"He's working in the field sometimes, alone, in the shack. What to do? Drink vodka or go on the Internet?" the elder Staniaszek told Reuters. "Now it's $85,000 and nobody told him."
Even though Bell Mobility told Reuters that his plan was not intended to cover computer downloads, as a goodwill gesture, Staniaszek senior said the company pared down the charges to $2,790.
In March, an Oklahoma woman filed a lawsuit against AT&T and RadioShack after using her new netbook landed her with a $5,000 bill for exceeding her monthly data cap.
For $99.99, Billie Parks purchased the netbook from RadioShack in December, according to the popular technology blog Ars Technica. With her new Acer Aspire One she signed a two-year contract for AT&T's mobile broadband service. For about $60 a month, the company offers 3G Internet access on the go.
In her complaint, Parks said that though she was warned by RadioShack that her first monthly bill might be a bit higher than expected, she was unaware that Internet data usage over 5GB would result in "astronomical additional charges running into the thousands of dollars," Ars Technica said.
Parks maintained that she and other RadioShack/AT&T customers were victims of fraud due to the companies "misleading" advertising.
"We're reviewing the suit and don't have a comment on it at this time," AT&T spokesperson Seth Bloom told Ars Technica in March. "But I can tell you that we go to considerable lengths to inform customers of the limits involved in these plans. We display the plan usage limits and overage rates on our collateral, terms and conditions, and on att.com. And customers can check their usage using myWireless Account or by using the usage monitoring capability on the AT&T Communications Manager application."
Whenever you start to sweat the sight of your phone bill, think of this.
In April 2006, a Malaysian man received a $218 trillion phone bill and was ordered to fork over the money within 10 days or face prosecution.
After his father died earlier that year, Yahaya Wahad said he disconnected his late father's phone line. But Telekom Malaysia, the country's largest telecommunications provider, later sent him a 806,400,000,000,000.01-ringgit (U.S. $218 trillion) bill, The Associated Press reported.
The company said the bill was for recent phone calls and said if he didn't pay up within 10 days he'd face legal proceedings.
"If the company wants to seek legal action as mentioned in the letter, I'm ready to face it," the Malaysian paper the New Straits Times quoted Yahaya as saying. "In fact, I can't wait to face it."
A company official, who declined to be identified, said at the time that Telekom Malaysia was aware of Yahaya's case and would address it. She did not provide further details. It was not clear whether the phone line had been used illegally or if the bill was a mistake, the AP reported.