typical teenager, all she probably heard was text messaging included. Her boyfriend was out of network. So, when they got a 400 dollar bill just for her text messages, they did the right thing. The last day of school, her phone was taken away, and she had to "work off" the amount of the bill by doing filing work and other jobs around the office. They didn't really "pay her" but she was "paid" minimum wage and worked until the bill was paid off, which was ALL SUMMER. She had no cell phone until about a week before school started in the fall. Personally, I think this was the BEST thing they could have done. Should have taught her a valuable lesson.

Man I soooooo misread that. I saw "work off" and misread "filing" for "filming".

Oh dear, I need to goto sleep.

In the early unlimited text message days I used to send like 300 messages per month and thought it was too much and that I was just too popular. Crap.

All I can see from this is one persons word against another.

I used to work in the retail industry for 6 years and the amount of times a customer cocked up and ordered the wrong thing but blamed us was unreal.

Customers will never admit when they get it wrong and will almost always blame the company and lie about what they asked for in order to get a discount.

Don't believe what the father claims. I have the opinion he most likely forgot to ask for it to be blocked but doesn't want to admit it for obvious reasons.

I'm surprised the supplier has agreed to lower the bill and he should count himself lucky and thank them for that. If I was the dad I would make his daughter pay for it either by working it off over time or making her pay it back with interest when she leaves school and gets a job.

The old adage, the customer is always right. I never agreed with it, but it has to be followed. Also, I am ok with Verizon lowering the bill since text cost nearly nothing and is pure profit for the company. From the sound of the article, they did not remove all the charges so Verizon is still going to make good profit on this bill.

How can anyone blame verizon for this?? WTH? Thats like blaming Ford for you driving a mustang into a tree cause you wanted to for fun. The girls fingers were going a mile a second on that phone like most do now. I'd start with the father for not thinking checking the block on the phone but only a fraction of the blame cause the girl is at fault the most for not doing what she was supposed to...I'd guess she's around 15 or 16 and at this point the teen can use a little bit of judgement and maintain good grades. Good to see the father take the step in destroying the phone but the bill isn't his.. its her's, time for a part time job after school while she gets her grades up!

sava700 said,
How can anyone blame verizon for this?? WTH? Thats like blaming Ford for you driving a mustang into a tree cause you wanted to for fun. The girls fingers were going a mile a second on that phone like most do now. I'd start with the father for not thinking about putting the block on the phone but only a fraction of the blame cause the girl is at fault the most for not doing what she was supposed to...I'd guess she's around 15 or 16 and at this point the teen can use a little bit of judgement and maintain good grades. Good to see the father take the step in destroying the phone but the bill isn't his.. its her's, time for a part time after school job while she gets her grades up!

Not like the father did not tell his child NOT to do it anyways...if the kid would have just listened, it would not have happened in the first place.

How is she even allowed to txt during school anyways? Sounds like the school should takes some steps here as well...ban them during school hours. Something. If she is doing worse in school, it would be clear that she is not paying attention during class....do the teachers not notice her looking down all the time instead of paying attention lol.

bdsams said,
did you even read the article? they asked to have text messaging blocked


They "claimed" to have asked ;)

When you sign up for service, you are given a Customer Agreement. On this agreement, EVERYTHING is listed including any text blocks. If consumers would take 1 minute before leaving the store to read over it, they would have noticed Text Block is not on there. Sales reps deal with lots of people each day which is why there is a paper trail to prevent this. If the customer requested it, yes it should have been put on there, but the customer also should have read over the Legally binding agreement they signed

stooley said,
If consumers would take 1 minute before leaving the store to read over it, they would have noticed Text Block is not on there.

