There are many stories of bill shock, but this one might take the cake.
The ABC reports a Victorian man who received a mobile phone bill for more than $191,000 has won a three-year legal battle against his telecommunications provider to avoid the massive charge.
Software executive Kim Beveridge, who was ironically attending a mobile phone conference in Barcelona, did the right thing by contacting his provider TeleChoice before the 2014 overseas trip to setup a capped roaming service.
However, his handset was stolen during a night out in Spain and during the 20 hours in between the theft and the freezing of his account, the thieves reportedly racked up 4,484 calls equating to 1,161 hours of voice, plus “thousands” of text messages.
The numbers simply don’t add up.
According to the ABC, Beveridge’s SIM card is suspected to have been used by scammers to execute a mass-communications scheme.
After he received the bill, Beveridge contacted the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman, who told him they couldn’t intervene in cases worth more than $50,000. The matter then went through the courts as TeleChoice, a Telstra network reseller, fought to claim the entire bill.
The County Court of Victoria ruled the telco’s claim for the entire amount “unconscionable”. TeleChoice then reduced its claim to $34,000, but lost that case as well.
The Victorian Supreme Court last month then made a final ruling in Beveridge’s favour.
“It’s been a long battle,” Beveridge told the ABC.
He also changed the way he uses his mobile when overseas.
“All of my family has switched to a prepaid service. You know what you’re up for and it’ll be cut off after your balance is reached,” he said.