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Telus iPhone User Hit With $37,000 iPhone Bill

Update 1: More info via this CTV news article. Looks like Telus cut her off, then she called to get it turned back on. Ouch.

But Telus spokesman Shawn Hall says that the phone company noticed a spike in Fero’s data use almost immediately after she left Canada. The company cut off her service, and representatives spoke to her over the phone.

“She asked us to turn the data back on,” he said.

Hall says Fero used about 1,600 megabytes of service during her trip.

“That’s a lot — an average song is about four megabytes,” he said.

“You can’t go overseas and expect that the data plans and the wireless rates that you’re going to get are going to be the same here. You travel to North Africa and the rates are going to be a lot higher.”

But Hall says that Telus wants to work with Fero to reduce her bill.

“Bottom line, we want to talk to this customer and sort it out. We know it’s a huge bill; we want to talk to her and figure it out,” he said.

Vancouverite Alanna Fero went to Egypt for two weeks with her iPhone. Prior to leaving, Fero says she spoke with Telus to ensure she was on the right plan. When she got home, she was shocked to receive a monthly bill of $37,694.53.

She contacted Telus, hoping they would investigate. However, Telus responded according to her, “No, this is your bill–Africa is expensive.” Telus is in talks with Alanna to reduce her bill. I wish her the best of luck.

Data Roaming on the iPhone is turned off by default. Unless toggled on, it is impossible to get charged for roaming overseas. It’s probably one of the most important settings you should check when you leave the country. Here are 18,000 and 6000 reasons why Data Roaming should always be OFF.

On the other side of the coin, it’s unbelievable that Telus is able to send a customer a $37,000 bill, and expect them to pay it. There should be checks and balances in place warning customers if they exceed data, such as cutting off service or sending a SMS warning message. Is that too much to ask, or should overage charges and profit come above all else?

What do you think? Who’s at fault? The user or Telus?

You can watch an interview that Alanna did with CTV News here.

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of iPhoneinCanada.ca. Follow me on Twitter, and @iPhoneinCanada, and on Google+.

  • Anonymous

    This is why I bought an unlocked iPhone 4. I remove my Rogers SIM card when I leave Canada & use a local paygo SIM.

  • Anonymous

    This is why telus are scammers. She called before hand to have a roaming add on. Telus probaly paid max 20-30 bucks to the roaming carrier for this usage. I hope they get this cleared up asap.

  • Chris

    Telus DID cut her off. Then she called them and told them to reactivate her line.

  • Hank

    Honestly, since Telus confirmed that that indeed is her bill, I would think Telus has valid grounds for it and they did their homework.

    Lets admit it, some iPhone users are just not knowledgeable enough to safely handle an iPhone. We may have to convince them that iPhone is not for everybody.

    Lastly, we also need to be responsible for our own actions.

  • Tomsiphone

    Absolutely! My 3GS is unlocked and I use whatever local carrier there is when I’m overseas. To do otherwise would be inviting trouble like this woman. She’s not the first nor the last to get a bill like this.

  • Yia ok

    Before talking our of ur ass do your research, do you actually know TELUS’ roaming agreement with that country, do you know how much TELUS is charged by the overseas carrier…. No I didn’t thank so , so do your research, then speak.

  • http://twitter.com/darthclaudiaa Claudia Amendola

    TELUS was named most outstanding philanthropic corporation with global award recognition for a reason. She didn’t do her homework, didn’t listen to client care, and doesn’t understand how to use her phone. Plain and simple.

  • Anonymous

    The article does make it sound like she verified with telus beforehand. So either, they gave her incorrect information on how much it would cost, or put her on the wrong plan…. Without knowing the specifics of what was said between her and Telus its tough to say.

  • Suman

    Imagine she had her bills set to auto-pay.

  • http://twitter.com/drariel Ariel Ravi

    how did u know that?

  • http://twitter.com/darthclaudiaa Claudia Amendola

    She fails. The 36k charges she racked up were on her data charges. She got a roaming plan; that only covers voice. A cellphone company would never tell her it covers data when it doesn’t. She should pay every penny, imo.

  • steve81

    She should have paid the $50 to get it unlocked and get a plan there.

  • steve81

    Maybe the Telus iPhone unlock is still not supported yet though…

  • David

    You’d be supprized by how many people rack up crazy roaming bills like this and then expect the “provider” to cover these charges. It’s not like the “provider” is charging these people, these are charges that are from the “foreign providers”

    If your gonna use your phone outside of the country, make sure you do your homework and use it correctly. If they did give her incorrect info, telus should definatly should reverse these charges, however she should pay for something…

  • steve81

    It’s on CTV’s website:

    “But Telus spokesman Shawn Hall says that the phone company noticed a spike in Fero’s data use almost immediately after she left Canada. The company cut off her service, and representatives spoke to her over the phone.

    “She asked us to turn the data back on,” he said.

    Hall says Fero used about 1,600 megabytes of service during her trip.”

  • Anonymous

    Check her Facebook. She might have uploaded tons of pictures to show off her trip. None of the providers has the roaming data plan covers intensive roaming data usage. She did not do the homework so it is her fault. Pay the bill and suck it up.

  • Gabriel

    I’ve had a similar problem with Rogers a few months ago. I had requested a $300 monthly cap on my account and added a plan for Europe. When I called, they told me they had no plan for Europe AND that they did not honour my cap because they did not want to interrupt my service while I was away from home… but they finally ended up paying.

    There should be an easy and efficient way to set a cap – that they would honour, no matter what. And they could send a SMS when we reach x% of that cap.

