Update: $22,000 roaming bill caused son to go “into a fetal position” and cry

Ian Hardy

March 4, 2013 9:28 am

Yet another wireless “bill shock” from roaming while on vacation has surfaced. We’ve seen this too many times – see here, here and here.

This time around it’s Matt Buie, a financial planner from Burnaby B.C., and his 11-year-old son Mike. Here’s the details of this soap opera: the family has an iPhone hooked onto Fido and took a trip down to Mexico. They decided not to purchase a roaming package and before arriving, by the advise from the Apple Store, put the iPhone on ‘airplane mode’ to ensure he won’t receive any roaming charges. While basking in the sun Mike gets sunburnt and his parents say he can chill in the hotel room to play video games on the iPhone. This apparently lasted 3 days. Beyond playing games, 11-year-old Mike turned off airplane mode and started to stream about 12-hours of YouTube videos. According to Rogers the bill quickly skyrocketed to 700 megabytes of data and a baffling $22,000 charge.

Buie said “When I heard $22,000 and my son happened to hear $22,000, he went into a fetal position and was crying. It was just mind boggling for him.”

Fido, owned by Rogers, has safe measures in place to alert customers of roaming overages. In this case Fido sent a text message to Buie and stated his account was going to be turned off “for security reasons” due to “excessively high” data charges. Buie said “I made a mistake here — as his father — and he made a mistake. He turned off the airplane mode and was watching YouTube videos. I should have taken the SIM card out… or not let him use the phone. That’s guilt that I have to live with. I clearly should have known better.”

Fido immediately reduced the amount down from $22,000 to a manageable $2,200. However, even though he acknowledged this massive charge is his error, Buie thinks Fido isn’t doing enough. “It is gouging. It is $20 in Mexico [for domestic customers] to get the same amount of data [700 MB] from their carrier and it is $40 to get the same amount of data while in Canada… I don’t think many Canadians would actually escalate this to the degree that I am doing here, but one of the reasons I am doing this is, this is just wrong and unfair business practices.”

Jennifer Kett, Rogers spokesperson, stated “It’s very unfortunate this customer had this experience. When this type of situation happens, we have internal processes in place to identify these customers and their usage prior to their bill being sent out and then we proactively work with them towards a resolution.”

Buie is willing to pay Fido a total of $200 for, again, his error. Surely as a wise financial planner Buie is prepared for life’s unexpected emergencies.

Update: Fido has surprisingly agreed to reduce the bill to $500. VERY nice of them.

Source: CBC

  • David

    Let’s see. I could buy a new car, or I could use my cell phone for one day in Mexico…

    • Bravo – Bravo – Zulu – 1 – 0

      I get in a fetal position and cry every month when I see my Bell bill…

    • YUUUUUP

      Just remember: according to that dude from Telus, customer do not want a cap. They would find it to annoying to have to approve usage prior to being hit with a bill the size of a moderate mortgage down payment.

    • EvanK

      This is standard practice, bill shock at its best. Charge them a ridiculous amount that they clearly won’t pay, and then take it down to a charge that seems miniscule in comparaison (in this case, $2200), but is still way too high. I don’t know why the carriers keep doing this, it’s nothing but bad press.

    • ace

      It was probably him that racked up the 700 meg charge on his cell phone, but then blamed it on his son HAHAHA family plans rule :P

    • Comment Master

      Do you think that guy would pay $500 romaing charges if they were not reduced from $22,000….this is just a strategy

  • Rob

    Was “Insane roaming fees” one of the things discussed with the CRTC or whoever this winter?

    • Canuckdian

      I’m going to be voting for Marc Garneau this time around. As a former Astronaut and former head of the Canadian Space Agency, he’s totally pro-tech and a smart man to boot. He’s stated a big part of his platform is fixing Canada’s Telco mess and breaking up the Robelus oligopoly to allow “real” competition.

    • EvanK

      @Canuckdian

      That is if he wins Liberal leadership, and as of right now Trudeau’s pretty far ahead in the polls, for better or for worse.

  • lol

    Rogers are the biggest robbers in the world

  • JF

    Make him pay the 22,000 for being A dummy.

    • Rob

      Well son, the reason you aren’t going to college is Angry Birds in Mexico

    • jack

      Make him pay $22,000 for being an iphone user.

  • For some reason…

    When I was reading this.. I imagined it was the kid from the s4 commercial earlier…

  • BaconTelevision

    A financial planner, huh?

  • Dr.Hugo

    Buy a local SIM card where ever you travel to avoid these problems , just common sense

    • Braumin

      That won’t work the phone would be locked – yet another major issue with the carriers

    • Nathen

      In order for you to go to another country and use you Cell there with the Local Carriers ,2 things need to happen.

      1. You phone needs to be Unlocked.
      2. Your Phone has to be able to support the Local carriers Bands. Most phone will only work with GSM.

      So the iphone would be limited to GSM.

      The Nexus 4 for example works on ALL Bands.

    • Adriel Michaud

      You might think I’m paranoid, but I remove my SIM altogether when I get out of country.

    • Tom

      Unlocking a phone is easy and doesn’t cost much. Even if you’re stupid enough to go directly to the carrier and pay $50 (over 5x what cellunlocker charges), that’s still much cheaper than roaming.

      As for the band support – who cares if your iPhone only works on EDGE while using a prepaid SIM in the foreign country? It’s good enough for calls and texts. Go out and see the sights instead of surfing the web on your phone.

  • dv

    Damn man fxcking kid, would have beat the crap out of him if he were my son…

    • adam george

      @dv I hope to EVERYTHING that is holy that you’re f**king joking. What a disgusting use of a forum, to claim you would “beat the crap out of” a child of yours should he make an error like this.

      Shame on you.

    • brad

      I would have beat that kids a*s if he were mine.

