Mobile phone customer hit with $1,500 bill
An island mobile phone customer hammered with a bill for more than $1,500 after a trip to the Middle East hopes her experience will help other people avoid massive charges.
Last night, Debbie Jones said that phone firm One Communications had also told her that she could still be billed for 60 days after she returned from the trip.
She said: “I never knew that even if you turn your phone off, even if you’re not using it, they’re still going to charge you.”
Ms Jones travelled to Canada and then went on to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates from December 1 to 8.
She said she visited One Communications’ Hamilton headquarters before she travelled to buy roaming clearance.
Ms Jones explained she was told that the company had a roaming deal with Canada, but none with Abu Dhabi.
But she said she was left in the dark about the scale of the potential charges in the Middle East.
Ms Jones, 63, said: “People in my age group aren’t used to this technology — we pay our bills, we’re good customers, but we need this to be made clear. It wasn’t explained at all. The moment your phone comes into a country like that, the towers pick up your phone. Just having your phone is enough to get charged. You have to disable your phone completely and power it off.”
Ms Jones said she got a message from One that she had built up charges of more than $500 three days after she arrived in Abu Dhabi.
She contacted her husband in Bermuda and asked him to find out from One how she could stop the charges.
Ms Jones said he emailed her instructions on how to remove roaming from her phone and also paid her excess charges.But even though she believed her phone had been disabled she was later billed for a further $1,000 — and was warned when she got home she might be liable for more charges for up to two months after she left the UAE.
She said the extra charges would depend on where her phone might have registered during her travels in Abu Dhabi.
Ms Jones said the company’s staff should have appreciated that “this is a really different world for people in my age group”.
She added: “It would really have helped if I had been given something in writing when I asked about Abu Dhabi — I don’t understand why they can’t just give you a little card to explain what to do.”
The Royal Gazette yesterday contacted One Communications for comment but the firm had not replied by press time.
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