  • sgtMeowsteen

    The iPhone even has a big message stating: “Turn data roaming off when abroad to avoid substantial roaming charges when using email, MMS, web browsing, and other data services”. This message is clearly printed right below the on/off toggle for ‘Data Roaming’. She would have had to dive into the settings, totally ignore this message and turn the toggle to ‘On’ seeing as how it is set to ‘Off’ by default.

  • Anonymous

    A woman. No wonder

  • iphonelover

    The first thing most people would do if they got a phone bill like that is say that they talked to the carrier before they left and confirmed that they were ‘on the right plan’, even if they didn’t.

    She’s a dweeb and I hope they make her pay.

  • Anonymous

    I put this story up as a notice at work to all our iPhone users. This could save a lot of my users a lot of money. Thanks!

  • Busdriver675

    I am so tired of hearing about naive people who travel with their cellphones, and don’t confirm what they will pay for voice calls and data usage first. It’s over $1.50 a minute to call when in the USA. I really wish the cell companies would stop backing down, just because people cry to the media. Stupid is, as stupid does.

  • http://twitter.com/shinigamidono shinigamidono

    it probably cost telus no more than a few hundred dollars at the very most.. so it’s utterly ridiculous even if it’s her fault for leaving data roaming on.. gouging gouging and more gouging.. a Canadian telecom company.. big surprise …

  • Dean

    Both. telus because all wireless providers are evil..the user for being stupid.1600mb’s…maybe she had the new iOS with personal hotspot and was sharing the whole time with all of North Africa…

  • Anonymous

    Hey retard, you probaly have your head up ads if you actualy believe roaming. An telus paying more than max 100$ and then charge $37000. And if you can tell me the true cost of 1.6 gb of roaming cost being actually 37,000 than you need to get your head outta your ass. It’s all markup profit.

  • http://twitter.com/ZippoS Zippo

    I’m less than sympathetic… I don’t even use 1GB of data in a month here in Canada. For her to use 1.6GB of data is a shit-ton of activity. This wasn’t just a few e-mails, this was hardcore data usage… in a FOREIGN COUNTRY.
    Telus tried to help and she asked for data to be turned back on. This is no one’s fault but her own.

  • Bloodmeridianmatthew

    can anyone explain why data roaming charges are so insane in the first place? at current rates even a wealthy person wouldn’t want to incure the charges just on principle. if data roaming charges were a little (ok, a lot!)more reasonable you could see people impulse using them when out of the country occasionally for directions or emails etc. and the phone companys would probably make more money as opposed to having these astronomical prices that nobody will pay (unless its by accident like this poor soul.)

  • Coffee Dude

    1.) Turn on Data Roaming.
    2.) Not read the warning that is actually on the phone.
    3.) Demand Telus to turn on the data roaming after they turned it off.
    …4.) And not do a single bit of research or due diligence

    I can understand the people who make mistakes but how many safe guards do you need before you accept responsibility for your own actions?

  • http://twitter.com/projectCAN Projectcan

    Shocking!

  • http://twitter.com/Xaroc  Xaroc

    Ouch… wait… wasn’t cellphones cut/blocked in that area due to the recent president issues? who knows i havent been following so closely. To every story there is three sides. Her story, their story, and the truth. I wonder if any of us will really ever know. 37 Grand is crazy, but if she screams loud enough and to the right people im sure she can have this waved.

    dose she deserve to have it waved? thats a tough one

  • Infovan

    You’re a moron. You cant just say TELUS. Look at all the other service
    Providers. This is not the first time we’ve heard of outrageous bills and it’s not always TELUS. I travel all over and I don’t come home to a shocking bill because I did my research ahead of time.

  • http://twitter.com/David_The_Bull David Turnbull

    I hope she has to pay every cent. I don’t want people like her to cause my rates to increase. Everyone knows that overseas data charges are insane. The rep probably told her to turn off data and use Wi Fi

  • http://twitter.com/David_The_Bull David Turnbull

    They should make her pay the bill. She ignored all warnings and used an insane amount of data. I am a Loyal Telus customer and I don’t think it would be fair to me or any other Telus customers for them to have to eat the cost. This would be eventually passed onto every Telus customer with a rate plan increase. People like this need to pay attention and do some research. Fair would be for everyone to pay for what they have used.

  • Snoz

    Wow! I’m amazed at the comments on here! The reason we (those of us who frequent sites like this) know about the huge price of data roaming is because we have some interest in it. 

    The vast majority of people have no idea, nor would it be rational for one to expect them to.

    It’s very conceivable for an average individual to use a lot of data outside the country without a preconceived notion of the true cost! As an example – what if an individual had the 6gig $30 data plan, and never used wifi at home. They could easily hit 2gigs or more in a month (especially if they streamed music or video). 

    Now, let’s say that person thought to themselves, “Well, my monthly bill shows I only use 2 out of 6gigs, obviously that’s not very much, and it’s only $30 for the full 6. It is very understandable for that person to think, “Well, I’ve heard it’s expensive to use overseas, but I’m willing to pay a few hundred bucks to use my phone like I do at home. $30 at home, $300 or so away, big markup but that’s okay”. No normal, non-techie, could ever imagine the same usage would cost 37 grand!  That amount is simply out of the realm of an average person’s worst-case-scenario estimate.

    Yes they cut her off, and she asked for it to be turned back on – but do we know how that conversation went down? Was she told, “You’ve already incurred $1000 in overage charges, and it’s likely to be thousands more.”? Doubtful. The magnitude of data prices is WELL above the average consumer’s point of reference.