  • Dalex

    It is fair to say it is the customer’s error, but the price is still ridiculous. Why don’t they publish how much of a markup they make on the services provided. I have a feeling the cost is nowhere near 22000.

    • real deal

      They will not be bill 22 000$ for 700 mb. They will give the stupid dad a travel pack:
      250$ 75 mb and then they will charge the over usage at 3$ per mb. Should be around 2000$ instead.

    • Someone

      The same reason that Futureshop, Walmart, the local barber, and the ice cream shop don’t publish the mark-up… its competitively sensitive information.

      The concepts of Producers surplus and Consumers surplus (economic terms for simple concepts) apply here. If you are willing to pay a certain price for the end product, then you pay it.. or you negotiate a different price. On the final price, the Consumer will feel they saved some money, and the Producer will feel they made some money. That is their surplus. Asymmetric information allows you (or the other party) to have more control in a negotiation.

      Since private businesses are not charities, they won’t disclose this information.

      Besides, mark up is only against the cost of that service, in isolation of the rest of the expenses of the company. Profit Margin %, the overall “mark up” for the company, so to speak, is publicly available.

  • WP74Life

    I’m amazed by how this still happen in 2013.

  • some guy

    1st issue: Gave his kid the iPhone.
    2nd issue: Gave. his. kid. the. iPhone.

    Dude deserves a high bill for being stupid.

  • Marc

    The guy in the photo looks a bit like Jason Sudeikis from SNL. I’m sure that SNL could come up with a good skit based on this situation.

  • Samuel

    Man this is stupid for two reasons:

    Firat the amount is just absurd, most companies have a max cap on data usage! and I’m sure the carrier this boy was roaming from is not charging Fido 22K

    Second the father should have remove the sim card before leaving.If you are not going to use it leave it at home and bring the phone it will work just fine.

    I recently left my iPhone 3G for a SG3 and the first thing I did before giving it to my kids to use as and Ipod was to remove the sim card even when the card is now deactivated, just to be on the save side!

    • jack

      You should be a financial advisor! Not this clown.

  • All Ways Rite

    I’d be shocked to, if Jason Sudeikis was my dad

  • paul

    roaming fees are ridiculous. $ 22000 for 700mb of data??? This is gouging at its best even if it was the clients mistake.

  • placator

    Well…the guy is an iphone owner!

  • John Lay

    Good side of the story is, Buie admit(and accept) that he actually made a mistake, while on most other stories the customers just said that they don’t know about roaming charges and accuse the telco right away, rather than blaming themselves (customers) for ignorance

  • tendenzi

    So the kid gets a text from Fido when he lands in Mexico detailing the pay-per-use charges, he decides to use his phone anyways. And for what? To blame Fido… we know roaming rates suck by now, why wasn’t this kid or his parents smarter than this? Disable roaming, don’t use your phone unless it’s an emergency, or buy a local sim like some have recommended.

    I’m not going to argue for Fido and say the roaming rates are fair, but I sure as heck won’t show sympathy for someone who was informed by all means necessary to avoid this. Also, being empowered with the phone features to disable it too.

    It’s like walking into a fine-dining restaurant seeing the high ticket menu items, ignoring it, eating all-you-can and then crying when you get the bill.

    What excuse does this customer have for saying he didn’t know?

    I also will say, not just for us, but globally, there needs to be a better standard for roaming. A flat-rate markup for everyone.

  • James

    The father should have to pay a high fee for something like this. I hate Robellus as much as everyone else but the guy should take some responsibility. The $200 he wants to pay is ridiculous, but so is $2200. He knew better and was even advised on what to do.

  • Bob

    I AGREE LESSION LEARNED? HOWEVER, $22,000 FOR 700 MB IS CRAZY?

    THAT WORKS OUT GO BE $31/MB. EVEN THE REDUCED RATE IS $3.10/ MB

  • Willy

    Why not use hotel’s wifi if he stayed in the room for 3 days?

    • Patrick

      cause he is cheap and dont want to pay!

    • jack

      He’s an iphone user! He doesn’t know the basic options that Steve Jobs worked so hard to dumb down for the masses. “Wifi what’s that?” “Airplane mode what? I’m on the beach and there’s not beach mode. C’mon Apple!”

  • jjj

    Why even go on vacation if you’re just going to sit inside and dick around on your phone?

  • Mike

    I guess I know which financial planner to NOT go to

  • Ryan

    “parents say he can chill in the hotel room to play video games on the iPhone.”

    What a boring vacation that is. Put the phone down and see the sites.

  • robelus stinks

    Dad made a mistake giving the phone to his son, but the bigest mistake was to sign a contract with fido(rogers). If he doesn’t pay soon, collection agents will start to ring the bell. Nc nc nc nc

  • vn33

    The Dad owned up to his error, but only willing to pay $200? C’mon, you are not going to learn the lesson and remember this sordid episode unless you pay something that hurts your wallet.
    I say at least $1000 to make the experience sticks !

    • bulletwithbatwings

      I totally agree. Why does he think that he gets to decide what to pay? I’m sorry but I agree with Rogers on this one. $22000 is ridiculous but it is what it is. They can charge whatever they want and as a consumer we have to choose to use it or not. NO ONE needs data while on vacation unless it’s for business, and at that point it’s likely paid for by their corporation anyway. This was simply abuse and a poor admission of guilt. Parents have to stop treating iPhones and iPads as toys and babysitters.

  • FormerAndroidUser

    Obviously crazy charges, but parents should parent. Take the SIM card out before leaving. If you don’t understand the technology you allow your kids to use then don’t give it to them in the first place.

  • Josh

    I used 2GB of data on a recent trip to nyc on my rogers note 2. It cost me $21 for unlimited talk text and data on tmobile. I cant imagine what that would have cost me on roaming I guess $60,000

    • jack

      Wow, Josh! You should be a financial advisor for saving $ and being able to cross multiply to estimate your costs for 2GB. Good stuff.

