Family Charged With $17,000 Internet Bill for Movie Downloads on Trip to Canada


According to a new report from My Fox Detroit, a family’s trip to Canada became pretty expensive because their son watched videos online and unknowingly racked up thousands of dollars in data charges. In an interview, Mike Domzalksi said:

“It was an innocent trip. We had never been to Toronto. It was something different.”

Domzalksi’s cell phone bill for the month of April came with a charge of $17,476.99. His 11-year old son was using his iPad to pass the time. The iPad was tethered to Domzalksi’s work phone.


His son was watching YouTube videos in the United States and Domzalksi said that once they crossed the border he had no signal. Domzalksi was charged $11,733 for the first hour of international roaming and nearly $17,500 before AT&T cut it off five hours later.

“For $17,000 he never even saw anything,” Domzalski said. “The screen went blank and there was no connection for the whole time we were getting billed.”

An AT&T spokesperson responded with the following statement:

“Because the data was downloaded outside of the U.S., International rates apply.  In  this case it was more than five hours of continuous data usage.  We encourage people to enroll in our international plan.”

Domzalski’s wife and son’s phones were both set up for international roaming, however his work phone was not. In any event, Domzalski says that he should not have to pay $17,000 for not making a simple phone call to set up international roaming. In a statement Domzalski said:

“Make sure your phones are set up properly and your iPad. Because AT&T will get you if you don’t do your homework and you will end up with a bill like I got.”

AT&T says that once a customer passes the Canadian border, a third-party carrier takes over and all billing issues are out of their hands. It is still unclear whether Domzalski will have to pay the full price for that bill, but Fox has reached out to AT&T and Domzalski’s boss for more information.

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  • Corey Hoffarth

    Now I don’t want to kick a guy when he’s down but isn’t it common knowledge when you cross an international border you need to turn off your devices unless you have a plan. And in my experience your carrier sends you a text letting you know how much it costs when you cross over. They being said 17000 is outrageous even if it was intended usage. That type of billing should be outright illegal

  • Tim

    You shouldn’t be able to charge $17,000 for something that cost you pennies to provide.

  • Data overage reminders may have helped in this situation. But I can’t imagine the feeling of seeing a $17K bill in the mail #ouch

    On Wednesday, May 6, 2015, Disqus <

  • Anthony

    I totally agree $17,000 is crazy but this sounds like another case of a parents not watching what their kids are doing. Remember the problem Apple had with in app purchases. At what point it is your own responsibility. International rates are pretty much common knowledge. I mean can you call anywhere in the world for the same price as down the street? Why would data be any different?

  • Anthony

    First of all its not pennies and why should a company not be able to charge whatever they want? That’s the beauty of having multiple companies.

  • SV650

    Curious as to why his son’s iPad was tethered to his work phone? I know my employer would not look favourably at my using the company equipment for my family’s entertainment.

  • Biggy604

    I like how they indirectly blamed their “Canadian Trip” on their kids over use of the internet. Its like blame Canada all over again lol

    Next thing you know they’ll do a class action lawsuit against any roaming charges.

  • Joanna S

    Canadian here…i’m with Telus Mobility. The default max limit of the roaming charges is $100. Then they send you a text saying if you want to use data we have packages.. give us a call. Or you can say yea, keep me cut off so I don’t get charged anymore.
    What did this guy think was going to happen with the roaming charges?
    I just dont understand why he didn’t contact the service provider to find out more information….
    it is a LOT of money, the service provider should have called to confirm or SOMETHING at least. It’s shitty it’s so expensive, but why does your kid have to stream? HHow about saying “here kiddo, read a book” or “you can use the ipad, just no streaming until we get to wifi”

  • thomaus

    And since AT&T claims the overage charges originated from Canada, they definitely didn’t cost pennies.
    Had to be at least nickels, since the penny is now discontinued. 🙂

  • speedracer99

    Their cell connection likely roamed onto the Rogers network. That explains everything, why it cost so much. : )

  • FragilityG4

    Except all those companies charge the same amount in their beautiful oligopoly.

  • MTetró

    That mean FCC and CRTC must resolve this issues on both sides. Both sides wireless keeping rip us off unnecessary. Let you know that AT&T Wireless have a contract with Bell Wireless – international roaming agreement. Therefore, Both AT&T and Bell must resolve this issues.

    Sound like both AT&T and Bell act like dumb! No more!