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The $15,066,462,883,968,732 Phone Bill
We Have a New Overbilling World Record!
by Karl Bode 05:41PM Thursday Oct 11 2012 Tipped by jmmilner2 See Profile
In what could be a record for these sorts of stories, one French woman has been greeted with a phone bill for 11,721,000,000,000,000 euros ($15,066,462,883,968,732). The error was the fault of French provider Bouygues Telecom, who initially told her there was nothing the company could do about the huge bill, then proceeded to inform the woman they'd be nice enough to allow her to pay the bill off in installments. After some back and forth the company finally acknowledged that the bill should have been for 117.21 euros, and said they'd waive the entire fee for their error. The company blamed the screw up on "a printing error and a subsequent misunderstanding between the client and staff at their call center."

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hottboiinnc4
ME

join:2003-10-15
Cleveland, OH

1 recommendation

Not really.

Not really an overbilling world record. A little pointless as far as news. Just a simple printer/billing software error that generally could have probably been seen by the call center.

pc319
Premium
join:2002-04-24
North Royalton, OH

Re: Not really.

Yeah, but they still told her to pay it in installments. LOL!

FFH5
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

2 recommendations

Re: Not really.

said by pc319:

Yeah, but they still told her to pay it in installments. LOL!

A good reason to NOT allow auto bill pay. They could have cleaned out her checking acct while the error was straightened out.
--
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cahiatt
Premium
join:2001-03-21
Smyrna, GA

Re: Not really.

I think that would have wiped out most of Europe's checking account.
BiggA
Premium
join:2005-11-23
EARTH

Re: Not really.

A normal phone bill would have done that.

Jason Levine
Premium
join:2001-07-13
USA
Europe? The world's GDP is about $79 trillion. Her bill was $15,066 trillion. She would have needed to pay the entire world's GDP (assuming no inflation or GDP change) for 191 years.
--
-Jason Levine

jbgroup1
Non Conformist
Premium
join:2000-05-04
Dayton, MD
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US

Re: Not really.

said by Jason Levine:

Europe? The world's GDP is about $79 trillion. Her bill was $15,066 trillion. She would have needed to pay the entire world's GDP (assuming no inflation or GDP change) for 191 years.

That's US$15.066 quadrillion dollars.
--
...as an individual, I have a right to [do] what I think, what I feel, and I think we all have a right to our own destiny as individuals. And I think I have a right to choose mine and everybody else has a right to choose theirs.
»jonestown.sdsu.edu

skeechan
Ai Otsukaholic
Premium
join:2012-01-26
AA169|170
kudos:2

Re: Not really.

15 thousand trillion is 15 quadrillion

Jason Levine
Premium
join:2001-07-13
USA
I was keeping her bill in trillions to better compare against the world GDP.
--
-Jason Levine

Zimbabwe Pri

@sbcglobal.net
I can pay her bill!
jmmilner2

join:2011-05-17
Yorkville, IL
The figure is about 6000 times the GDP of France. What I find most amazing is that the phone company employees could stick to their call center script and offer a payment plan. The woman in question was a teaching assistant who was recently laid off (it does happen, even in Europe) and was trying to close her cell phone account since she couldn't afford it without a job.

You can read the whole story over on the BBC News site.

skeechan
Ai Otsukaholic
Premium
join:2012-01-26
AA169|170
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Clear Wireless
·Cox HSI
·Verizon FiOS
Actually it wouldn't have gone through at all. There is no way that a bank is going to cough up billions and leave you with a neg balance and they don't do just partial payments based on available balance.

But she would have had an NSF fee if it were a US bank after the transaction was refused.
severach

join:2002-09-12
Jackson, MI

Re: Not really.

If you can find a bank that will pay that and give you a negative balance I'll give you half the money, OK?

Corehhi

join:2002-01-28
Bluffton, SC
Reviews:
·Hargray Cable

Re: Not really.

said by severach:

If you can find a bank that will pay that and give you a negative balance I'll give you half the money, OK?

How about this, cell phone company does an oops and $1,170.00 comes out of your account when you think $117 is coming out. Most people don't have an extra thousand in their checking accounts so most like choas begins.

skeechan
Ai Otsukaholic
Premium
join:2012-01-26
AA169|170
kudos:2

Re: Not really.

It's inconvenient for you but the phone company is liable for any charges levied against you for the problem (like any overdraft or returned check fees). And with my bank I get the money back the next day while it is investigated.

