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26 Sep 2014

It seems that Australia still leads the world in cases of billshock – the name given to the unpleasant discovery that you’ve accrued a huge amount of charges on your mobile phone account whilst roaming overseas. In the last year alone, half of the 14,500+ complaints received by the Australian Telecoms Ombudsman concerned data costs of over A$400. A staggering 60 customers received bills of over A$10,000! But these poor people have been blown out of the water this week by a new entry into the Billshock Hall of Shame – straight in at number one, the story of the man who received a bill for A$571,000.

Racking up half a million dollars in phone fees is no simple task and requires a lot of help. Firstly, you need to have your phone stolen while in Europe. Then those thieves need to spend just about every minute of the next 24 hours making calls around the world, including to Somalia. Finally, you need to get the timing right – because the customer was resident in Australia but located in Europe, the time difference meant that the phone was recorded as being stolen a day later than it actually was. Fortunately, the Ombudsman has stepped in to ensure that the charges are waived, but we think that it will be a while before this particular record is broken.

If you have heard any Billshock horror stories, or even been unfortunate enough to experience it for yourself, please get in touch and let us know. You never know, you might make it into the top ten!