Mythbuster Tweets His Way Out of $11k Phone Bill

high bill

What would you do if you opened up your cell phone bill to face a dizzying five-digit charge?

You might do well to follow Mythbuster Adam Savage's lead.

When the host of the Discovery Channel's "Mythbusters" learned he had rung up $11,000 in charges from AT&T while in Canada, he headed straight for Twitter. The culprit, he tweeted, was the USB modem plugged into his laptop that was running on a wireless plan suitable for the U.S., but not for Canada.

"AT&T is attempting to charge me 11k for a few hours of web surfing in Canada. Pls RT!," he posted to his Twitter feed Friday.

Later, he wrote, "Almost forgot: Hey AT&T! I will fight this bull****."

Still later, he added, "They're claiming I uploaded/downloaded 9 million kilobytes (9 gigs) while in Canada. Frakking impossible."

Before too long, thanks to many of his 50,000 followers, 'AT&T' became a top Twitter trending topic, according to the tech blog TechCrunch.

By later Friday afternoon, the tweeting became too intense for even AT&T to ignore.

"Today the tweeps became twoops. Just got off the phone with AT&T and they've taken care of everything to my great satisfaction.#twitterrules," Savage wrote.

But though Savage's story may be an extreme, he's not the first – nor will he likely be the last – to suffer a cellular bill snafu.

Before Traveling, Make Sure You Have the Right Coverage Plan

Streaming live sporting events, excessive text messaging and exceeding monthly data allowances have left others with massive headaches and multi-thousand dollar bills.

Fletcher Cook, a spokesman for AT&T couldn't comment directly on Savage's case, but he said that, even if you don't have more than 50,000 followers on Twitter, the company encourages customers to contact them immediately when billing problems arise.

Especially as customers prepare for summer vacations and other overseas excursions, he said customers should visit the company's Web site, drop into a store or call the customer service line.

"Whenever you're taking a trip and you're unsure of your plan, take the appropriate steps to make sure you have the right coverage," he said.

Paul Eng, Web editor for the Consumers Union, said that in egregious cases, companies will often work with the customer to find a reasonable solution, but it's still best to avoid the situation altogether.

"Common sense rules here," Eng said. "Make sure you know what's included in the contract. Make sure there are no hidden fees. … You have to be really careful."

He recommends checking your bill every month and contesting a problematic charge as soon possible. If you're about to go on vacation and still want to stay connected, he said it's wise to do some research first so that you know what kind of roaming charges will apply and when.

Most of all, he said, if you're not sure how much a certain activity will cost, it's better to just say no to yourself.

"Resist temptation," he said. "If you just have no clue, better safe than sorry."

Still, even thinking that they're doing the right thing, some cellular customers have found themselves face to face with frighteningly expensive wireless bills. Here are six more of them.

1.$62,000 for Downloading "Wall-E"

Back in April, a caller named Alberto learned that his wireless carrier had hit him with a $62,000 bill for downloading the movie "Wall-E" for his nephew.

He told CNN that he used a new wireless card to download the movie to his laptop while in Mexico.

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