    I’m quite ashamed of many of you on here who say she “deserves what she gets”. No I’m not saying Telus is evil, but for those of us who obviously follow tech issues, to criticize an average person who doesn’t is just misguided and mean-spirited. We know what we know. There’s also a lot we don’t know. I for one would hate for somebody who was learned on a topic to chastise me for not knowing what they know. 

    Be kind people. 

  • Slycell

    Irrelevant. Every single point you made is completely irrelevant.

    And I’m not meaning to say that you’re making bad or stupid points. But they are irrelevant. And you know why? It all comes down to one simple little fact;

    She signed a contract.

    Every single piece or pertinent information was made available at the time of signing. It’s all outlined in the contract. Fact of the matter is is she chose to not read a legally binding contract to which she was applying her legally binding signature. Telus could demand blood from her and it wouldnt make a difference.

    It totally sucks that she got hit with a huge bill. Bummer. That sucks, lady. But she’s got zero sympathy from me. Ignorance is not an excuse.

  • Snoz

    Actually, my points are not irrelevant.

    Contract law is a very complex issue. My comments were not meant to address legality. My comments were meant to address the mean-spiritedness of individuals who seem to think “it serves her right”. Would you feel sorry for your mother if she found herself in this situation? Or your best friend?

    If you re-read my comments, I’m not suggesting any moral or legal wrongdoing. I’m simply amazed at how quickly people can feel superior, and lack empathy.

    This woman did not get herself in this situation by being “stupid”. Her mistake is one that could easily be made by the majority of average people, simply by not being in the know.

    I had a friend who fed his dog leftover pasta sauce with lots of onions. The dog died. Onions are toxic to dogs. Most people aren’t aware of that. Did he get what he deserved?

    Compassion people.

  • http://twitter.com/noahattic Noah Fang

    Ok,…two sides of things

    1. for the telecom companies, why is there no official unlock for iPhones when the roaming is way toooooo ridiculous to use?? Many carriers from other countries offer this server at a very low cost (max $35 Min free) even their longest contract is max to 2 years. We, in Canada, “enjoy” the longest 3 yrs prison of cellphone and are facing to the fact that our iPhones aren’t really ours. I guess along with official unlock, this kind of trouble will be largely decreased.

    2. Some dudes down there worried that other customers will have to eat the cost for this case. I have to say, it ain’t happen. Because the actual cost is wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy lower than the bill. How do I know about this? My buddy works for fido.

    3. In this case, this woman deserves the bill. Ignoring all kinds of warning is just stupid……… People like her deserve a lesson because next time she might not be lucky of just having a trouble with her phone bills, it might be something terrible that costs more than money, like life.

  • Hammad

    Telus is stealing her money. Mobile internet services in Egypt is miles ahead of Canada. Vodafone Egypt offers amazing prices for Monthly bundles such as :

    Bundle Free MB Extra MB Price Monthly Fees
    Bundle 25 150 MB 0.30 LE 25 LE
    Bundle 50 500 MB 0.30 LE 50 LE
    Bundle 100 2 GB 0.30 LE 100 LE
    Bundle 150 Unlimited 150 LE

    150 Egyptian pounds for unlimited one. That’s less than 30$CDN so give me a break.

  • http://about.me/ariss Jesse Ariss

    She is 100% responsible for the full price of the bill, but I bet they will end up charging her only “cost” due to the publicity.

  • ML

    ======
    “But Telus spokesman Shawn Hall says that the phone company noticed a spike in Fero’s data use almost immediately after she left Canada. The company cut off her service, and representatives spoke to her over the phone.

    “She asked us to turn the data back on,” he said.
    ======

    If that’s the case, then she DESERVES to pay every single cent.

  • Kevinmatthewroach

    While she does deserve to have a large bill…

    Let’s be realistic. 37000$ 1.6gigs? Telus should not be able to charge a customer a house-downpayment sized CELL PHONE bill.

    Some of the coments on this are seriously embarrassing…some of you need to stop taking your stupid pills and think before you type. If you got that kind of cell phone bill you wouldn’t be on the news saying “Well I deserved what I got! Oh well hee hee”

    You’d be freaking out.

  • ML

    That’s the rate. Don’t like it? Don’t use the service. Telus IS NOT a charitable organization. They are a business.

  • Hank

    Dude, I do not think you had your coffee yet. The price you quoted is as if the user used the Vodafone’s sim card. The poor lady here used Telus. Way different charging scheme. ROAMING. That is why when one travels, it is important to instead use a local sim rather than your own.

  • Slycell

    I’m very sorry to hear about your friend’s dog. As someone who’s lost a family pet I know how hard it can be.

    With that said, your friend was incredibly irresponsible, much like this woman was. When one decides to take a living, breathing animal under your care, a really good thing to do would be to look up thing you should NOT feed your animal. Chocolate and onions are the two things that are highest on that list.

    By nit doing proper research in how to care for this dog, it died. And make no mistake about it, it is your friend’s fault. And that sucks, that’s a super shitty reality. But it is the truth. Your friend made the CHOICE to not actually look in on how to care for their dog.

    This woman made the CHOICE to not read and understand her contract. She made the CHOICE to turn on data roaming. She made a CHOICE to ignore the substantial roaming charge warning. She made a CHOICE to ask Telus to turn her data package back on.

    These were all choices she made while blindly charging forward. Her choices led directly to her accruement of this RIDICULOUS bill. And I’m not trying to be mean-spirited. But nothing irks me more than the “but in didn’t know!” card.

  • Slycell

    That’s the price Vodafone gives Vodafone customers. You have no idea how much Vodafone charges Telus.

