Bell says it made a “billing error” when it charged one its customers $6,478.57 CAD for using 115GB of mobile data.
The horror story comes courtesy of a Reddit user named Derek who posted his November 2016 Bell Mobility bill to the Canada subreddit. With some 18,000 upvotes and 1736 comments, the thread is currently the top post on the subreddit.
In an interview with Global News, Derek says he got the bill when he spent the month away from home in a building that didn’t have internet access. So he acquired a MiFi from Bell and subscribed to the carrier’s top-tier Mobile Internet Plus plan.
Derek notes he was given a $50 warning at roughly 9GB, but that when he called the carrier, a representative told him to ignore the warnings and that “the accounting would be fixed.”
On its website, Bell says the Mobile Internet Plus plan is “great” for individuals with heavy data requirements, noting, “your monthly fee automatically adjusts according to your monthly data usage, so you always get the best rate.”
Starting at $60 per month for 5GB of data, the plan is designed to increase in doubling data increments. It tops out at 100GB and $145 per month. After 100GB of monthly data usage, Bell says customers can expect to pay $5 for each additional gigabyte of data they use that month.
Based on the pricing structure outlined by Bell, Derek should have paid about $220 for using 115GB of data.
Instead, he was charged $5,673.02 in overage fees.
Per MobileSyrup‘s reading of Derek’s bill (seen below), which he posted to Reddit, what happened was that Bell started to charge him using its pay per use flex data pricing structure after he used 5GB of his Mobile Internet Plus plan, defeating the entire purpose of the plan.
Under the terms of the company’s pay per use flex data pricing structure, customers pay $40 for their first 1GB of data usage in a month and $0.05 for every megabyte afterward.
In his interview with Global, Derek says he contacted Bell multiple times in the months after he got his November bill to attempt to resolve the issue. Despite being told several times by different customer service representatives that the bill was “in error,” Bell did not issue him a new bill.
Instead, on June 14th, he received a notice from a credit agency that said he owed the carrier $7,629.19. He says he hired a paralegal with a $1,000 retainer fee to help him. On Thursday, he posted his bill to Reddit, which got the attention of Global and subsequently Bell.
When asked to comment on the situation, a Bell spokesperson said:
“We looked into the issue and it appears that a billing error has occurred. We will be contacting the customer to make things right immediately. An error of this type is rare, and we will investigate all aspects of this unfortunate situation.”
If you ever find yourself in a similar situation, it’s best to contact the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services (CCTS).