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What Would You Do If Your Child Racked Up a High Cell Phone Bill?

Posted by on Mar. 4, 2013 at 1:02 PM
  • 7 Replies

11-Year-Old Racks Up $22,000 Cellphone Bill on Family Vacation

kid on cellphoneAnother day, another kid running up an outrageous cellphone bill. This time, it's an 11-year-old who is costing dear old dad some $22,000! And parents, this one could happen to you ... even if you don't have a texter at home.

Ah, gotcha, didn't I? We've heard more than our fair share of stories about teens racking up mega bills by texting, but Matt Buie's tween wasn't sending messages to anyone. He was using data. And to make matters worse, he was using that data out of the country.

Hello roaming charges!

Buie, who is Canadian, was on vacation with his family in Mexico when his son suffered a serious sunburn. The 11-year-old was given permission to hang out in their hotel room and play games. Unfortunately, the kid switched Dad's phone off of "airplane mode" and went on the web while he was at it, spending hours on YouTube.

Dad admits he was in the wrong here for not keeping better track of his kid, although he's still fighting with his carrier over price gouging.

Regardless of who was wrong here, it caught me off-guard. Part of the reason I love my cellphone so much is precisely because the data plan gives me a way to amuse my kid when necessary (vacations especially). And I know for a fact that my 7-year-old would not know a darn thing about roaming ... even though I'm a stickler about her handing over the phone any time a warning pops up on there.

I'll admit it: I depend on the phone to feed us warnings. And I depend on our family's code of honor for her to let me know about said warnings.

Heck, we took our daughter out of the country (to Canada) last summer. I know I should have been pro-active and read up on our carrier's rules before I left the country, but I was so busy with work and trying to prep our family vacation that I admit it just slipped my mind. So I ended up depending on the phone to tell me when I could access my data and when I couldn't.

Imperfect, I know. I got lucky I didn't end up in the same situation as Matt Buie. But you better believe I'm never putting myself in that situation again.

Do you track roaming charges when your kids are using your phone?

by on Mar. 4, 2013 at 1:02 PM
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Replies (1-7):
by Member on Mar. 4, 2013 at 7:45 PM

My nephew racked up a $500 bill once.  His parents paid for it, like they paid for all his other stuff.

Our kids don't have a cell phone as we don't think they are mature and responsible enough to own one.  Our motto is you earn it and not entitled to it.

by Valeri on Mar. 5, 2013 at 11:18 AM

Our kids do not have cell phones but when they do, I hope to talk to them about the responsibility of it before we go on vacation.  Heck, if its on my own mind about where we use it, then I want to share that.

Now......if any of my daughters happen to not listen and rack up that kind of money......I have no idea.  $500 is easy.  Gotta pay me back and they can't have the phone until it is.  $22,000 though?  I'm not sure.

by on Mar. 5, 2013 at 2:16 PM

 My dd is 11 and has a cell phone.  We have unlimited texting and her data has been blocked.  She's thrown a fit about it but, I don't believe my 11 year old needs to have data on her phone. 

by Silver Member on Mar. 5, 2013 at 5:21 PM

 None of my kids have their own phones- no, not even the almost 14 y/o. And we don't just hand our phones over to entertain them. Of course, it helps that we have "dumb phones" that we got about 2005 : )






by on Mar. 5, 2013 at 7:16 PM
Only one of my two daughters has a cell phone, but it is not a smartphone! My daughters do however have ipads and they know how to utilize wi-fi rather than our data plan.
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by on Mar. 5, 2013 at 10:29 PM

I've never had roaming charges and don't even know how to track that on the phone.

If my child racked up a huge cell bill (or any bill for that matter), they'd lose use of the phone and have to do work around the house to pay for the bill.  They wouldn't get phone privileges back until the bill was paid.

by on Mar. 5, 2013 at 11:59 PM

My daughter did this - TWICE!  For two months in a row our cell bill was double what it should have been.  There was a girl who had moved here from CANADA and became friends with my daughter.  Well....they would text each other....neither one realizing that the girl's cell number was still a Canadian number!  We had automatic payments of our cell phone bill, so it took us a couple of months to realize what was going on.  We can text and data "long distance", but Canada is a different country!  just like mexico, so of course, unless you pay even more for that service, so in essence it becomes "free" when you travel to a different country, well we dont travel to different countries....the girl was in our state!

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