Dad Argues $22,000 Data Roaming Bill Down to $200, Releases How-To Guide


Remember the dad whose son ran up $22,000 in data roaming charges down in Mexico? Well, he has finally managed to negotiate the final bill down to $200 with Fido, reports the CBC.

Buie refused to pay, and argued all the way up to the office of the president at Fido, which is owned by Rogers. The company eventually settled, and reduced Buie’s bill to $200.

Despite the cost in time and stress, Buie considers it a victory.

“This has taken six weeks of my time,” Buie said. “It’s not about the money. It’s the principle and fair play.”

Originally his bill was reduced to $2,200 by Fido, but Buie’s persistence over over a month and a half has paid off. He wants Canadian carriers to cap roaming charges once they reach a certain threshold, and only to continue should users authorize the excess charges, similar to practices by telcos in Europe.

Part of Buie’s journey resulted in him collaborating with to release a tool kit for ‘mistreated’ cell phone users, that provides step-by-step instructions on how to negotiate with wireless carriers. The guide is based around the example of Buie’s data roaming charges.


Here is an excerpt from the first three steps:

1. Call in to your provider and speak to them about billing issues, make sure you speak to customer service and have not been transferred to accounts receivable.

2. Understand that in 90% of cases, the maximum offer that a first line agent can offer you is a 50% reduction of overages. If this is not satisfactory, make sure to escalate the request to a supervisor or manager.

3. When dealing with the supervisor, calmly explain the situation, i.e.; “Sir/Madam, I have been charged $22,000 for using data while roaming. I was never notified that the charges were mounting until it was too late and I find it unfair that I am being held responsible, when you ultimately had control of the situation and could have notified me of the impending charges.”

A supervisor’s goal at this point is to work with your to resolve this issue AS FAST AS POSSIBLE, remember that every minute on the phone dealing with these issues costs the providers.

Have you ever had to call in and negotiate excessive data roaming charges? What do you think about Buie’s situation?


  • gtasscarlo

    I think roaming is up to the customer to be aware. Having said that, it is not fair that companies can charge you $31,000/1GB of data for roaming. Remember Telus, customers don’t want a cap on their roaming bill. I don’t think a crazy bill is in order for roaming. If you get dinged $200 for 700mb of data, while that is high, I don’t think it’s that crazy. I mean the markup is insane still. But it’s better then $22,000.

  • What an ass.

    Do the crime, pay the fine. It’s very clear what mobile charges are. As a Fido customer, I am none to thrilled at having to subsidize Mr Buie’s vacation data charges.

    I am headed to Scotland this spring. Should I just tweet my way stupid for a week and then whine when I come home?

    NO. I will buy a local SIM. I will turn my phone off. I will find WIFI.

    Mr Buie is a tragic example of entitlement. While I agree we are hosed with mobile fees, bitching about it after the fact proves him to be spoiled, and little more.

  • Werner

    Why even have charges if you’re not going to enforce them? And publicizing a guide? Fidos gonna regret this as I’m sure they’ll be getting a lot of calls in for bill reductions

  • Yeah going to the media to get bailed out…it seems to always work as carriers don’t want to deal with even more negative press. Just gets nasty as we hear about this all the time.

    Data Roaming is OFF by default within iOS settings. Someone made the decision to turn it on.

  • Simon B

    Absolutely agree with what you said about Mr Buie’s sense of customer entitlement. As much as I disagree with the initial $22,000 bill, pursuing the case further by utilizing the media to bully Fido into further reducing his bill is just a step too far, since it is his or his son’s mistake in the first place. There are so many different steps that he could have taken to ensure that data roaming is OFF and perhaps even reminding his son to not use any data services while they were on vacation. I fail to see how he was being “mistreated” when Fido did not even pursue with the $22,000 which they could have.

    And I just don’t buy what Mr. Buie said. This is ALL about the money.

  • Yurasis Dragon

    This should be called “How to recover from your stupidity.”

  • K3

    .. the tarantula with the tequila was responsible. “Daddy look it’s a bug, can i play with it.” “sure son and while you’re at theres a snake over there too- the one with the Rogers logo on it.” ????

  • You can turn it off sure… But…

    The things is… It doesn’t cost fido $22,000 for the data costs… When I lived in Italy I could go from country to country with my phone. I did pay about 2 to 3 times as much when outside of Italy but that was it. Data is data, it doesn’t cost any more to ship a bit from one place to another if the infrastructure is already in place. If I spend $30 for 1 Gig in canada I would accept paying $100 for it elsewhere but no more.

