This makes the Adelaide Mayor's $20,000 roaming bill and Malcolm Turnbull's $13,000 look like amateur hour. One Australian had to battle his carrier over a $570,000 phone bill after his phone was stolen while overseas.
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The latest issue of the newsletter from the Telecommunication Industry Ombudsman (TIO) details the case of David, who organised a mobile phone for his son to use while travelling in Europe. (First mistake right there: taking a phone overseas for a trip rarely makes sense.)
The phone was stolen, and David's son reported the theft to both the phone company and to police. When the bill came in, it topped $570,000, and included calls to Somalia. Despite the theft of the phone being reported, the provider disputed the claims, arguing at various times that the calls had been made from Australia and that the bill still had to be paid. Eventually, after the TIO intervened, the carrier waived the charges, but the process took more than a month.
As ever, the lesson is not to use roaming if you can possibly avoid it; keep your phone secure by making sure it has a password; let your carrier know immediately if a phone is lost or stolen; and stand firm when your carrier makes ludicrous claims about what you owe. Check out our guide to the most common roaming mistakes and how to avoid them for more tips.