I don't know how fast you can read, but it takes a lot longer than one minute to read the agreement. ;)

I do agree though that not following up to see if the block is in place, if they did indeed ask for the block, puts most of the responsibility on the parent.

bdsams said,
did you even read the article? they asked to have text messaging blocked

but all that girl would need to have to reactivate texts is the last 4 of hey dads social security number and say(in a deep voice) yeha id like oto reactivate text messaging


another option. i think they offer unlimited texting for 20 dollars a month. cant they just make that retroactive.. which means they didnt add it on to their plan until today but it would appear to been on there since the beginning of the month.... covering their ass for all those texts

this is the verizion version of the 10k dollar at&t iphone bill lol


Also, banning cell phones at school is simply not possible. Today's text-addict teens can and will find ways to get around the bans. A lot of schools in my areas have metal detectors, and yet most of the kids in them still manage to sneak in cell phones and text.

If blocking text messaging was requested, I don't see how Verizon can charge for text messaging then. It is ridiculous if it is written somewhere black and white that blocking text messaging was requested by a customer, and then later charge that very customer for text messaging. Unless of course, it was merely a verbal request and he did not see it written down anywhere, then it is one's word against another's.

Shokus said,
If blocking text messaging was requested, I don't see how Verizon can charge for text messaging then. It is ridiculous if it is written somewhere black and white that blocking text messaging was requested by a customer, and then later charge that very customer for text messaging. Unless of course, it was merely a verbal request and he did not see it written down anywhere, then it is one's word against another's.


I am in the industry...I know how people are. Once they see a huge bill, then they will say whatever it takes to get a credit. First thing they will obviously say is I requested a package and it was not added or I wanted it blocked and it was not put on........don't jump to conclusions and blame the carrier. At least they are working with this guy on it.

Most carriers, including verizon, allow you to check your current usage at any point via your phone or the web and I honestly believe that consumers should take advantage of these free tools. If he would have taken 2 minutes to check the usage, it would have been identified early and taken care of.

I did mention that it has to be black and white. If not, it is merely one man's word against another which I doubt would stand in court. I didn't "jump to conclusions" as you claimed. =/

Shokus said,
I did mention that it has to be black and white. If not, it is merely one man's word against another which I doubt would stand in court. I didn't "jump to conclusions" as you claimed. =/

But lets be real they asked for something and were told that they got it
I also have worked in the industry and your job is to save your company's bottom line In reality Verizon or *put your provider hear* does not give a sh*t about you ofcorse they are going to try and SPLIT the bill with you because its more profitable for them once you sign that contract you ars is theirs this is why I love T-mobile in the USA I pay month to month and get all the bells and whistles that every one else gets with out a 1-2 year thumb up my ass

Read his comment. They asked for text messaging to be blocked, and it should have been blocked. Who cares if the parents didn't know? They assumed Verizon had complied with their wishes, which wasn't the case.

Chris-Gonzales said,
read the story. they didn't know she was texting.

Maybe you should read his comment...

If I purchased a house to be built with phone lines installed, and cable in every room, should I have to knock down the walls just to make sure they were installed correctly? Nope, it's the providers responsibility to make sure features are enable or disabled at your request.

oops, I'd say it's the parents to blame for not considering teenagers love to text & talk, don't take a block for granted - get a deal.

Here in the UK, the deals are staggering, I got a free Sony PS3, a nice free Sony phone, £15 a month contract with 10,000 minutes and unlimited text messages - it would be hard for me to EVER have a bill more than £15 a month.

If people don't shop around, it's gonna cost.

Exosphere said,
oops, I'd say it's the parents to blame for not considering teenagers love to text & talk, don't take a block for granted - get a deal.

Here in the UK, the deals are staggering, I got a free Sony PS3, a nice free Sony phone, £15 a month contract with 10,000 minutes and unlimited text messages - it would be hard for me to EVER have a bill more than £15 a month.

If people don't shop around, it's gonna cost.

Yeah, a deal like that is unheard of in the US.

episode said,


Yeah, a deal like that is unheard of in the US.