    You, nor anyone else at fido including myself are covering the costs of his roaming.

  • wahgee

    People need to do their research. I realize $22000 is crazy, but knowing how much data is, I always turn off data roaming and cellular data.

    Don’t let kids YouTube on holidays. There are better things to do like Mayan ruins, Chitchen Itza, or wherever else one maybe in Mexico – let alone, other destinations.

  • Chris Burke

    i cant say i agree with them reducing his bill to 200.. but i also dont agree with what companies are charging for roaming.. im a rogers customer.. and and 30/mb.. thats just outrageous.. highest fees on the world dont we?? but when i travel i just buy a local sim, as i unlocked my phone

  • Eric Lewis

    another reason why cell phone rates are expensive here, someone has to pay for this roaming bill…

  • you realize as well; While most people agree that this is self inflicted and shouldn’t be condoned. Open Media is using it to show how rediculously high we are all be charged for roaming, and that roaming in general is quite outdated, especially in North America. So if this actually helps in solving the issue that you can see why others are happy to publize it. But yeah it really is an example of entitlement

  • pure4

    Buzz Bishop, let me start off by telling you to go suck a big donky cock for breakfast. How is an 11 year old supposed to know any better? The real crime here is committed by the Big 3 and the Canadian government who keeps letting them gauge the consumer like this. So FUCK YOU MOTHER FUCKER judging by all your posts you probably work for Rogers. Way to sell your soul for a crummy pay cheque to an organisation who has no moral ethical standards. But don’t worry you’ll soon get what’s coming to you. New players will come in on the next spectrum auction and you’ll get what’s coming to you.

  • pure4

    It’s not an example of entitlement. No one should have to pay $22,000 or even $2,000 for a service that costs the carrier pennies to deliver. It’s outright highway robbery that Bell/Telus/Rogers are engaging in day to day. And this is just a story that came out. Imagine how many poor defenseless uninformed Canadians are being charges these BS fees and are actually baying these bastards.

  • pure4

    Simon B, ‘PURSUING THE CASE FURTHER BY UTILIZING THE MEDIA TO BULLY FIDO INTO FURTHER REDUCING HIS BILL IS JUST A STEP TOO FAR’??????? Are you f-ing kidding me??? It sounds like you work for Bell too don’t you? Fido charging them $22,000 or even 2,000 is a step way way way too far. Remember there are people out there that pay these B/S fees. It is wrong, it is immoral, it is not the right thing to do and as soon as i have a chance i will switch to a foreign owned carrier when they will enter the market. Good on him he went to the media. I would do the exact same thing and so should everyone else who is bullied into these fees by Bell/Rogers/Telus..

  • pure4

    This should be called ‘How to stick it right back into Rogers/Telus/Bells ass after they try to stick it into yours’ lol

  • pure4

    Werner, GOOD!!!!

  • pure4

    wahgee, do you think anyone suspects the Big 3 would be THIS unethical to charge 22,000?? No one does they thing maybe it might be like in Europe where you pay maybe $200. People aren’t that cynical but maybe they should be with these bastards..

  • pure4

    Chris WHY DON’T YOU AGREE??? It costs them pennies on the dollar do deliver that B/S 22,000 bill. Good that they reduced it to 200..

  • wahgee

    I hear ya. The Big 3 need to inform better and charge much better rates when we are out of town.

  • Duffsurly

    This is a perfect example of why I purchased a unlocked iPhone 5 so I can purchase pay as you go nano sim cards out of the country. Then take out your home zone sim card and put it back in the phone when you return and save on roaming charges.
    This guy should have known better, with all the knowledge of roaming there is no excuse anymore.

  • pure4


    Boutros • 20 days ago
    No doubt it’s their fault for having data roaming on. The problem is the excessive fees – all carries should stop data once it reaches a couple hundred dollars. Better yet, let’s look at why these rates are so high – it’s just data. How can it possibly cost $22,000 for 700mb of data? Did this kid have a satellite dedicated just to him? Seriously…..$22,000 for 700mb?

  • MleB1

    Once you accept that it is the job of The Big Three (and their offshoots) to gouge their ‘subscribers’ as heavily as possible, with as little work as possible, and to defend this behaviour through legally dubious ‘contracts’ – while tossing their front line people under the bus to protect all this – you then realize that there is a shortcut to redress some of the most outrageous –
    (Sorry, I’ve yet to deal with Telus or the offshoots)

    The Executive Floor hates hearing from The Great Unwashed (especially in this era of Twitter, Facebook, online forums or easy access to the Media) and will appoint a minion to call upon you and try and find a solution before it goes badly sideways for them.