Corehhi

join:2002-01-28
Bluffton, SC
Reviews:
·Hargray Cable

1 recommendation

said by FFH5:

said by pc319:

Yeah, but they still told her to pay it in installments. LOL!

A good reason to NOT allow auto bill pay. They could have cleaned out her checking acct while the error was straightened out.

Why I will not do auto pay anything. Oops and you're broke with checks bouncing every where.

elwoodblues
Elwood Blues
Premium
join:2006-08-30
Somewhere in
kudos:2
Reviews:
·VMedia
said by FFH5:

said by pc319:

Yeah, but they still told her to pay it in installments. LOL!

A good reason to NOT allow auto bill pay. They could have cleaned out her checking acct while the error was straightened out.

Exactly, it happened to my neighbour, they took him for several months payments when he made a change in services, and they were nice enough to "credit his account".
--
No, I didn't. Honest... I ran out of gas. I... I had a flat tire. I didn't have enough money for cab fare. My tux didn't come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from out of town. Someone stole my car. There was an earthquake.......

Jason Levine
Premium
join:2001-07-13
USA
Just pay a penny the first month, two pennies the second month, and keep doubling the payment every month until it is paid off five years from now. (Yes, I figured out that it'd take 60 months.)
--
-Jason Levine

battleop

join:2005-09-28
00000
Agreed. So there was an error (this stuff is built and maintained by humans) and then she talked to someone who is not paid enough to give a shit. So I wonder where the news is here.
--
I do not, have not, and will not work for AT&T/Comcast/Verizon/Charter or similar sized company.
ISurfTooMuch

join:2007-04-23
Tuscaloosa, AL
Well, technically, it was an overbilling, since they did send her a bill with that amount on it. Still, though, anyone who saw something like this would have to realize there was a mistake somewhere. Of course, in defense of whoever in the call center spoke to her, very large bills generally have to go to a higher-up for adjustment. As obvious a mistake as this was, its sheer magnitude is going to require someone in upper management to fix, even if the fix only requires a keystroke or two.

But it isn't things like this that bother me; it's things like this where the company flatly refuses to admit it made a mistake. I had a situation once where a local grocery store made a mistake on my grocery bill whereby an item was supposed to be 1.99, but the cashier accidentally entered 19.99, and I didn't notice it until I got home. I took my receipt back the next day and showed it to the owner, who simply asked if I'd like cash or a store credit. Since I was about to buy more food, I just told him to subtract it from my purchase when I checked out in a few minutes, which he did. True, it was an error, but I wasn't upset, since it was an easy one to make, and it was fixed with no problems.
Kamus

join:2011-01-27
El Paso, TX
said by hottboiinnc4:

Not really an overbilling world record. A little pointless as far as news. Just a simple printer/billing software error that generally could have probably been seen by the call center.

You couldn't let it slide could you? you just had to ruin the headline for everyone else.
Kearnstd
Space Elf
Premium
join:2002-01-22
Mullica Hill, NJ
kudos:1
You know the sad thing is the CS rep was likely completely powerless to do anything. However I hope it was not the initial phone rep that said they could do an installment plan as I would hope they would be smart enough to know "Hey this needs a ticket to tier 2 because their bill is worth more than the GDP of an entire planet."
--
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Rekrul

join:2007-04-21
Milford, CT

2 recommendations

This is what happens...

This is what happens when nobody can agree on the usage of periods and commas in numbers...

Metatron2008
Premium
join:2008-09-02
united state

15 Quadrillion...

Hey cool, we could make her pay off our national debt as well as make us all rich... in installments!
brianiscool

join:2000-08-16
Miami, FL
kudos:1

Nice

This will fix europes national debt issue.

DaSneaky1D
what's up
Premium,MVM
join:2001-03-29
The Lou

Re: Nice

This will fix europes the world's national debt issue.

Bruschi
Premium
join:2001-04-16
Cape Cod
kudos:1

Re: Nice

every man woman and child on the planet will get over 2 million:)
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Professional student pilot!
severach

join:2002-09-12
Jackson, MI

Re: Nice

That would be a spike on the inflation chart noone would soon forget!

Subaru
1-3-2-4
Premium
join:2001-05-31
Greenwich, CT
kudos:1
said by DaSneaky1D:

This will fix europes the world's national debt issue.

I wonder what it would be like to start with a clean plate?

