We’ve all gotten a utility bill that was larger than we were expecting. A $250 electricity bill here. A $100 gas bill there. This family got one, too. Except, it was a cell phone bill for more than $200,000.
Celina Aarons, who lives in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area, has five brothers and sisters, two of whom are mute and deaf. So she helps them out with basic tasks, including putting them on her phone plan.
Her brother Shamir recently took a trip to Canada. But as he was visiting, he didn’t turn his data roaming off. He texted more than 2,000 times. He downloaded videos. A lot of them.
A few weeks later, Celina got her bill. The amount? $201,005.44. Just a bit higher than her normal bill of $175.
“I was freaking out,” Celina told WSVN 7 News in Miami/Fort Lauderdale. “I was shaking, crying. I couldn’t even talk that much on the phone. I was like, ‘My life is over!’”
There was no way she could pay it. It’d be like buying another house. So she contacted the phone company, T-Mobile, and told of her situation. They were remarkably accommodating, even though they had sent repeated messages to Shamir letting him know of the charges he was ringing up. But T-Mobile still reduced those charges to $2,500 and gave her six months to pay them, according to WSVN.
So remember – if you’re traveling, turn data roaming off; limit your text messages; and remember that the latest YouTube cat videos can wait until you get home.