Photo: Marko Cvetkovic/Shutterstock

Bell Canada Bites Big Time

by Julie Schwietert Apr 18, 2009

Does anyone besides me find everything having to do with taking your cell phone abroad to be an absolutely maddening experience?

Despite all the models and service options that exist, there are no fewer than one million frustrations I experience when traveling with my cell phone. There’s SIM card switch out. Roaming fees. Spotty service.

And that’s just for starters.

But I guess I should be grateful that I’m not Alex Dobson.

Dobson, an 18 year old Canadian who traveled to Peru last year, didn’t intend to take his phone with him at all. When he reached into his pocket and realized he hadn’t left it at home, he threw the phone in the bottom of his backpack and didn’t think anything else about it.

That was until he got home and learned that he had a $13,000 cell phone bill.

Dobson’s phone was stolen along with the rest of the contents of his pack. The thief apparently had lots of friends or relatives outside the country. Making calls to the tune of $3.49 a minute, he racked up a bill that eventually totaled more than $24,000.

Though Dobson canceled his cell phone service and reported the theft to his service provider, Bell Canada, the company continued to send him bills for calls the thief was making. After “investigating” the matter, Bell Canada decided that since the situation didn’t involve fraud (huh?), Dobson was liable for all of the existing charges.

And I thought these shenanigans only happened in the US.

Dobson’s mother, though angry, says “If we’re eventually held to have to pay it, we’ll have to pay it.”

Would YOU pay the bill for calls you’d never made? Share your response below.

Community Connection:

Want to forgo cell phones altogether but still need to keep in touch while you’re on the road? Check out “5 International Phone Plans for Telecommuters” and “Pimp Your Skype Experience” to learn more about Voice over Internet phone (VOIP) options.

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