  • doug

    What an unreasonable i***t. Not because he trusted his son with the phone but more so because FIDO reduced the bill by 20 Grand and he is still fighting it. This guy needs to man up and pay for his mistake.

  • roman

    The user is to blame.
    It’s a statistical outlier that should have set off red flags at Fido. Couldn’t Fido freeze the account after let’s say $5000 of charges? Or do Fido customers regularly rack up 22k in charges?
    It becomes blatantly obvious that after 10k, you’re probably not going to collect those fees..

    • EP

      In some cases it is impossible to terminate active data session in progress. if this boy was watching video non-stop, even if home carrier had put a suspension on a service, the roaming partner didn’t negotiate “allow/disallow roaming” until new data session initiated.

      It is customer mistake to give phone to kid in a first place.
      as for $ – 22k for 700Mb is too much. (should be around $3/Mb +- few cents)

  • JV

    If your stupid, you should pay the price. No the roaming fee isn’t Fair. if people were simply charged the cost price (which is lower then what customers pay in a regular plan at 40 for 3 gig of data or something) then the phone company would not profit accordingly to the set business model and projections they estimated when they set those prices out. If the simply charged the customer the set rate that it would cost had the customer agreed to a roaming plan for the equivalent of their contract period then that would negate the entire point of trying to get the customer to commit to paying for a plan. Also if they simply doubled or tripled the price for customers to do this sort of thing, sure the price would be less ridiculous, however almost all customers would still state that it was and is a “Outrageous roaming fee or fine or whatever”. Not to mention instead if ONE stupid moron i***t complaining once a year of these fees, it would be thousands of customers complaining and moaning about how they are “victims” of the phone company for being Ignorant to their policies that are clearly spelled out, and that can be called about and asked questions on a near 24 hour basis by phone.

    yes phone companies Suck, yes Prices Elsewhere and in different countries are different, yes that’s not fair. Yes Life is not fair. welcome to the real world. If you don’t like the service, then don’t use it. If you are going to use the service, understand and see what it is that your buying. If your not sure, then ASK. World isn’t Perfect, people bitching, moaning, and making excuses for their ignorance isn’t helping maters much at all….

    • Mike

      “Your stupid” – ironic, isn’t it?

    • jack

      @JV

      I stopped reading after “your stupid.” Look at how much you wrote too. DISLIKE!

      @Mike
      Good stuff!

    • Steve no-Jobs

      Tomorrow’s newspaper headline:

      ANOTHER CANADIAN RAPED IN MEXICO!

  • Phil

    Hope the Youtube videos were good!

  • Dan

    Sorry, but he needs to pay the 22k. His son was using legitimate data and they should have known the terms of their contract.

    • Steve no-Jobs

      Legitimate data? As opposed to what? Illegitimate data?

      I can see your college tuition really paid off!

  • Porilaisten

    “I think a lot of customers don’t want a cap on their monthly bill” – David Fuller

  • hughball

    I’m with Mobilicity. If I haven’t explicitly put money on my account, I can’t use data, talk or text. I can call Mobilicity and add money (call is free) as I wish.

    It’s not like the big carriers don’t have the same technology available to do the same thing…

    • real deal

      yes they do have prepaid.

  • hughball

    Re: my comment above – I should state that this is long-distance and roaming. Everything else is free/unlimited while I’m in Edmonton.

  • TP

    Unless my SIM is on pre-paid or I purchased the ‘roaming package’ (which I’ve never purchased), the first thing I do when I cross the border is to take out my SIM card.

  • izdane

    My galaxy ace 2x downloaded samsung updates even though I turned data off. Ended up paying the fines.

  • NK

    $22,000 could have brought his kitchen out of 1992. Before you leave your kid alone all day in a foreign country hotel room with your iphone, you should think of the possibile issues.

  • kevin sutton

    I appreciate that FIDO felt they ought to make some kind of gesture to avoid bad press, so I certainly won’t hold it against them that they won’t look the other way for everything.

    But these telco roaming charges are grotesque. The markup is absurd and the financial consequences potentially enormous for fleeting errors.

    I don’t think we have to accept a situation wherein one should employ eternal vigilance to avoid bankruptcy for roaming charges. Caveat emptor is not a legal principle in this country for a reason –who wants to live like that?

  • General Zod

    Why not pull the sim card out of the device? They knew about the crazy overage fees but let there kid at the phone.

    Yah overage fees are crazy high, but ignorance isn’t really an excuse.

    I’m going to Vegas in a few weeks and I’ve already got a US SIM card ready to put in my phone so I spend $20 on cell services instead of 22000.

  • Sylar75

    Some of you guys just crack me up. As Mobile Syrup readers, we’re all aware of the insanity of roaming charges. We take out of SIMs, buy one in the country we visit, lock data, put a condom on our phones to make sure it doesn’t get hepatitis. Never paid an extra dime in my life for roaming data.

    But what of the average Joe? Sure its his duty AS A PARENT (solemn voice here) to make sure his kid doesn’t use the phone in so and so fashion but without trying to absolute him of his wrong doings, who really is at fault here? The fancy restaurant is a very poor analogy. 99% of the people walking in the lobby of a Fairmont will expect to get robbed for dinner. Not sure everyone knows that if you fail to flip the toggle in the general -> Setting -> roaming (bla bla) right away you’ll have 90$ bucks of roaming charges because your phones tried to update the weather…

    This is just plain extortion. They lowered the bill to 2K in a heartbeat because they have deals in place where they trade data all over the world. Probably cost them 2$ for this data. Give me a break. Price gouging at its best should not be defended. Of course, these companies have a good heart and will lower the price by 95%. But what of all those other folks who get hammered with, 200, 300$ bills because of a simple mistake? Most fo them just s*ck it up and pay, and this is what these robbers want! This is not right.

