Call this a cautionary tale for the digital age.A Canadian father made headlines this week after his kids somehow managed to rack up a $10,000 bill by watching a few Netflix movies.
John Gibson told CBS News he kept his tots occupied during a family road trip to Phoenix, Ariz. by letting them stream a few flicks from a laptop.
He’d outfitted the computer with a mobile wireless card from SaskTel, which gave them access to the Web on the road.
“They’d watch a movie in the afternoon and I saw them doing it and never gave it a second thought,” Gibson said.
That was until he was billed more than $10,000 from SaskTel for data roaming charges. As it turned out, once he crossed the border into the states, he unknowingly left SaskTel’s service area and instantly started racking up charges.
“Old guys like me just aren’t up to speed on technology and what these things are capable of doing … without you even realising it,” he said.
In the end, Gibson managed to talk the company into knocking off the bulk of his bill, but he still has to come up with $1,000.
To keep yourself from making the same mistake, be sure to turn off your Internet connection if you’re hitting the road with a laptop or mobile phone. Some devices are automatically set to connect to the Web wherever you go, and most providers have roaming fees.
If you’ve got to have mobile access while travelling internationally, try picking up a prepaid Wi-Fi card for you laptop, which are sold by most cell phone carriers.