1 Billion smartphones are set to be sold worldwide in 2013, but 1/5 of users don’t actually use them to go online, often due to confusion of the charges users will face if they do go online . Its not surprising with stories like the one below published today of a faulty iphone which racked up data charges of £19K over 2 months and the heavy – handed approach of the phone operator in chasing payment.
Mail online reports that an iPhone user told of his shock today after being hit with a £19,000 bill for his internet usage.
Chris Bovis, from Tilbury, Essex, contacted his phone company, Orange, when they cut off his phone without warning.
The 26-year-old builder was told he had racked up a bill of £8,900 down to unusually high internet usage.
He claims the adviser then warned him his next bill was due to be another £10,000.
Thought it was a joke: Chris Bovis with a letter from Orange demanding payment of a £19,000 for internet usage on his mobile which appears to have occured due to a fault with the mobile device
Mr Bovis said: ‘My first reaction was to laugh as I just could not believe it but it stopped being funny when I realised they were not joking and were totally serious.’
Orange tried to take the £19,000 for the months of October and November from his bank account, only for the transaction to be blocked.
The problem appears to have been caused by a fault which meant his iPhone started sending and receiving large amounts of data in error.
Mr Bovis and his partner Joanna Russo have been left disgusted by the treatment they received, which they say even included threats to send bailiffs around.
He asked for his rogue iPhone to be switched off, but even when it was off it continued to automatically send and receive large amounts of internet data.
A bid to stop the problem by restoring the factory settings had no impact either.
Read it and weep: The letter from Orange explained that Mr Bovis’s contract would be suspended until he paid his outstanding £19,000 balance. The firm has since said it will not charge him anything if his phone manufacturer confirms the glitch
Baffled staff at the Apple store agreed that the phone was faulty and agreed to replace it.
But Mr Bovis’s nightmare did not end there – as Orange said they would still be charging him a capped bill of a whopping £300.
He claims that when told the mobile phone giant that he would not be forking out cash beyond his normal billing amount he was warned of the heavy-handed response.
His partner Miss Russo added: ‘Chris was advised that the £300 was simply not up for discussion and that he must pay up.
‘We were told that failure to do so would mean they would be sending a bailiff round for the full amount of the original bill of £8,907.
‘The erroneous debt would have had a massive impact on both our lives as our house could have been blacklisted – that is if we had still had a house at the end of it all.’
Mr Bovis was sent a letter from his bank saying they had blocked a transaction of £19,000 which Orange had tried to take from his account.
Orange has now accepted they were wrong to try and bill Chris for the faulty phone and have apologised.
An Orange spokesman said: ‘We would like to apologise to Mr Bovis for any distress caused by receiving this unusually high phone bill
‘It does appear that this resulted from a fault with his device and we are happy to reduce the bill to zero as soon as we have received confirmation of the fault from his manufacturer.’