The Curse of the Roaming Charge
Or, roaming charges can be dangerous to your health.
Heard the latest horror stories about travelers experiencing near-cardiac arrest when they get the bill for roaming charges from their mobile provider?
Michelle Higgins writing in the The New York Times tells the story of a Verizon customer traveling in Jamaica, who racked up an $11,0000 bill in roaming charges for four days of trying, unsuccessfully, to text and check email.
That Verizon reduced the bill to $2,500 didn’t do much for the customer, so, understandably, the case is still being negotiated.
Roaming fees are unfair, exorbitant, and most of all, sneaky.
Standard advice is to turn of the roaming feature of your phone when traveling abroad.
Except how does that work, and how do you do it?
I arrived at an international airport recently, made a quick call, and received the expected caution about expecting roaming charges.
That was fine. I planned on using my iPad in WiFi-only hot spots so I didn't much pay attention.
A few hours later I received a text message advising that my roaming charges were now at $205.00.
That was very strange. Charges for what? I made only one phone call.
An hour later when I called my provider, T-mobile, to ask about the charge, I was fold the bill was now 500 bucks.
Again, I hadn't even used the phone, except that once.
No matter, the T-Mobile rep said. Your phone is constantly accessing data and thus the roaming fees.
Could that be?
Rick Romero, reporting for KABC-TV (LA), agreed, saying that if your cell phone is simply on, data is still being delivered and the customer is being charged...even if he/she never uses the phone.
And a spokesperson for the Council of Better Business Bureaus tells the story of a customer getting socked with a bill for $65.000!
My T-Mobile guy offered a 20% discount on the spot, and this great advice: turn your phone off and use a land line.Continued on the next page