  • Rabeet

    Damn i could buy a 330 sq. yard piece of land for those 22k or just buy a ticket to Mexico.

  • jack

    If he was my financial advisor, I would ignore his invoice and decide how much to pay him. Who does he think he is?

    This is whats wrong with the empowered and privileged attitude of an iphone user.

  • LeDerp

    1st, son gets sunburnt, parents not giving him enough sunscreen.
    2nd, keeping the SIM in
    3rd, not checking what son is doing in said room
    4th, not accepting a reduction of 91% and wanting more, this is not deal or no deal.
    5th as a financial planner he should know better. You can compare services all you want but im pretty sure that if you were using your mexico cellphone in canada, it wouldnt be any better.

  • wotzit2ya

    would have been cheaper buying the kid an ipod touch

  • meh

    Few things here…

    1. iPhone user, no surprise. He doesn’t know how to even turn off data roaming, so that even out of airplane mode, his son might not know about the data roaming mode to enable it.
    2. Why would you give an iPhone with sim card to an 11 year-old to use in the hotel room?
    3. Cheap a*s for now paying for wifi for the room.
    4. Roger/Fido is quite reasonable here in my books. Sure, $2,200 is a lot, but so is 700MB. I have a 6GB plan and I don’t even come close to using 700MB a month… how, as a parent, do you not notice that the phone is no longer in airplane mode, or ASK YOUR SON what he did while in the hotel room since you ditched him for most of the day?
    5. Idiot for not putting enough sunscreen on to cause the sunburn in the first place.

    All in all, he deserves it, and no, $200 is not enough punishment. I think Roger/Fido is too nice here, there’s clear negligent here, he should pay for price, which is $2,200. Roger/Fido lowing it to $500 is very nice of them IMO. I b***h about Robelus too, but they are not at fault here, the user is.

    P.S. Asking Apple store for advice = deserve it.

  • d

    Fido could easily deal with this kind of thing if they had the customer interest in mind. Just make an automatic cap when you reach twice your normal bill. At that point send a SMS which says:
    “Your extra fees have reached $70 which is what your plan would normally cost for a month of service. If you would like to continue to use your plan for extra services such as roaming, reply to this message with this randomly generated code: ax35410b”

  • Rag3r

    I love Canada, but some things here are just f@#king stupid. $32/mb roaming? Like R U 4 REEL BROO??!!

  • BS Detector

    This is why you should not buy an iPhone.

  • 45

    Good job to the parents there… I guess they’ll know better in the future… pop out the SIM card if anything.

  • Owen Finn

    The carriers should just limit of data to $500 when roaming… and then turn it off as soon as that limit is hit.

    But in this case, the family should be on the hook for at least $2000.

  • Adam H

    Idiots. Phone companies need to STOP reducing these bills just because of public complaints. It’s user error and is in no way the carrier’s fault. Make them pay just like any other debt.

    I spent three years in London, UK and actually HAD to us my Canadian cell phone often, my bills often being $2,500/month or so, which I had to pay, so why not these i****s too?

    This isn’t a result of ‘evil phone companies’ – this is a result of the i****s who are using them.

  • marion

    Fido was extremely nice to them. All this says to me is “_____, go to Europe and have a ball with your data plan..don’t worry, we can always come back and publish the story to get our bill reduced by 97%”.

  • EmperumanV

    I would never give a kid or my kid(s) when I do, my phone, etc. I just don’t trust kids these days. Parents go overboard IMHO. Kids these days are spoiled, iPhones, iPads to play with or even get them as gifts.

    What happened to the good old days when kids used to play outside with no technology at all eh? Any how, I blame the parents 100% on this…

    Parents should smarten their kids up by punishing them and that’s when they’ll learn.

  • Peter

    I love how the “dumb” act is used when they know they are wrong.

  • LugNuts MacGruff

    “…my son happened to hear $22,000, he went into a fetal position and was crying”

    What wasn’t reported was that immediately following this event, his son proceeded to s**t his pants over and over for the duration of the vacation.

  • you people are indoctrinated

    why.isn’t he grateful his son was not kidnapped and sold as a sex slave.it seems to be common of Canadian whites dying in Mexico.

  • @PlazmicFlame

    This is why there just needs to be one universal operator world wide and then have sub carriers for each country/region of the world. I know we don’t want to go the “one-world-gov” route but it kinda makes thing easier.

    • Frosty

      Monopolize a commercial sector? Of course that’s a good idea.

  • gmd

    It has been established that cellphone fees are too high in Canada. I still don’t understand why people always back up the big 3. I guess people want fees to stay high.

    Compare Canada to the G7, the G20, anyone. We top the list.

  • benoit

    Big bunch of ignorent…..i work in cellulaire and i have to tell people to not use there phone outside canada all the time and still dont lesson and cryed after its to late they should all payed caused 90% of the time they knew or coups ask everybody knows about long distance fees in canada how could they not think of the fees they got wen they go in a another country…. its not like its a secret…

  • James T

    I work in the industry. This may/may not have been mentioned before but again. The reason the charges are so high is because according to roaming agreements between 2 companies that is what Fido (rogers) is going to be charged by that Mexican telecom (the SAME one the man was gushing about) I’m sure Fido is making a profit too, but it likely isn’t gouging a huge margin as it knows most people can’t/won’t pay those types of bills. They’re mostly passing the buck on (they will pay whatever the telecom charges, they have to; to keep service on)

    I hate it when people think companies are stupid just because “they” don’t understand….sometimes it’s a situation of a rock and hard place.