    But you raise an excellent point! That is much cheaper! I guess she should have used that instead

  • Hank

    Googled. The lady is a busy business woman who wants to monitor her business while on a trip. She should just suck up the bill. Plain and simple.

    She is like that lady who filed a suit agains McDonalds because she spilled hot coffee on her lap while driving!

  • Slycell

    I guarantee you that’s not the case. Though I too googled her earlier and can confirm your findings, as a pretty heavy iPhone user, I can tell you her usage is hardly indicative of “checking up on the office”. I can guarantee you it’s one or both of these 2 things;
    -Skype to phone home. Maybe even using the camera to display live images to loved ones at home

    OR

    -it was rainy one day, so she stayed inside and watched Netflix instead.

  • Slycell

    “My buddy works for Fido” makes you an expert on international roaming costs?

    Wish I had known that. My roommate actually develops and does support for a major piece of security software with clients like Disney and NASA. I should just start doing that, I’m clearly very qualified.

    And as a resident of Edmonton, BioWare’s home office, when I’m on my lunch after break protecting DARPA from North Korean moles, I’ll just fire out a multi-million grossing video game.

    Your buddy probably works at a kiosk in the mall. He has NO IDEA what Vodafone charges Telus.

  • eahodgson999

    She should return her phone and Telus should cancel her contract. She is obviously too stupid to own a SMART phone

  • Hammad

    True. I bet Canadian companies get charged high roaming charges becuase all the forigen telecom known they are not allowed here in Canada.

  • Hammad

    No coffee yet. But you bring a good point and I wish everyone here learns to you use a different sim card outside Canada.

  • ML

    Just like Canadian companies charge high roaming fees to foreign providers. A principle of reciprocity.

  • Msmingey

    what is wrong with you people? are you not aware that our country has one of the highest costs to cell phone users in the world? Are we not all victims of an evil oligopoly? How could anyone support an evil cellphone company of billing a customer $37 000 for data? It is completely ridiculous!! Cellphone companies have an obligation to not allow a debt to get out of hand like that. It is completely unreasonable to expect someone to pay that. Just remember. Cellphone companies take advantage of people who are irresponsible and don’t pay attention to their consumption but there is such a thing called reason-ability and fairness. The company should have cut the service.

  • Dlee

    This is the users fault for not listening to Telus’s warnings and using some common sense. It is also Telus’s fault for not having some restrictions in effect to limit this kind of usage overseas.

    Bottom line, she should not have a phone if she does not understand the consequences that can occur from misuse. She should not have to pay the entire bill, but she should have to pay somewhere around $1000 – $2000 as she was clearly at fault.

  • Dlee

    Being ignorant of the law is not an excuse. Unfortunately this also applys when you sign a contract. Just because she may not have known better, does not mean she should get away with it.

  • George

    Greed of Canadian telco cartel has no limits. What Telus did here would be not possible in EU, where proper customer protection regulations are in place.

    We Canadians will be raped and robbed by the telco cartel as long as there is no REAL competition in Canada. Time to disband CRTC, cartel flunkey staffed with ex-cartel execs, and repeal the old and grossy outdated telco ownership act that requires majority canadian ownership. Only then can we expect to stop being the most expensive country in the world when it comes to mobile and Internet services!

  • Anonymous

    So Telus noticed a spike when she left for Egypt and cut her off (no doubt to prevent a huge bill) and she called and demanded her data be turned back on. How is this in any way shape or form Telus’ fault? She dun goofed and then demanded to be allowed to keep goofing for the remainder of the 2 weeks.

    Bottom line is that Telus looked out for her and she ignored their warning. 100% her fault.

  • Toby C

    I see this as another example of a selfish and stupid individual not taking responsibility for their own actions. The honest and responsible members of society then pay the price to subsidise the ignorance of these individuals. To use 1600mb of data in two weeks in a foreign country is beyond extreme. I hope Telus don’t let her off easily.

    Most and I’d expect probably all phone companies send you the courtesy text message when you connect to a new network (roam) in a foreign country and this details your call and data costs.

    For those saying that it probably costs Telus a small amount for this roaming data; where is your evidence? If it was so cheap, why doesn’t one of these phone companies just step in and offer the roaming cost at a small markup? The answer is almost certainly that these roaming contracts are extremely complex, dealing with high administration costs in terms of foreign exchange, accounting issues, language barriers and so forth.

  • Wanderer

    while i agree she should be responsible for her lack of knowledge and ignorance, 37k is too hefty to pay. a lot of people nowadays are ignorant or they fall back on “its too techy, i dont get it” but the reality is that they didnt put any effort or thought into it.

  • George

    Why don’t you compare what EU citizens pay for roaming in other countries? If you think they are charged anywhere near $37,000 for 1.6 GB of data, then you are a perfect customer for Canadian telco cartel. BTW, did you know that “gullible” is not in the dictionary?

  • Omar

    They do, that is why they CUT OFF HER SERVICE as soon as she left Canada and noticed the spike inher service and called her, which she said to turn it back on.

  • George

    Why don’t you compare what EU citizens pay for roaming in other countries? If you think they are charged anywhere near $37,000 for 1.6 GB of data, then you are a perfect customer for Canadian telco cartel. BTW, did you know that “gullible” is not in the dictionary?

  • Omar

    OMG get over this stupid excuse. This girl was plain stupid. ANd the company did cut the company did CUT her service and went out of there way to call her. She asked them to turn it back on. Yes people who are irresponsible deserve what they get. You wanna know why you hav such a high bill, because idiots like her get a 37K phone bill then refuse to pay it, they then take that extra cost and pass it on to you via increases in other things.