  • Rio

    So next time I go abroad, I should not worry about data charges and just freely use my phone to my linking because I know this guide is there to help me:)

    The moment you land in another country you get a text saying THESE ARE THE FEES YOU WILL BE PAYING TO USE YOUR PHONE. You are saying it is completely Fido’s fault for him being ignorant and using his phone that much?

  • rIO

    Inform better? YOu get a text the moment you move out of the country telling you the charges

  • MikeJenkinson

    Sorry, I don’t have a lot of sympathy for this guy. Roaming isn’t a right. You’re a guest on someone else’s network and, as such, you’re going to pay higher fees than the usual customer base. And who DOESN’T KNOW about roaming charges?

  • John

    Whether you agree with this story and Mr. Buie’s methods or not, I think we can all agree that when you’re on vacation and roaming, and your data costs hit $500, $1,000, $5,000, $10,000, etc. you should receive a text message to notify you. Perhaps there are apps running in the background that you forgot to check. Perhaps you’re just not thinking. Regardless, it doesn’t cost the carrier more than a couple thousand dollars to implement this kind of system, pennies to run it, and the benefits provided to customers (and mitigation of risk from poor publicity following an event like this) far outweigh the costs of the system itself.

    Telus sends me text messages when I’ve used 2MB, 10MB, 25MB, etc. of data, even when I’ve purchased a roaming plan. It’s just good service.

  • Raul Companioni

    So, if you get a text as soon as you enter a country informing you that you will be robbed if you live the terminal, and you do get robbed by leaving the terminal then its on you, because you decided too not stay confined to the terminal and actually wanted to see the country you went to… (you know it :p)

  • Groagun

    Customer Entitlement? Are you F*****G people on crack, seriously? Or do you just work for ROBELUS?

    Do you really think that the charges for data roaming are justified in any way? I’m astounded at how many of you find it acceptable to have bought a phone, payed for service and just accept that you either pay outrageous amounts for a roaming package, pay extortion amounts even the mafia would be ashamed of, or just not use and turn off the the product you have bought and payed for.

    Even if the phone is subsidized it should make no difference at all. My fellow Canadians, how typical of you: a general, disheartening and infuriating attitude of apathy and malaise. Don’t worry about getting rammed up the ass, it’s just the way it is and always will be.

    The problem isn’t that Mr. Buie fought back, or his son used any data at all: it’s that this fight and bill ever existed in the first place.

  • MiguelSmith

    It’s more like the other way around — you get a message saying if you go to one specific place you’ll get robbed. This guy let his kid wander right into that area…

  • pure_ip4

    BUZZ BISHOP AND GARY, why did my previous comment get deleted? Is it because I mentioned Buzz’s face and a donkeys genitals meeting together for breakfast? There I rephrased it is that better for you Gary? Just remember Buzz you sold your soul for working for the big three. They are robbing Canada wireless consumers (mostly targeting pre teens and teen that don’t know better). It is unethical and just plain wrong what they are doing all the time. Remember some consumers don’t know they don’t have to pay these ridiculousness fees that cost the carrier PENNIES. They will just pay the outrageous $22,000 fees these bastards charge them. The father in this story is NOT an ass everyone should defend themselves against these thieves.

  • pureip4

    No what I am saying is this is another typical example of the Big 3 mistreating their customers because they can, because there is no competition in this country. Don’t get me started on all they ways they screw over then consumer I can give you a list 10 pages long. I know this from personal experience. Some 13 year old does not. Fido along with everyone else should have a $200 cap or should not gauge the customer like they do EVERY SINGLE DAY.

  • pureip4

    Mike, A LOT OF PEOPLE have no idea. Yeah you use their network your provider gets a bill from the foreign carrier. And it costs them pennies then they turn around and charge you 100x what they had to pay. Where is the justice in this?

  • pureip4

    MIeB1, THANK YOU I agree 100%

    BuzzBishop, you are that front line person getting going under the bus. You’re the one who had to sell your soul… Seriously go do something more productive with your talents. I know you can find something that will benefit you and all of society.. maybe you can have it back.. maybe you can save yourself..

