Philip Groves, a 35-year-old roofer from Shrewsbury, was stunned when he received a £1,411 mobile phone bill from Vodafone. He questioned the bill, and discovered that it was his daughter Trinity who had racked up the charges, downloading YouTube tutorials on how to make more impressive loom bands. Vodafone has refused to cancel the bill.
Trinity had watched an incredible 28 hours of instructional videos on her mobile phone in a two-week period in September. She assumed that the films were streaming via wi-fi, so it wouldn't affect her monthly bill. However, it turned out that the wi-fi had stopped working, so she was racking up data charges at Vodafone's highest rate.
Philip told the Daily Mail that he felt he should have been warned that the charges were building, saying: "If a phone company see a discrepancy in your bill or a huge surge in usage surely they have an obligation to let you know. Suddenly I had this bill through from them on my doorstep, demanding all this money. I was absolutely gob-smacked."
The Mirror reported that he was so concerned that it could happen again that he cancelled the contract. To add insult to injury he was billed another £381 cancellation fee. He says that the company is threatening him with legal action, and that he may need to sell his work van in order to pay the bill.
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It's a horrible situation, and it's shocking just how many people are being stung with incredible mobile phone bills after making small mistakes like this. It's most commonly done when people are overseas, and are unaware that they have gone over their overseas data limit. A recent survey claimed that one in six people had returned from a holiday to find a horrifying bill.
In April this year a woman was charged £2,600 in order to download a Neil Diamond album she already owned at home. She was at a party on holiday in South Africa and wanted to play The Best of Neil Diamond. She paid a hefty price for her mistake.
In September last year, one mum from south London, was charged £20,000 - or £2,700 a day - for data roaming while she was on holiday in Turkey. She had been uploading photos to Facebook, and had no idea how much she would be charged for it.
There have also been similar tales of people being stung after making downloading errors in the UK. In 2012 Chris Wilson, a decorator from Milford Haven, was billed £6,875 for one month from Orange. The company said he had run up the bill downloading TV programmes and films, which he denied.
However, not all these stories end with the horror of an enormous bill that needs to be paid. Last January Chris Bovis, a 26-year-old builder from Tilbury in Essex, was cut off by Orange after the company said he had run up a bill for £19,000. Fortunately after an investigation it turned out that the problem was a fault with his phone, which meant it was automatically sending and receiving large amounts of data without his knowledge.
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