  • Tom

    Is it really that hard for people to just unlock their phones so they can buy prepaid SIMs in the country they travel to? I was in Hong Kong for two weeks once and I paid under $40 CAD for a prepaid SIM with 1 GB of data. Don’t remember how many minutes and SMS it had, but they were more than enough for my trip. The cost of unlocking my phone? $7.99 via cellunlocker.net. With my dad’s older iPhone, it was free as there were software based methods to do a sim unlock. I don’t know much much prepaid SIMs cost in Mexico, but surely they aren’t any more expensive than in the US or Canada.

    Roaming is expensive no matter where you’re from, even if you don’t use data while roaming.

    And yes, put the phone away while on vacation whether you’re roaming or not.

    • Tom

      Of course, for a day trip to shop in the US, it’s not worth it to get a prepaid SIM, but the mall has wifi, and if people call or text me, I just ignore it. People close to me would be aware I’m across the border anyways.

  • Bender Bending Rodriguez

    there should be a popup text that warns users that they are now roaming and it won’t go away until you punch in a PIN number stating that “yes, I understand this message and accept any outrageous fees I may incur @ a rate of $xxx/MB from this point until I return to my home area.”

    that would solve any issues.

    if you leave your 11 year old alone with unlimited, unsupervised internet…

    you’re gonna have a bad time

  • ld

    This news prompted me to google up Mexican talk/data plans on a local sim card. A mexican telephone company Telcel sell 700MB data for $20, and 3GB for $40. If a retail customer can do that, I suppose Fido’s roaming partner is probably charging them the same rate (or lower?). Even Fido was charged the same i.e. $15 for 700MB data, then at the reduced..re-reduced rate of $500, they are still making a profit of $500/$15=3333% profit. And people here are still defending Robbers!!!. Even if they have a 200% profit markup, people will still use roaming because of the hassle of getting a local SIM card (cost in the $12-$20 range). It is almost as if the telcos here do not want people to use roaming, by having these monstrously prohibitive rates.

  • Markus K.

    110% the customer’s fault here. Why not pop your SIM out (as some other comments have mentioned) if you’re not using it?? Hopefully the carriers are working on a hard cap, but for the meantime, this is all the customer’s fault…

  • Eluder

    People need to take ownership for their own stupidity.
    It was really nice of Fido to reduce the charge, but ultimately, the parents should have pulled the SIM card out of the iPhone to prevent their son from making such a dumb mistake.

  • TNSF

    Pay attention to your kids. Problem solved.

  • Oh Hi!!

    I wonder how I went on vacation without cellphones when I was a kid and I was able to survive? Ok yes Roaming fees cost are Stupid High way robbery at best. However is it we all survived going on vacations and not checking in or uploading our pictures to Facebook all those years. Oh wait it was just 10 years ago. Sick and tired of people not taking a look in the mirror for their own mistakes. Don’t let your iPhone babysit your kid next time and make them read a book.

    • Geoff

      Well, to be fair the dad is admitting that he made a mistake. I think the charge of $500 is completely fair. Large enough that he certainly won’t do it again!

  • easytoblameothers

    Thats good he agreed that his son used it. And beside roaming price are high in all the countries. Fido did a gr8 job and reduced his invoice to 2200 $. Wich is good if fido reduce it to 200 $ this wld be a stupid a real stupid step from fido we r human we shld assume and pay for our mistake. I hope hes not expecting that fido will pay his mothly invoice. Stupid pple… just pay it and stop ur son service…
    Beside when u travel. U shld turn off GPRS . DATA roaming. Not that important to go in air plane mode.

  • OgtheDim

    Is this a columnist or an article?

    The condescension of this article is not warranted.. Its not in the original CBC article. The crack about him being a financial planner would be considered troll behaviour on most boards.

    Coming from a writer of an article on here, I think Mobilesyrup should label this as an opinion piece, not an article.

  • howi

    I thought that iPhone has Data Roaming turned OFF by default?! hmm… someone…

    • Nicole

      it sure is defaulted to have data roaming off, so the kid turned off airplane mode, got a text saying how much roaming would cost, turned on data roaming, used it excessively for 3 days, and now that the family has to pay for the consequences they are crying.

  • samsungfan

    Ok, lesson learned. Always take out your sim/micro sim card before traveling to places like Mexico. You’re in Mexico, enjoy your vacation and plus you don’t really need to make any phone calls. Also, giving any cellular smartphone to any child is a bad idea as you can see what happened. Also ever heard of an “ipad” or a small tablet of some sort for the child to play. Please plan ahead first before travelling to these places.

  • Tarang

    Wondering how much Fido/Rogers are over charging
    Lowing bill from $22000 to $500 Aha!!!!!!

    Its a lesson how to earn money !!!!! and I bet still they are making something out of this deal.

  • catrina

    Idiots! You should have to pay the whole amount because u shouls have listened to your providers and put on a riaming package. And an 11 yr old an iphone? Come on now smarten up

  • Matt Porter

    Don’t get me wrong this is sad but what you have to realize is that in this case its not Fido or even Rogers for that matter that can impact that price. That price is also given to them by the domestic carrier in mexico charging them for being an alien carrier. Dont get me wrong 22,000 is a lot of money but from them to drop it to 2,200 is to say the least expected. The drop to 500 is the insane portion that i would like to say thanks to mobilesyurp for helping this guy. If it was not for you guys being a nation wide website, this story may not have gotten as big. if it didn’t get this big then we all know that that price would have stayied at 2,200.

  • locustal

    $22,000 for less then a gig of data that costs the cellular companies (Rogers and roaming partner) less than $2.00.

    The mobile industry is out of control. I don’t care if it’s the kids fault or not, there has to be some kind of consumer protection against these rates. These companies WANT you to screw up and when you do they extort you for everything they can because they can.

    • williamworlde

      Another good comment addressing the real issue at hand.