  • Omar

    It is because all telecoms, not just Canadian ones, know that they can charge these high rates to each other. So in most cases, Rogers will be billed by Vodafone the rate and Rogers to will just straight transfer that cost to you with a markup. In most cases the cost of roaming is out of Rogers’ control.

    And this girl is no poor soul. Telus ut offer her service and called her when they noticed teh huge spike in data, and most likely told her btw way this has already cost you about $600. Then the lady said TURN IT BACK ON. So she deserves to pay every penny

  • Omar

    Exactly.

  • ML

    Until last year, the situation in Europe was the same.

    “One German traveller faced a bill of 46,000 euros ($56,436; £37,593) for downloading a film while in France. A UK student was also reported to have received a bill for 9,000 euros ($11,031; £7,349) for one month while studying abroad.” And that’s WITHIN EUROPE. Now imagine how much that would have cost had the charges been incurred while traveling across the Atlantic?

  • Jeff

    Totally the user’s fault; she deliberately chose to turn on roaming.

  • Omar

    This is actually true. I have an iPhone on Rogers, I went to Vegas last year and the second I turned on my phone I received a text message that stated. Warning you are now roaming outside of Canada and your current rate plan is not eligible here. You may incur high roaming rates. Please call customer care at this #…THIS IS A FREE CALL FOR YOU.

    So this lady should pay every penny. I’m sure Telus has somthing similar, but they did just call her and cut her service to help.

  • Omar

    Stop you baby crying..wa wa omg the private corporations in our capitalist economy want to make a profit and they shouldn’t be allowed to?

    Do you know how much they pay for gas in the UK? about 4 times as much as we do? Do you know how great the heath care system is in Africa? Our how politically stable the Middle East is? Or that most of Asia is under mixed Communist Regimes?

    We pay more for cell service yes, but guess what, that’s just how it is. So you would prefer $4/L gas but hey your cell phone bill will e cheap? No health care system, but hey you cell will be cheap.

    Also, the only thing that makes Canada more expensive is the 3 Year contract. If you take out that 3rd year and compare, Canada is hardly the worst. Wher China and Egypt adn the UK pay less its because their telco companies make it up in volume over Canadian telcos. 100 million ppl having a cellphone will make it a lot cheaper then a company with only 8 million.

  • Omar

    You are my new best friend.

  • Omar

    Im glad they covered the charge, but I will have to disagree on you saying they don’t send out texts. I went to Vegas once and got a text as soon as i stepped off the plane and turned on my phone, with a message telling me about higher rates and a number that I could call them for free off my cell to arrange things. t What probably happened with you was, the rep you called noted everything you asked for on the account but probaby didn’t actually put it on your account, which happens wayyyy more often then it should.

    In teh end did they waive it all or just what was over the $300 cap you agreed to?

  • Jdutch

    I have to admit, I kind of chuckled to myself about this one. I read through about half of the other comments on this issue, and feel that those who think Telus is evil, are missing some of the issue, while those who believe the woman is 100% at fault are also not on top of the ball. When it comes right down to the basics, it appears that something was amiss before the woman left. Either she miss understood what she was being told by the company about the plan she was asking to have, OR there was miss-information given about the features of the contract. THAT is the main issue. You can go on and on about how much the woman should or shouldn’t know about her phone and how expensive data is and this and that. As another poster pointed out, there are ‘user/buyer beware’ clause’s with just about everything out there these days. But what will matter in the end is, who said what and when, before she left the country, and can either of the parties prove what they said, is true. The amusing question here of course, and the reason for my mirth is, how much does common sense cost? Is it worth it spending a few hours on the phone getting perfectly straight answers to your questions and or doing a little googling to find out how the iPhone works (IE: usese data even when you aren’t surfing or youtubing) and how much that will cost you?

  • Humantraffic

    This woman has no common sense. Most carriers make it very clear on their website exactly what you will pay on roaming in each country

  • Me

    You’re kidding right? Try getting an iPhone in Mexico, pay 300 for the phone and 80 a month for 100 MBs and 60 minutes.
    There are too many complainers that have absolutely no idea how good people in Canada have it.

  • Gtasscarlo

    So you expect someone to pay $37,000 even though it didnt even remotly cost telus a fraction of that?. If they had reasonable rates sure,not heart attack rates. Would you pay $37,000 for that?.No you wouldn’t. lets say it happened to you are you willing to pay that much?.

  • Gtasscarlo

    I know about data romaing, And your the moron to think its fair for telecoms to send her a bill of 37,000 and think its ok. Are you as a Canadian used to paying anything wireless providers want. Yes she shouldve done her reaserach but come on $37,000 is crazy to pay. When it didnt cost a fraction of that.So how can you honeslty defend $37,000 in charges?

  • Edge

    While I don’t believe she deserves what she got, I believe she should have known. One never expects that operating a cell phone in a another country is cheap. She should have known better.

  • Edge

    I agree with this. She may have not known at the beginning, but I’m sure she knew at this time, but choose to ignore it. Plus, what in the world was she doing with 1600 MB in this short period. That’s pretty high usage unless she was tethering. Something about this story does not add up…

  • http://twitter.com/noahattic Noah Fang

    ???? How would that relate to my post??? Childish more??

    You clearly have no idea how much being ripped off when you enjoy EVERYTHING made in Canada. Clearly, you are the one who has NO IDEA what Vodafone charges TELUS.

    Telus ended up let the woman only pay $6000 and you think telus will pay the rest of $31000?? If you are running a company, I bet you will go bankrupt as light speed. Let me know ya, if your roaming charge is $1300, then the actual cost is no more than $100. Then, do the math.

