Amoeblog


THE $84,000 PHONE BILL

Posted by Billyjam, December 19, 2007 05:45am | Post a Comment
No matter how bad your phone bill ever gets, odds are it will never come close to that of the Canadian oil field worker who recently was stunned upon receiving an almost $84,000 cell phone bill. Turns out that the Canadian, a 22 year old named Piotr Staniaszek, who is an oil and gas well tester in rural northwest Alberta, mistakenly thought that he could use his new phone as a modem for his computer as part of his unlimited monthly browser plan for 10 Canadian dollars from Bell Mobility, a division of Bell Canada. Or at least, that's what his dad (his designated press rep) is telling the media.

But that was far from the case, hence the hefty phone bill. Apparently he was online a lot, all the while thinking that he was on his $10 a month unlimited plan, as he downloaded movies and other high-resolution files oblivious to the later per-minute charges they would incur. "He's working in the field sometimes, alone, in the shack. What to do? Drink vodka or go on the Internet?" Staniaszek senior said, in defense of his son. "Now it's C$85,000 and nobody told him," he said.

According to the invoice, his son rang up about $59,000 in charges in November, and they have since  climbed to around $84,000. But then, after he protested and it got a lot of media attention, first in Canada and then beyond, the Bell company reduced it considerably out of "goodwill" -- making it now the much lower and affordable amount of $3,365. But even that is too high says the 22 year old, who still feels like $10 a month is what he should be charged, so long as he doesn't do it again.

A Bell spokesman said the plan is not intended for downloading files to a computer, and that's clear in his contract. Meanwhile, Poppa Staniaszek said his son did not want to talk to the press after the interest his story has received and that he is afraid to use his cell phone and incur more long-distance charges.

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