    • Tom

      I highly doubt they’ll be able to make most customers pay for five-figure roaming bills. Chances are the customer simply does not have that money on hand. In pretty much all the other similar stories, the carrier ended up waiving the majority of the fee.

      And yeah, the foreign carriers are the ones who set the roaming rates. There’s a reason why the rates differ from country to country.

  • Jim R

    Want to make this a non-issue forever? Have the CRTC require cell phone providers post *their* costs for roaming and data. Once the public sees the usurious markup on something like this $22K bill, the providers would be shamed into being more reasonable.

    • williamworlde

      Well said; THAT is exactly the point! However, there is too much money to be made for the stakeholders involved to upset the applecart.

  • williamworlde

    OK, so this WILL be a bit long; read it or not… If you dislike it, please state your rationale otherwise it is meaningless.

    If my bank see a few rapid DEBIT transactions at stores they “know” I don’t frequently purchase from, you know what they do? They suspend my card. IT has been annoying, but I AM grateful for their vigilance. A phone call, some security establishments, and I’ve got the use of my card back.

    People DO do stupid things (=lack of attention?); *especially* 11-year old kids! Not really; EVERYONE does. Why didn’t my SP (I’m with Fido too) truncate data transmission at $1,000, $500 or any other arbitrary amount? Send a warning text message? (They text me when my data has reached 75% of my monthly allotment.) I don’t think they’re offering convenience; I think they’re preying upon people’s lack of attention. And our general obsession/greed with convenience and entertainment – at any cost.

    This issue is not new and has happened with other SPs too. What people are failing TIME AND AGAIN to come to terms with, is how could the SP so easily reduce a $22K bill to $500?! Do you think for one moment if they REALLY did incur that sort of charge-for-services they’d so readily/easily wipe them off?! Think about it because I certainly don’t think so!

    So, why isn’t the broader Q of gouging being addressed? It’s amazing that Canada’s mobile services’ plan/pricing infrastructure IS WORSE THAN 3RD-WORLD COUNTRIES! I was amazed to see how inexpensive plans were in 2010 in my native 3rd-world home, especially as the exchange rate was $6+ to $1CAN!

    The CRTC is not acting fast enough to correct this gross injustice of what I think amounts to legalized robbery.

    One last thing. Jian G. of CBC just spoke to Commander Hadfield. I wonder if that was a $22,000 ~10min. call to space. Hmmm…..

    • Nicole

      I am for sure disliking your statement, and my rationale is that the family was given all possible information on costs, packages available, and how to not use the services and chose to use them anyways. Cell phone companies are not babysitters.

    • williamworlde

      Hello Nicole. I am not suggesting SPs be our babysitters, but by the same token, why don’t they have mechanisms similar to the banks to protect us from ourselves? Save for our locked-in mortgages, unbelievably we have greater control over our financial plans than our cellphone plans!

      Also, how could the “real” worth of services be $22K and yet be so easily reduced to $500?! Think about that; really.

      The multiple questions I have raised are bigger than simply asking for someone to protect/prevent us from committing irrational/stupid acts.

    • steve k

      Nicole

      So then you’re ok with your car insurance company charging you $500,000 for any accidents your fault or not then, I assume. After all you took a driving course, got your licenses and insurance company (if asked) will tell you how to prevent accidents yet you still get in one.

      They aren’t your babysitter either. But guess what, there are regulatory rates and fees they can charge to prevent that kind of gouging. Why is telecommunications different?

    • Mike

      @ Steve k:
      Bad analogy. There’s a max deductible that my car insurance company charges me if I were to get into an accident, my fault or otherwise. The amount is agreed upon before I sign anything with them.

      Now, for argument’s sake, let’s say there is no maximum deductible with my car insurance. If I got into an accident I had to pay a lot of money.

      I would
      a) look for a different company that has a maximum deductible, or
      b) not drive.

      After all, driving is a want, not a need. Same with cell phones.

    • Mike

      @williamworlde:
      1. Yes banks try to protect you. Do you know what the flip side is? As someone who used to work at a call centre for one of the major banks in Canada, let me tell you…I’ve lost count as to the number of times when an irate customer called, demanding to know why his credit card didn’t work. The security department regularly puts temporary holds on cards that they think are being used fraudulently, and phone reps get SCREAMED at as a result. Yes, you may be ok with the inconvenience, but you don’t speak for the majority of the population.

      2. If you’ve ever worked in the collections industry, you would know that a lot of times they’ll settle the debt at a MUCH lesser amount because that makes it possible to collect. Charge the guy 22k and see 0, or charge him $500 and he pays $500. What would your preference be?

    • williamworlde

      @Mike

      1: This may be naive, but I believe that anyone if spoken to “properly”, especially when their monies are involved, no matter how irate can be redirected to becoming rational and calm. Maybe it’s “just me”; it’s what I do.

      2: I have never worked in collections but I do understand the concepts surrounding bankruptcy. This is not that so when you can reduce a bill from $22K to $500, then your rationale MUST kick in and you MUST ask how valid the initial charge was in the first place. Lets take me for instance: If a client of mine owed me that sum of money for my real, tangible services, do you seriously think I’d settle for $500?! No, we’d being going to small claims court!

  • Nicole

    How is this the phone companies problem.
    It clearly states the dad called them before the trip, was given the Pay per use cost and offered roaming packages which he decided not to take.
    Then the phone company told him how to turn on airplane mode to avoid any “accidental” roaming charges.
    In spite of all of the information given he allowed his son access to the phone without any supervision for 3 days! his son turned airplane mode off, would have at that point received a text stating again the pay per use costs and probably a link to add a package, chose to ignore that and continue to use the phone. The kid didn’t curl up into the fetal position because he was shocked at the roaming fees he did it because he knew what a moron he had been and assumed he would get in trouble, which is exactly what should have happened, the dad should be unbelievably grateful that the phone company agreed to credit as much as they did, let alone ask for more.
    The phone company gave all the necessary information and ways to avoid charges. A company cant be responsible for the choices YOU make after being given all the information. Why should the phone company be held responsible for bad parenting

  • Your Mom’s Husband

    Blaming the carrier for this is like blaming GM because you got caught speeding in your Chevy Camero.

