Actually reading your contract might just be a good idea...
Think your $3,000-$5,000
international data roaming iPhone bill was bad? One Portland family wasn't particularly happy to get a $20,000 bill from AT&T
). The Terry family sent their son on a Canadian adventure, where he used a laptop with an AirCard to send photos and e-mails back home -- without paying attention to additional per kilobyte charges (which can be up to $.0195/KB). The family claims that a pre-trip conversation with AT&T revealed nothing about the additional charges:
The Terry family said they asked an AT&T employee about the service before their son left the country. They said they were told nothing about international fees. Dave Terry also said they were never contacted by the company to be alerted of the high fees. "(We) have a bill that runs normally $250 to $300 for our cell phones," Terry said. "When AT&T saw the numbers getting over $1,000, I would think it's their responsibility to inform us that something was amiss because that card could have been stolen."
In AT&T's defense, their roaming data charges are available online
if you bother to look, and most of these cases are a result of users not bothering to actually read their contract. As a counterpoint, wireless plan salesmen don't exactly go out of their way to highlight the limitations of "unlimited" plans, and support reps frequently don't provide accurate information
when users call to ask. You also have to wonder how much trouble it would be for carriers to send an automated SMS should your account start to show a balance that requires a second mortgage.
It's somewhat of a chicken and the egg argument every time this story repeats itself (and does it ever repeat itself
). One side argues it's the American way to take advantage of the stupid, lazy and poorly informed, while the other side argues that unscrupulous companies should be forced to stop scamming unsuspecting consumers.