  • Simon B

    No, I don’t work for Bell or Telus or even Rogers. In fact, I’m not working in the telecommunication industry at all. Again, this is about the context that the initial charges were made. Mr. Buie did not take the necessary steps to ensure that data roaming was OFF on his iDevices. Just so you know, I’ve been an avid critic of the oligopolistic carrier market in Canada namely a closed-market controlled by Bell/Rogers/Telus as you pointed out. No one should break their bank accounts for telephone/data services EVER. But the other side of the argument is also as legitimate in that no one is forced to use those services especially when traveling abroad. Whenever I travel and reach my destination, I would receive a text message from my carrier informing me about the international calling and data rates. There are so many different things that one can do ensure that data roaming charges are not incurred when you are traveling; both on the carrier’s part and also on your devices. So take charge and more importantly, take responsibility on your own life and don’t expect everything to be spoon-fed to you. This is about personal accountability, that is all.

    Also, having been to many different countries, I can say that international data roaming is expensive wherever you are. Some maybe be less than others but still generally overpriced and not something that an average person would want to spend for Facebook, Twitter, etc when traveling. And they are expensive because the carriers do not expect many of their customers to use them – which is why they have reduced prices data roaming add-ons/packages that you can get prior to traveling as alternatives. But to me, the best option is always to stick to WiFi and stay away from any other data service at all.

    And to fellow commenters, please read the comments in their entirety before replying and trying to discredit people’s views by claiming that they work for the so and so, therefore their views are biased. That doesn’t encourage a constructive conversation on any subject being discussed.

  • Rio

    I agree 100% that the Big 3 should reduce their roaming fees, but you guys are defending someone here who knew how much he was going to get charged if he used data.
    And it is not like he accidentally used it or anything, People need to be more self aware.

    I personally dont want a cap, maybe a warning message or something but putting a cap creates more Hassel for people who know what they are doing. This is the credit card issue all over again. Because people feel that it is the Companies responsibility to make sure no fraud is done, Now everytime I travel to a few cities down I have to make sure I cann customer service and tell them I am going to be traveling or else my card gets cancelled/blocked.

    When I travel I know what is going on and If I feel like I need to use my phone past 200$ or whatever I dont want to have to sit on the phone for 30mins to tell the customer service rep that I need them to unblock my service so I can use my phone

  • PDS

    In my case the additional roaming charges were piddly in comparison, $1,900 which Fido informed me of two weeks after I was back in Canada. They reduced the charge to $300 and I didn’t argue much. However, I was not that uninformed. I had read about the horror stories of roaming charges and went out of my way to go to the local Fido kiosk and told them exactly what my plans were. To go to the States for a week and I wanted to know what I needed to have to avoid these charges. The clerk told me and sold me a package. I told him I would be using my GPS and he said, “Don’t worry about the data”. It didn’t sound right, but, after all, he was the Fido rep. I certainly didn’t need to use my GPS, but all the same, I did leave it on for most of the trip over the Eastern Seaboard and that is what stung me. Fido sympathized with me, but I didn’t get any more of a reduction than what they said would have been my cost, if I had bought the right plan. I would have used much, much less data, if they had told me how much GPS would have gobbled up. Again, lesson learned. Don’t trust the geeks at the kiosk, they don’t seem to know anymore than I do.

  • wahgee

    But some people ignore these texts. Not sure what the answer is. I know that when I leave Canada, I better shut off all things that can access data.

  • Anthony W

    Totally agree there Buzz. I am a frequent traveler. Before I get on the plane, I take my Sim card out. I will go buy any local Sim card I can find when I arrive. I agree that $22,000 is a lot but fees are not the main point here. The point in this story is that iPhone/iPad is not your babysitter for your kid. This is lack of common sense and bad parenting. The dad gave a bad example to the son that pointing finger at someone else for his own damn stupidity is okay to do. Bad!

  • Our phones automatically have data roaming turned off for sure……but I know I am not the only one to have a setting in iOS turn off or on. My iTunes match gets turned off automatically all the time on its own and it is SO FRUSTRATING! So yes we should know how to operate our iPhones as well as all our settings, and yes we should be aware that having the phone on in another country can cost us a lot of $$$, BUT there are bugs in iOS that do things automatically as well.

  • I hate rogers

    One day i easyly won a battle of $500.00 just for the fact that i was saying that you can use the wifi while in the airplane mode and the guy was saying that wasnt possible, if i had wifi on it means airplane mode is off… So i told him to get an iphone and do the test, he did and i won!!!