Checking your bank account after receiving a hefty bill or the morning after a particularly rowdy night out is quite honestly fucking terrifying. While a couple of extra data charges and a few more rum and cokes than you remember can be a pain in the arse, you’ve probably not been faced with a bill that could get you a deposit on a fairly nice house.
Well, spare a thought for old mate Kim Beveridge, who had to go through the wholly unenviable process of getting a $191,000 phone bill completely erased.
The software executive had to take the massive bill to the Victorian courts after negotiations with telecommunications company TeleChoice were unsuccessful. By unsuccessful, I imagine they asked old mate when he was sending the first payment and he promptly told them to “fuck off”.
It’s worth noting that the bill was so fkn UGE that the Telecommunications Customer Ombudsman, who is usually in charge of settling these types of disputes, said it was completely out of their jurisdiction.
Apparently, back in 2014, Beveridge was in Barcelona for a work-trip and somewhere between getting wasted on sangria and running away from bulls, he had his phone stolen.
In the 20 hours from when his phone was stolen to when his account was frozen, the thieves were able to make 4,484 phone calls, which equalled to around 1,100 hours of talk time and literally thousands of texts.
After TeleChoice only offered to bring the bill down to a modest $34,000 despite the absolute absurdity of the situation, Beveridge had no choice but to take it to the courts. Who went on to rule that charging him for calls made via illegal methods went against their own terms of service.
The decision was made official yesterday and no doubt old mates breathing a little easier. As for future phone plans, he told the ABC “All of my family has switched to a prepaid service. You know what you’re up for and it’ll be cut off after your balance is reached.”
Best not to risk it, I guess.
Image: Illawarra Mercury