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.