    BTW, my buddy is the marketing coordinator who definitely knows more than you in terms of cellphone industry.

  • Guybrown

    Shame on Telus ! Before I upgraded my plan I was always getting texts from Rogers letting me know I was close to exceeding my plan — sounds very odd.

  • Guybrown

    Shame on Telus ! Before I upgraded my plan I was always getting texts from Rogers letting me know I was close to exceeding my plan — sounds very odd.

  • Slycell

    I was only replying to your second point. You know who still has no idea how much Vodafone charged Telus?

    A marketing director.

    And I don’t mean to say I know any better. But neither I, you, or your friend have clue one about these data charges.

    Yet still we digress!

    She signed a contract. End of story.

  • Lukas

    “What Telus did here would be not possible in EU, where proper customer protection regulations are in place.”

    Do not be STUPID like that lady. You are either liar or you do not know what you’re taking about. Do your research, it is happening on daily basis in EU (at least as I know in Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic) when dummies going for holidays …

  • ML

    BS. It is next to impossible to incur such charges in the EU since March 2010. Why since this date? Like you said, “do your research” and you’ll find out.

  • Lukas

    Nope. It is ONLY valid between EU (plus some other as Switzerland, Iceland, Croatia …) countries. If you go outside EU you will finish with disconnected service (which exactly happened to that lady) and if you choose to continue you will see …

    BTW do you want taxes over 50-70 % of income and GST 15-26 % – move to EU …

  • Grmonner

    THe phone companies should do like some do on long distance. If they go over a certain amount they are automatically bumped to a higher plan that gives them more use for a bit more money. then we don’t have to phone the telco each time we travel and each time we get back from travelling outside the country.

  • Msmingey

    I read the article and i know they cut the service and she asked to have it reenabled. That doesn’t mean the company should do it. The company has no business allowing someone to consumer 37000 worth of “service” nor should they bill it. Once it got to $2000 they should have cut the service and sent the bill. Clearly she is stupid but so is the company.

  • Msmingey

    Mexico is a 3rd world country so its not really a relevant comparison
    Read this article
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2009/08/11/canada-cellphone-rates-expensive-oecd.html
    “The average Canadian cellphone user is paying among the highest bills in the developed world, according to a new international study.”

  • Anonymous

    The average person does not know how much data it takes to load a website. Some think that you are not charged when you access data through apps like Facebook’s app, and only get charged when you use Safari…
    They don’t know that 1 song download in iTunes is 4-5mb… Or that 1mb is 1024kb. Or think they are connected to a Wifi connection but the phone still says 3G.

    Is the lady at fault? Well based on the updated part of the CTV conversation, it could be because she asked to turn data back on. But then it could be the fault of the rep for telling her false information and throwing numbers at her. I watched the interview and to me it looks like both the lady and Telus are at fault here.

    Telus should of not allowed that data connection to be turned back on. They knew how much data the lady used up and even if the billing system did not crunch the numbers, they should of still did the manual math and came up with a number over $30k and told the lady this.

    In the end I expect the bill to be about $3k, or the regular monthly amount this lady pays.

    And could this of happened to any other carrier including the new guys? Of course. Is the CRTC or the Government doing anything about it? Nope

  • Lukas

    At first I meant – it’s happening to EU citizens while going abroad (and they are crying same as that lady) to their operators – if you can speak German go to T-Mobile forums … And NO I do not agree with what you said.

    About taxes – when I worked as a geologist for Norwegian and Danish off-shore rigs in Northern Sea I paid close to 70 % of income in taxes combined (you are mixing one thing here [at least in Alberta] we do not have a separate “taxing” for health care like in Europe).

    Health care – medical services in Europe (again at least in Germany, Austria, ad the Czech Republic) have same problems like here, social assistance, maternity leaves, education (for price, not always for quality) – is better in EU. And by me YOU do not know what are you talking about …

  • Lee

    I think she should have to pay whatever it actually cost Telus to provide her roaming service there. If the carier in Egypt billed Telus $37k for the data use, then why should Telus give her a credit? Now if they billed Telus $10k for it, then she should have to pay the $10k. The fact they cut her off and that she called to turn it back on raises big alarms here. I don’t think when she called they would say “Oh we turned it off JUST BECAUSE” pretty sure they’d say “Because you’re in Egypt and you’ve already charged up $1000 of data use and we turned it off in case this was an error and didn’t want you to get a huge bill.”

  • Lee

    Why shouldn’t they have allowed it back on? Do you honestly think if a business person travels to Egypt who’s company is paying for their cell phone bill for example, shouldn’t be allowed to use it? Could you imagine? Going on a trip actually WANTING to roam, having your data turned off, and having your provider refuse to turn it back on??

  • Lee

    Why is it too hefty to pay? If that’s what it cost for roaming then why should Telus eat the cost? That’s like saying you just bought a new BMW then crashed it into a pole the next day which cost you $10k to fix, which is too hefty and that BMW should pay it. Why should Telus have to pay the provider in Egypt for the data she used?

  • Lee

    People on these boards seriously need a lesson in roaming. It’s one thing if a customer charges up a ton of data while IN Canada and then expects a break from Telus. In that case you’re using the Telus network and it’s their cost to provide the service.

    When you ROAM, you are using another companies network, who in term then BILLS Telus for the usage. So it’s not like Telus just wipes off her account and eats the cost, they are actually having to pay the company in Egpyt for this data. How much that actually costs who knows, but I don’t think it’s a small amount by any means.

  • donald

    For cell phone costs, let’s compare Canada to a country the same size with the same number of people and then we will have a valid comparison. Most other countries are much smaller and/or have much larger populations which allow for economies of scale and thus lower costs.