  • ld

    Making a mistake while using a cellphone cannot be equated with having an accident while driving and totalling a Chevy Camaro and losing $22,000. In that case let us have graduated licensing for cell phone usage. I am sure the cellphone companies would just love that…they will lose 1/3rd of their user base!!

    • Nicole

      This family didn’t “make a mistake” they knowingly used the services after being told multiple times how much it would cost.
      Also the last commenter said “speeding ticket” not “having an accident and totaling” so way to go sensationalize it and besides all of that even if cell phone companies did offer some kind of roaming workshops etc nobody would attend them, people are not willing to take responsibility for themselves, its easier to call and cry at a large corporation

  • Rolo Tomasi

    My question is how often does someone intentionally, knowingly rack up a $22,000 cell bill? At what point does Fido take notice of an obviously way out of the ordinary charge? Was there a point (maybe as the bill crossed $500 for example) that they realized there might be a problem? In what other industry would this be considered fair play? Imagine your residential utility bill is always around $100 a month then suddenly in the span of 3 days your usage shoots up to $75,000. Do you think this would receive a different reaction from your utility provider? They would immediately dispatch a crew to see what’s wrong. They would not just send an email reminding you of the cost of high usage.

    • williamworlde

      Not because your argument mirrors mine, but it’s good to see people understanding the underlying principle. There is a deep-rooted problem in the industry, especially in Canada, that is not being addressed. Then again, it’s probably all just economics: Supply and Demand.

  • Tom

    This reminds me of when I was 10 years old and dial-up internet was the norm (and very expensive in Singapore where I resided at the time).

    My parents made the mistake of letting me connect while unsupervised for hours, and I went to play some browser games, and racked up several hundred dollars on the bill as a result. Of course, my parents got really pissed off and my punishment was forfeiting TV and other entertainment and ice cream for a month. But unlike this dad here, my parents learned their lesson and did not blame anyone other than themselves for what happened. They didn’t even try to argue with the company about the bill. They also made sure I learned a lesson too.

  • Happyboy

    What a bunch of stupid r*****s this is way I got my iPhone from the Apple store all I do is where ever I go in the world I just get a SIM card

  • Diana

    Aren’t the phones automatically set not to use data while roaming?
    Say the kid turned off the airplane mode, but then he would have also had to go into settings and check off the data roaming option as well. People should call beforehand to block data if they’re roaming.. this is old news.

  • G.O.B

    Not that the guy doesn’t have my sympathies for paying such a high rate but with respect putting the phone on “Airplane” mode was really bad advice by the Apple store person. I mean it takes less than 3 steps to turn that feature on and off, it’s deliberately set up that way. I know a 4 year old that can unlock an iPhone and place a call!, that’s just as many steps. If he wanted to avoid data charges while roaming he should have done his diligence in reading up on the phone’s settings and looked for simple things like how to turn off data and more critical how to turn off roaming data.

  • williamworlde

    Sorry for this additional post, but as Canadians (especially with our 3-year contracts!), we are very passionate about this topic.

    Answer this honestly: Are some of you not justifying the charges simply because this person is “a money guy”, that is a financial planner from the beautiful province of BC (this is not my prov.)? Are there some prejudices at work here? What if it was a plumber, IT technician, building contractor, maid (none of these professions here are mine), etc., would you still think it justified? Hmmm…..

  • Ray

    It may be $20 for 700mb of local data use, but when you’re roaming you pay for the convenience. Its the same reason you pay extra fees for using stand alone ATMs when you’re too lazy to find one from your own bank.

    The son “went into a fetal position and was crying” because he knew he messed up. This guy doesn’t deserve a reduced bill; he deserve a lesson against self-entitlement.

    PS. If you’re staying (presumably) in a resort, clearly they provide would wi-fi access. Why was this not an option? Stop bitching and start parenting!

    • yehhh

      As much as I want to agree with you, I can’t. If this happened to you and you were the parent, would you want to pay the $22000? Sometimes you gotta put yourself in others shoe, to know how it feels.

  • Kayle

    These people are stupid and act like its the providers fault, its actually the provider in that country that tells the provider in Canada to say this person was using this much data and to charge them, I love how people pin this on the providers fault and they dont think, hey wait Im in another country maybe i should keep my phone off or remove the Sim and then are shocked when they get home of there phone bills. I travel all the time, I just get my phone unlocked and the country Im travelling to I buy a prepaid Sim, if your to stupid to know then your stupid enough to pay..

  • Al

    Enjoy college son!

    Oh wait, you aren’t going anymore.

  • no

    i am gonna ask my son to buy something stupid with my CC then i can “claim” it wasnt me. hehehehehe

    • hl

      even better idea, tell your son to buy something with your CC in a foreign country with higher exchange rates, then complain about the obscene amounts of money your bank will make from the exchange rates.

  • Matthew

    Fido still made $450+ off this man.

  • Mike

    He’s not happy with $500. Wants it down to $200 PLUS he wants out of his contract without paying penalties.

  • yehhh

    Bet the kid was watching p0rn on youtube. Oh yehhh, they banned those..boooohh.

  • butcher99

    There are laws against this in many states in the US it is called price gouging. It probably cost the phone companies involved at most a few cents for all those calls. It is just data. It is not expensive to ship. You don’t need to hire a private jet to deliver it.

  • butcher99

    the bill has since been reduced to $500 but it should be $10. at most.
    just toss the phone.