Nightmare

@corpmailsvcs.com

teleco Exexcutive

I think i just heard all the wireless, teleco, Cable executive and the like investors release a HUGE orgasm over this overage fee.

compuguybna

join:2009-06-17
Nashville, TN

listen to what i'm telling you...

The call center rep probably just didn't want to listen..........
ISurfTooMuch

join:2007-04-23
Tuscaloosa, AL

This is brilliant!

I've just uncovered the world's greatest accounting scam. Had they reached an agreement to, say, have her pay the bill out at a rate of 1 euro per year, they could have shown the amount in receivables as money owned the company, and, as long as she was paying as per her agreement, the account would be in good standing. So, if they could have listed this outstanding amount as an asset, the company's value would be enormous, stock prices would go through the roof, and the stockholders could cash out with huge profits in the sale of their stock.

OK, I'm not an accountant, so this may not work, but if it did, it'd be brilliant.
zefie

join:2007-07-18
Hudson, NY

Re: This is brilliant!

Smells a little like Enron.

footballdude
Premium
join:2002-08-13
Imperial, MO
Raising your asset valuation doesn't automatically raise your stock price. Can you imagine the blatant manipulation on Wall Street if it did?
--
Concentrated power has always been the enemy of liberty - Ronald Reagan

lololol

@verizon.net

Buy the planet

Its actually more money than the entire world even has in circulation.
severach

join:2002-09-12
Jackson, MI

Re: Buy the planet

That never stopped Dr Evil before!

Packeteers
Premium
join:2005-06-18
Forest Hills, NY
kudos:1

2 frenchies need to lose their job

the billing rep who actually suggested she pay it off in installments

the computer programmer who defined such a huge printable variable.

aztr0

join:2007-10-28
Brooklyn, NY

Wow.

How stupid can one be? Initially the company told her they'll work with her to set up installments to pay that off? Without looking deeper into the problem and find out that it was a computer glitch? Wow.
mdurkin

join:1999-08-11
San Bruno, CA

Re: Wow.

They say it was a printing error. My guess is that the call center rep was looking at a screen that showed the correct 117.21 euros owed, and that they just kept talking past each other and the call center rep never realized that in the customer's mind they were calling about a bill for a purported many trillions of euros. ie. they were on a different "page" about the amount of money they were talking about.

88615298
Premium
join:2004-07-28
West Tenness

Re: Wow.

said by mdurkin:

They say it was a printing error. My guess is that the call center rep was looking at a screen that showed the correct 117.21 euros owed, and that they just kept talking past each other and the call center rep never realized that in the customer's mind they were calling about a bill for a purported many trillions of euros. ie. they were on a different "page" about the amount of money they were talking about.

trillions? Try QUADrilions.
rradina

join:2000-08-08
Chesterfield, MO

Why allow such a large number?

Does anyone find it odd that the billing software would even allow this kind of number? I know disk space is cheap but this is an individual bill which means the billing master table is defined to keep track of numbers that big for every account. That's a lot of wasted space considering the average monthly bill, even for a business, is only 10s of thousands at most.

I know, I know...there's always the old story about 640K ought to be enough and what we think is huge today won't be tomorrow but this is an insane number. As someone pointed out, the entire world isn't even close to being worth that much and won't be for a hundred years even with rampant inflation.

••••

fatmanskinny
Premium
join:2004-01-04
Wandering

Let me grab my debit MasterCard.....

I will pay the bill right now.

Jason
Stowage Class Traveler
Premium,Mod
join:2001-01-24
38.2967 Lat
kudos:3

I had the oposite happen to me.

I received a bill out of the blue from Time Warner Cable some 6 years after I had discontinued service with them (and moved out of the state).

The amount listed on the bill (marked as 6 years overdue, mind you) was $0.00

Obviously, this was a glitch somewhere, but wanting to satisfy whatever buggy program issued me the bill, I dutifully wrote and mailed a check for $0.00

Hopefully, that will bring my account current
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Anonymous_
Anonymous
Premium
join:2004-06-21
127.0.0.1
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable

Re: I had the oposite happen to me.

said by Jason:

I received a bill out of the blue from Time Warner Cable some 6 years after I had discontinued service with them (and moved out of the state).

The amount listed on the bill (marked as 6 years overdue, mind you) was $0.00

Obviously, this was a glitch somewhere, but wanting to satisfy whatever buggy program issued me the bill, I dutifully wrote and mailed a check for $0.00

Hopefully, that will bring my account current

Should check your credit report as well. TWC maybe legally liable for any higher interest rates you may have paid.
--
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