    I would like to think that people in other countries are complaining that their electricity and water costs are high compared to Canada, that is at least if they have reliable electricity or clean running water …

  • Toby C

    Have a look at Australia as a comparison. Roughly the same size population density. 23 million people in a largely urbanised country. Electricity is at least twice the cost in Australia and water, well there’s been regular water restrictions for a number of years now.

    There is a major difference in terms of the costs of cell/mobile phones in Australia. There’s no such thing as local or long distance calling. Everything works off whether you are calling a cell/mobile phone or a landline. There is also no cost/usage applied if you are answering any call; this is completely free. Canada isn’t that expensive globally; especially if you get a good retention deal. I have first hand experience with this as I have lived in Australia, UK and Canada long enough to know the overall pros and cons.

  • Daanish_5

    $37,000 = Data traveled through copper, electricity supplied to radio tower?

    I think not! True cost is probably a few pennies. She should sue for mental distress.

  • donald

    In those countries that have free incoming (and globally most countries are), calls tend to be short since everybody knows the sender is paying by the second, and “free weekends and evenings” does not exist. At least in the few countries I’ve visited.

  • ML

    You replied with the dumbest and most nonsensical crap ever. Go back to school.

  • Anonymous

    > “What Telus did here would be not possible in EU, where proper customer protection regulations are in place.”

    Not sure what you are comparing with, but 1.6GB would cost you an arm or a leg by most operators.
    For example, if you are a Orange UK user and use 1.6GB roaming data here in Canada, it would have cost you £12,800 or $19,200. Sure, it is a bit cheaper than Telus, but no way as far fetched as you have implied!

  • Lukas

    BTW – my cousin called German T-Mobile (same evil as Telus) hotline about expected costs for 1.6 GB data roaming in Egypt. Answer was it depends on Egyptian operators (which one he will choose …) but price could be between 14,000 to 22,000 euros …

  • Anonymous

    she has to pay. she signed a contract. she was stupid enough to roam in a foreign country with data roaming on. even more stupid to have her phone turned on in a foreign country. she could have bought a cheap disposable cell phone for 2 weeks with a pay as you go card.

  • Capt_charisma22

    Your just as dumb as this lady. Telus is not the one charging this. Whichever network she was roaming on charges telus, which then they past the charge. Why should telus even take responsibility for something that does not even happen on their network. Telus was her Canadian service provider and she left Canada. This lady should of researched this more.

  • Hank

    Dudes and dudettes, it’s like how we have credit card limits for credit cards. This lady most likely has a big credit limit for her phone bill. That could be the reason why Telus gave way when she asked to resume service after warning. Why, she has a big limit on her bill, she is a wealthy job recruiter and a business woman herself. Do some googleing on her profile and you’ll see for yourself.

  • wtf

    hey gtasscarlo, you’ve made the assertion that “Telus probaly paid max 20-30 bucks to the roaming carrier for this usage”. Therefore, the burden of proof lies with you to prove this. Sounds like it’s just a feeling on your part so you are indeed talking out of your ass.

  • http://www.iphoneincanada.ca/ Ex

    She used the service, so she must pay.
    End of story.

  • Lee

    Maybe in Canada, but she was roaming in EGYPT there expert.

  • http://twitter.com/noahattic Noah Fang

    Sorry, I have to reply to this post to clarify a bit.

    You may question my professionalism of telecom industry. That’s absolutely fine as I don’t work in this industry. I wasn’t saying that my friend knows how much Vodafone charged Telus. However, as a marketing coordinator, my friend surely knows better of the general cost of this industry. One thing, she was telling how much China Unicom charges Fido for data roaming as 3G is still a pretty new and expensive thing over there.

    Then, apply a bit logic and do the math.

    again, this woman must pay. period.

  • Lee

    She wasn’t exceeding anything, whether you have 500mb, 1gb, 2gb of data here makes no difference when you’re roaming in another country. There’s nothing to exceed because you get nothing to begin with.

  • Havoc_x

    Yeah I agree with eggy. The fact that her bill was 37K or 47K or 57 Billion has nothing to do with Telus. Telus doesn’t set the international data roaming rate while in Egypt. The Egyptian incumbent telco (or whoever she connected with which I’m sure she has no idea who that is) sets their own international data rate for non-local clients that unknowingly connect to their network, and fyi telus/bell/rogers does the exact same thing when a wayward Egyptian travels to Canada and connects to our networks with their local Egyptian sim card still loaded into their phone.

    Ignorance is no excuse and clearly this lady is utterly clueless to know what’s what when romaning onto some one elses 3G network.

    /double-facepalm

  • Rdjeffreybc

    This is crap, get real cell phone companies. Governments need to intervene, roaming charges at these rates are highway robery.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OUIIGJUFUFYN5FQURXNQAYESC4 Aleksandar

    I do the same thing. It’s nice when you can pay-go with *data* – 2gig @ $8CDN in Eastern Europe last summer.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OUIIGJUFUFYN5FQURXNQAYESC4 Aleksandar

    I wonder what Telus told her – “Listen lady, you already rang up a bill of $1200, do you really want to do more of this??”…. She deserves to pay.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OUIIGJUFUFYN5FQURXNQAYESC4 Aleksandar

    People like her don’t have too much “mental”, so how can there be any distress??

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OUIIGJUFUFYN5FQURXNQAYESC4 Aleksandar

    She used up 1.6 gig. She must have been showing off her iPhone in Egypt to some friends/relatives.. Probably lots of youtube streaming to impress..