  • chris from bby

    I don’t feel sorry for this guy. He knew that roam charges would be expensive, yet it’s his fault that he gave his phone to his kid to use. Even after they offered to reduce some of the charges, he is still whining and crying. The kid was probably in the fetal position because his dad was taking the belt to him.

    Fido/Rogers should have still charged him the full amount. That would teach his kid to go outside and play rather than site inside and watch YouTube all day.

  • MapleHamwich

    $22000 for 700mb of data. An ISP’s wet dream.

    Data caps need to be removed. Charge us for bandwidth, that’s fine, that makes sense. DO NOT charge us for data usage, that makes no sense, and is absolutely not right.

  • KillaKastro

    All you people calling this man stupid or an i***t are a bunch of hypocrites like you’ve never made a mistake before. I’m pretty sure that everyone on this forum are more technically inclined about wireless devices and the mobile industry than he does. But to belittle the man for an honest mistake is just ridiculous especially when he owned up to it. Bunch of internet thugs you all need hugs.

    • Tyrone

      Not a 22K mistake. How can you say that his parents didnt check up on him and take the phone away? Technically Fido does have to drop price cause it says in your Agreement in black in white you will pay whatever charges.

  • Falco

    You are responsible for your own destiny and knowing the terms of your wireless contract. Roaming charges aren’t cheap because you are no longer with Fido, but with one which has an agreement with Fido. They don’t exactly enter into that agreement for free. Everybody pays. isn’t that fun?

  • JamalPeter

    OMG I worked Fido head office 3 years.
    Anyone defending their billing practices is so disgustingly uninformed. The iphone connects bro…to roaming networks and they have been charging 30/mb a mb for years to virtually anyone who travels overseas…..always 5-9mb always I phone….hundreds of clients a day call retention or int roaming calls them….youve incurred 4099$ in charges…we are gona reduce that to 500$….dont you love us!! This company has been screwing people over 24-7 for small amounts of data since the III phone came out. Have negotiated over 400,000$ myself over the years…..the company backs down but with the new budget 2012 dont expect too many freebies. People actually encouraging Fido to do this has made me vomit this evening. GOOD JOB YOU KNOBS

  • James Rollins

    Retard.

  • old fart

    Can someone punch him in the face for owning a iphone and being so dumb!!! Financial blah blah blah you old fart. Time to retire if you can’t do the math

  • williamworlde

    My final words on this matter…

    Though I have no right to be, I am truly disappointed in you Canada! I am almost certain some of your sentiments were prejudiced against this man and his family due to their seeming financial stability (mine’s not as great as theirs, for the record). And you are so smart too because you have never made any judgmental errors. Congratulations.

    It is rather disappointing that most of you failed to grasp the underlying significance of this story that keeps repeating itself. And, as long as we go on keeping busy picking on each other the Canadian monopolistic SPs will continue gouging us. Good for us! Congratulations again.

    Let the “thumbs down” begin. Please. Thank you.

  • BS I say

    the government or social services should look into the parents negligence, and take the kid away.
    fido should discontinue their plan for being too stupid.

  • d3v14n7

    Problem #1: He’s using an iPhone
    Problem #2: He let his kid use the iPhone while in another country
    Problem #3: He’s a d*****s

  • billy

    am I the only one that observed, if his son is going to a fetal position, it’s probably because of prior child abuse.

  • Scooter

    @billy: I jokingly thought the same. If he went fetal and started crying, it is because he knew at any moment that his father was going to end his life. As an aside, I love CBC’s clip of the kid no sitting calmly on the couch, playing with his dad’s iPhone like there isn’t a restraining order. If my kid got a $22 000 phone bill, he’d never be within 50 feet of a cell phone.

    But seriously. I personally believe that there is a certain amount of responsibility on the part of the user. It sounds like he declined a roaming package. He failed to learn about other roaming options, like unlocking (note: not as public knowledge as you’d think) or just not using the phone. He then chose to let his son stay in the hotel room for 3 days with his cell phone. The son then chose to turn off airplane mode and stream videos, showing that the father likely did not educate his son that this will cost money.

    Handing an uninformed child a cell phone is like handed them a loaded gun. They just don’t get it. I’m not saying that children as stupid. They just haven’t developed a clear understanding on cause and effect when intangible matters are involved. If children do not understand that these things cost money, they have no reason to regulate their usage, thus leading to problems like this.

    I have little sympathy for the family. There were warning signs that they ignored, and several poor choices they made. I agree that $22 000 is outrageous (albeit comical), but I don’t agree that he should get out of jail for free. He should be charged $1000 and smile for the opportunity, and not have the option to cancel without penalties. Temper tantrums are not an acceptable means of currency. He’ll be leaving Fido (and I don’t blame him), but he shouldn’t get special treatment because he got angry for not educating himself and his family.

  • Mr Bean

    His son was in the fetal position because he was being whipped in the buttocks by his Dad for watching the videos. Typical dumb smartphone user: complain about the exorbitant roaming charges to the media to avoid paying the ridiculous fees!

  • Osman

    No matter what, anything over $100 for 715mb is insane! I know the guy is at fault but why are we settling for these insane business practices. 99.9% of that 22k is pure profit!

    Those margins should be against the law!

  • Tyrone

    Nobody fault but his they even told him to get a roaming package and he didnt buy one.

    Also this is a good reason for people get unlock their phones to prevent this from happening. Fido was nice enough to drop it down to 2200 and then down again and he was still complaining.

    Hope next time he’ll buy a roaming package to prevent this from happening.

  • T1MB0T

    had he been on wind he would have 0 in charges. As we all know wind does not roam!

  • Rick S

    There is an old term “Caveat Emptor” ( buyer beware ). When people buy “smart phones”” they never read all the small print to figure out the hidden charges and fees associated with the service.