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Man's trip overseas ends in sticker shock over $143,000 phone bill

The T-Mobile customer of 30 years said he alerted the carrier of his travel plans, as he always does.
Man's trip overseas ends in sticker shock over $143,000 phone bill
Posted at 8:23 AM, Apr 16, 2024

Rene Remund and his wife spent three weeks touring Switzerland last September. But when the Florida couple got home, their cell phone bill had jumped higher than the Swiss Alps.

Remund and his wife said they travel frequently and always notify their cell phone carrier before they leave the United States. In this case,  Remund said he visited a T-Mobile store to share his travel plan. He's also been a T-Mobile customer for nearly 30 years.

“They said, 'You’re covered,' whatever that meant. 'You're covered,'”  Remund said.

The couple took a trip that they described as magical. As they toured the countryside and spent time with family and friends, Remund said he never gave a second thought to the pictures and messages he was sending during their time away.

Shortly after returning home, Remund said he received his T-Mobile bill. He looked at it and thought it said $143. It wasn't until days later that he discovered the actual amount he owed.

T-Mobile charged him over $143,000 for using 9.5 gigabytes of data while overseas. Five to 10 gigabytes is considered average for one month. But in this case, it was all roaming data, which cost thousands of dollars each day of his trip.

Remund said he immediately called T-Mobile and waited on hold while a representative reviewed the charges.

“She gets back. 'No, this is a good bill,'" the representative told Remund.

"What do you mean it's a good bill?" Remund asked.

"Well, this is what you owe," the representative said, to which Remund replied, "You’re kidding me.”

Remund then hired an attorney who wrote letters to the president of T-Mobile but got no response. That’s when the attorney called Scripps News Tampa for help.

We contacted T-Mobile’s corporate offices. Days later, someone from the carrier called Remund and offered to credit his account for the entire amount.

T-Mobile told Scripps News Tampa in an email:

We recommend our customers check the travel features of their plan, such as international data roaming, before departing ... if a customer is on an older plan that doesn’t include international roaming for data and calling, they’ll need to make sure they’re using airplane mode and wi-fi when using data to be certain the device doesn’t connect to an international network.

Remund told Scripps News Tampa it was an absolute relief to no longer have to worry about a six-figure phone bill.

Before your next vacation, always check your plan. International plans differ by carrier. The terms are posted on their websites.

This story was originally published by Jackie Callaway at Scripps News Tampa.


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