A deal like that is normally unheard of in the UK too, the average is around £35 for ~600 mins and 1000 texts, and most the offers with free PS3s etc are £45/month. There are, however, deals if you really hunt.

UKer said,
A deal like that is normally unheard of in the UK too, the average is around £35 for ~600 mins and 1000 texts, and most the offers with free PS3s etc are £45/month. There are, however, deals if you really hunt.

Dunno where & when you looked (possibly only the shops), but those averages were typical for mid-2008, have you looked recently?
Even a simple 30 day contract is £20, with 600 minutes, unlimited text and FREE mobile internet, if you've been with the same phone company for more than 12 months, often they'll drop the price further.

I find that contract very hard to believe, how about giving us a link or tell us what contract your on or something so we can all enjoy that amazing deal?

SIE said,
I find that contract very hard to believe, how about giving us a link or tell us what contract your on or something so we can all enjoy that amazing deal?

Well, I have a £15/mth 30-day contract (didn't come with a phone), which is 200 minutes and unlimited texts... So that doesn't sound too unbelievable to me. It's on Vodafone... £5 extra for mobile internet, and I'm good to go.

Esvandiary said,
Well, I have a £15/mth 30-day contract (didn't come with a phone), which is 200 minutes and unlimited texts... So that doesn't sound too unbelievable to me. It's on Vodafone... £5 extra for mobile internet, and I'm good to go. :)

10,000 minutes plus a PS3 and phone for £15 a month, that cost wouldn't even cover the PS3.
Theres a massive diffrence between 200 and 10,000 minutes.

SIE said,
10,000 minutes plus a PS3 and phone for £15 a month, that cost wouldn't even cover the PS3.
Theres a massive diffrence between 200 and 10,000 minutes.

Apologies, I thought you were replying to another comment.
Yes, that does sound rather nice...

To me it seems both Verizon and the parents fault. The parent should of checked to make sure the block was in place and notified Verizon if it wasn't. It's not completely Verizon's fault as they have who knows how many customers and they aren't going to notice a "little" mistake like that. Still, at least they are being good about it, it could of been alot worse.

what's ludicrous here is $4,756.25 should be $0.00, it doesn't cost phone companies a dime to support this feature.

also most schools ban cell phones in the classroom, so while Verizon made the slip up, it's the parent's and school's fault for allowing TXTing to happen.

Xerxes said,
To me it seems both Verizon and the parents fault. The parent should of checked to make sure the block was in place and notified Verizon if it wasn't. It's not completely Verizon's fault as they have who knows how many customers and they aren't going to notice a "little" mistake like that. Still, at least they are being good about it, it could of been alot worse.

The burden of responsibility in this case lays squarely on Verizon's shoulders, they were responsible for ensuring the block was in place.
I am sure the customers signed a contract stating that such a block would be included. So an effective breach of contract.

They'd have to attempt to send a text message from their phone to see if it's being blocked. Is the block initiated on the UI of the the phone or from the backend (their carrier)? My phone has no mechanism to stop text messaging so I assume it's handled on the carrier's end.

it's verizons fault for not doing what the parents requesting and disabling features on the phone. I had to disable the internet on my phone to prevent usage charges that the iphone automatically uses.

Xerxes said,
To me it seems both Verizon and the parents fault.

Don't forget the teenager too. I'm pretty sure someone of that age is able to comprehend what they are doing. They were also probably aware already that the parents hadn't wanted her sending the messages.

Now Verizon should cover the bill for not meeting their end of the arrangement, but I wouldn't overlook the kids role in all this too.

lylesback2 said,
Sounds like verizons fault, they should pay the bill


For what it's worth - I had the same problem with my daughter. Luckily she's more responsible and didn't go nuts with text messages but we asked Sprint to turn off text messaging when we added the line. We thought it was all taken care of until my wife got a text message from her.

I wonder if the carriers do this on purpose. They want kids to use text messaging so it continues to be "cool" and "hip". At the same time the carriers continue to rake in the money.