$15 Quadrillion Phone Bill Doesn’t Ring True

Oct 12, 2012 12:53pm

A woman in France got the early termination fee of all time when she cancelled her phone service before her contract expired.

Solenne San Jose, from Pessac in the Bordeaux region of southwestern France, got a bill for 11,721,000,000,000,000 euros, or $15,179,617,380,129,834 to be exact.

“There were so many zeros I couldn’t even work out how much it was,” San Jose told French news service Sud Ouest, according to the BBC.  “[I] almost had a heart attack.”

Adding to San Jose’s stress was the fact that the phone company, Bouygues Telecom, initially stood by their billing.  Instead of offering to cancel the bill, the company said it could not stop their computer-generated payment system from automatically withdrawing the amount from her bank account.

When San Jose persisted further in her own defense, Bouygues Telecom then agreed to set up a payment installment plan to help San Jose, a former teacher, pay off the amount, according to the BBC.

After further protest from San Jose, the company ultimately acknowledged they had, in fact, mistakenly added a few zeros to her bill and she, in fact, only owed 117.21 euros, or $151.

The company blamed the exorbitantly high bill on a printing error.

While San Jose’s bill was probably the highest mistaken bill in recent memory, it’s not the first.

WATCH: Paris Trip Leads to $8,000 Verizon Bill

In February, a Canadian family returned from a family vacation in Arizona to find a $10,600 bill from the Internet provider for movies their children streamed on Netflix without realizing there would be roaming charges.  The family eventually settled with the company and paid only $1,000.

ABC News’ Ned Potter reports that, last October, a Florida woman said T-Mobileran up her $210,000 in roaming charges while on a trip to Canada.  In a small victory, an Illinois man who complained he was charged $27,000 for streaming a Chicago Bears game while he was on a Caribbean cruise eventually won in persuading AT&T agreed to void his bill.

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