  • Anonymous

    whats worse was when Telus blocked data, she called to have it turned back on!….pay your damn bill or dont use data, jeez.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OUIIGJUFUFYN5FQURXNQAYESC4 Aleksandar

    You can get pre-paid voice/data plans in all third world countries that are DIRT CHEAP. I bought 2gig @ $8 in East Europe (very much a 3rd world place) last summer.

  • ML

    Be specific. What country, provider and plan? I’ve traveled extensively throughout and lived in both western and Eastern Europe; the price that you quote is unreal.

    P.S. There are no “third world” countries in Europe. Besides, this term
    is outdated. Underdeveloped/developing/developed is what’s in use these days.

  • Joker Eh

    Ignorance is not an excuse. She is a dumb ass.

  • Alikka

    I don’t believe she deserves what she gets. there has to be 50-50 responsiblity here. phone companies need to have something in place for the average joe-non-techy type person to warn them. whether it’s a txt message or a pop up that comes up when you try to use data while roaming or even going as far to cut off service after a set amount of money.
    people need to understand, non-techies too, that things cost money…..even things you don’t wear, put in your mouth or sit on. if you created this kind of bill making phone calls on your home line it stands to reason that you will be charged for the services you use. if you do not understand the plans/billing then you need to take responsiblity to find out. and when you do find out to use those things in a way you can afford to. or tonot use them in certain ways/places.
    i do hope they reduce her bill by a lot for her sake but i also hope(though highly doubtful) that phone companies will wake the heck up and realize they aren’t going to gain anymore money off someone by not putting some warnings in place, only bad publicity!!
    hell i get a web message in my browser when i reach 75% of my internet useage. hit the acknowledge button and whatever happens after is MY OWN DOING. but i was warned.

  • Paulbrec

    The answer is simple. Consumers set the prices. If you think the service is too expensive, don’t use it.
    Data roaming is aimed at business users who can afford these rates. Consumers have other options, such as Hotspots, ect.

  • Lyphsux

    I agree with you 100% that the average person is probably not nearly as tech-savy as the majority of ppl posting here, and that there is no need for bashing anyone be it this woman or Telus, but it is still a consumer’s responsibility to understand their services, and the cost of those services, before using them. I am certain she can also check her balance online at any time, and had she even logged into her account to check her LD charges, I am sure she would have been aware of her rising balance far before it got to the 1,000′s. And I mean, come on, you’ve got to at least research; I found this info in 3 clicks FLAT. Google Telus Roaming Charges. It is not the obligation of company to alert their customers to their balances when the info is online on their website, and they can check their balance and usage anytime online. She ignored her bill and it snowballed; ignorance is not a defense for not paying one’s dues.

  • Lyphsux

    I think I’ll go to Africa tomorrow, and use my iPhone to download movies to my laptop, then call the media when I get my HUGE $25/mb data bill. How embarrassing for her. Consumers know how all your services are billed…

  • Lyphsux

    Telus is CDMA so there is no SIM slot. You can now get CDMA phones that support a SIM card; I think Motorola Atrix or axiom something like that I can’t remember off-hand..I didn’t think you can use data features with prepaid.

  • Ksteinhauer

    I agree, I recently got an outrageous phone bill from Telus for roaming fees while in Mexico on my daughters phone. I contacted Telus and they were of no help , they sounded like they were reading from a script in front of them, as I am sure they incur dozens of calls a day regarding high roaming fees. Telus definitely has no customer care or service, these types of bills should never happen. There should be something in place so Telus can see when somebodies roaming fees look like they are getting out of hand. I can’t believe they would even send a bill that high ! I have 4 phones with Sasktel and have never had this kine of problem and I have never seen any complaints on the interned regarding cell phone fees except ones regading Telus !

  • Chas

    From what I’ve read about the incident, she herself was surprised at how she accumulated the final amount. She was aware that data would cost a lot, but didn’t think she had done enough to incur this kind of charge. I am guessing she has an app that runs in the background and sucks data for its purposes. Now imagine a corporate iPhone user traveling abroad… those companies will soon regret allowing their employees to use such devices on the companies’ budget.

  • Iglobal2010

    Good comment! People in this forum have to realize that not all average people are geeks like them! I would not call this lady ‘ignorant’….

  • That Guy

    Telus is a fuckin rip. I have to go to Germany for 4-8 months For school and they said i have to pay 50 bucks of months. I wont even be using the phone (the service will be off while im there). I thought i could get it down to 25 but no.

  • unkown

    You know Telus does send Text messages warning when they enter to a country some people just decide not read them its different and she could have called as well

  • http://www.facebook.com/mike.chandler.501 Mike Chandler

    She should have consulted her dealer before going and should have explained to get the consequences

  • threenorns

    i don’t understand why this is such a huge problem for telus: when i was with bell mobility, any time my bill went over $100, i got a polite little message notifying me that my bill was uncharacteristically high and to pls call and confirm or the service would be suspended.

    honestly, it’s not rocket science. under contract law, if both parties do not have a clear understanding of the terms and conditions, then it’s not a valid contract. she did call and inquire about her trip to north africa – it was up to the telus rep to notify her that she would get socked with a big bill.

    same thing happened to my daughter when she went to milan – she called and inquired about her cell phone (could she use it in italy, what would be the charges, etc). she was told “standard roaming charges will apply” but somehow “standard roaming charges” translated into a bill of several thousand dollars.

    what the user needs to do is kick it upstairs and have them review the recording of the phone call because ALL calls are recorded.

  • mac

    Don’t own one wouldn’t have one. Can’t believe how many people use them even probably sitting on a crapper. Can’t leave home without it.