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Vodafone Customer Hit By 27k Internet Data Bill!
By: MarkJ - 28 December, 2007 (9:25 AM)

Ian Simpson, a 29 year old factory worker from Darlington (Yorkshire), could be facing bankruptcy after Vodafone hit him with a data usage bill for 27,322! Ian had been using his mobile phone as a modem to connect his laptop with the Internet and, over a single monthly period, had managed to download several TV programmes.

Unfortunately Ian's 41.50 per month package (Vodafone Anytime 800 + 7.50 inclusive Internet deal) did not include "unlimited" web usage:

But his first bill had hundreds of extra charges for online use - some at 18 a minute. He said: "My mate told me how to wire my mobile to my laptop as a modem. It meant I could download faster than on the handset and get a proper internet connection in my flat.

I probably downloaded 20 or 30 TV shows and four albums. I assumed it'd be OK, but they cut me off. I rang up and they said I owed them nearly 30,000. If I'd known it would cost so much I wouldn't have done it.

Vodafone said rules state the web package has a limit of 120 megabytes of downloads - designed for casual use to check emails, browse and download the odd song. A spokesman said: "Few customers exceed the fair usage. But it seems clear Ian has run up these charges legitimately."

It's sad to think that, for the money, Ian could have rented himself a leased line for one year or several bonded 2Mbps SDSL connections! However in this case Vodafone do clearly state a 120MB limit, though their apparent inability to warn the customer earlier on about such an obvious over-use is of serious concern (it'd still take a lot of time to download all that).

Vodafone is now advising customers to "never use a mobile as a modem", which is a bit silly considering the growing trend towards 'Mobile Broadband' services and the operators own 29.37 per month 3GB usage capped business package. The Mirror reports that Vodafone will also try to reach a better "sympathetic arrangement" with Ian, although it doesn't say how sympathetic.

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