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Man charged $1400 for son's "unlimited texting"

Discussion in 'Android Lounge' started by Nite Hawk, Apr 16, 2012.

  1. Nite Hawk

    Nite Hawk Newbie
    Thread Starter

    A British Columbia man ended up being charged $1400 for his son's Roger "unlimited texting" plan.
    The kid had an "unlimited texting" plan in Canada and the kid downloaded a app- "HeyWire", which claimed-- "free texting anywhere" .
    He texted his girlfriend a whole pile of times who was only a few blocks away, and ended up with a huge bill because the texts were being re-routed through the States, which his father refused to pay.
    Rogers then cut off the contract and billed the father for both the texting and the phone ( cutting off the contract, which Rogers ended not the father).
    Doesn't unlimited mean --UNLIMITED ?? or is this false advertising?? Read more about it, and be aware of the possibly being charged for supposidly "Free texting"
    Dad takes stand against Rogers over texting charges - British Columbia - CBC News

    Nite Hawk

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  2. Roze

    Roze Hiding behind a mystery

    Just a minor correct, the kid wasn't the one that downloaded the app but it was his gf. The number that her text went through was a USA number, so when he texted her back, it went to the USA (a long distance text). The texts were not part his CANADA unlimited text.

    If anything, the dad should sue HeyWire for false advertisement and causing the charges.
  3. rui-no-onna

    rui-no-onna Android Enthusiast

    This. Most unlimited messaging plans don't include international text messaging and this is what it falls under. Not really Rogers' fault that the son and his gf didn't do their homework.

    Don't most of these services use data, though?

    Question, doesn't Rogers have a service for limiting usage for specific lines? I know there's something like that for AT&T in the US. Oh well, one reason it's best to put kids on prepaid and have them pay for service from their own pocket.
  4. magnoidgoat

    magnoidgoat Guest

    That's what I'm thinking!
  5. Nite Hawk

    Nite Hawk Newbie
    Thread Starter

    I am with Virgin mobile with an "unlimited texting " plan and
    I do NOT have Data, and can text with no problem. However I don't send pictures either, which might require a data plan.
    The thing is this family got "dinged" big bucks, and the advertising said --"free and unlimited all over the world", so I am thinking someone besides the family should foot the bill. I consider the statement "free all over the world" false advertising when it wasn't free all over the world.
    With that said the rest of us need to be careful or we might get stuck with some huge bill, when we have been told certain services are "free"...
    Nite Hawk
  6. funpig

    funpig Android Enthusiast

    It appears that Heywire is a very good app available for both iphones and androids. It sounds like a good idea; two phones on heywire can text each other for free. The mistakes made were by girlfriend for not reading all the information and failing to advise her boyfriend to get a heywire account and the boyfriend for not realizing that the area code for the girlfriend's ipod was not a local 604 or 250. If you go to the site, it reads: "For your friends who aren’t on HeyWire, standard text messaging rates apply to text a U.S. Phone Number (nothing extra)." So it appears that each time he texted her, he was incurring a long distance text fee (he only gets free Canada texting).

    People need to take responsibility for themselves and their kids. The father signed up the plan for the kid and should have taught the kid how to avoid extra charges. There are so many ways for you to lose money with a smartphone, eg. texting, long distance, data usage, streaming movies, gaming, gambling, online banking, etc. Depending on the carrier, the customer can choose to block data usage or long distance usage but this is up to the customer (at least I could on some of my phones).
  7. valorian

    valorian Android Expert

    I''m not familiar with Rogers phone plans but I don't see in the article where it's says Free All Over the World.

    This part of the article says all of Canada, not the USA.

    "I thought he could text a thousand times a day, because that
  8. Roze

    Roze Hiding behind a mystery

    Yes, It's 160 or 180 characters/text.

    I think Rogers should have handled the situation a bit better. The fact that it cancelled BOTH of the father's accounts and then charge him for the EFT is not right.
  9. Nite Hawk

    Nite Hawk Newbie
    Thread Starter

    Heywire's web page advertises --free messaging between HeyWire users world wide, and free messaging to ALL mobile phones in the US, Canada, and mainland China. This is from THEIR web page...Maybe they should foot the bill??? This is from "how it works worldwide" on their page..
    Nite Hawk
  10. rui-no-onna

    rui-no-onna Android Enthusiast

    Are you talking about the character limits for text messages? Because that's not what I'm referring to. AT&T has a service ($5/month) where you can limit your child's cellphone usage (e.g. only allow calls to/from certain numbers, no calling between certain hours, limit the number of messages sent, limit cellular data usage, limit for downloadable/premium stuff, etc). Yeah, the $5/month is a money grab for AT&T but it's much better than bill shock for folks who can't be bothered to monitor their usage.

    I think the dad should read the contract very carefully. I remember reading somewhere in my AT&T contract that if AT&T cancels my contract or if they make significant changes to service and fees which causes me to cancel my contract with AT&T, I'm not liable for ETF (can't remember if non-payment voids this, though). Mayhaps a similar clause is on the Rogers contract?

    True, Rogers could have handled the situation better but they're not required to. Extra leniency would have made for better press in this case, though.
  11. JIMV

    JIMV Android Enthusiast

    I would not pay it either...lying to subscribers should not be allowed in a contract regardless of how they bury the truth in fine print...
  12. rui-no-onna

    rui-no-onna Android Enthusiast

    Rogers wasn't lying to subscribers. In this case, it was the improper set-up of the HeyWire app that's the culprit. Really the GF and son's fault. From what I understand, the GF didn't have a cellphone. She has an iPod and I assume when she set up her HeyWire account, it seems she chose a US number. Now that wouldn't be a problem if the son also has a smartphone and installed HeyWire on the son's phone. If they both used the HeyWire app, messages would go through the internet and would be free. By the looks of it, though, the GF texted the son on his normal number and the son replied using the stock messaging app. :facepalm:
  13. JIMV

    JIMV Android Enthusiast

    I still say the lie of 'unlimited' is a scam...If my service provider sells me unlimited data, I expect exactly that, not 'unlimited' being defined like Clinton did 'is'...
  14. mpw

    mpw Android Expert

    Sounds like the kid didn't read the small print, and the father should've made sure his son understood to check he understood what he was spending.

    That said, the term 'unlimited' simply shouldn't be allowed, unless it really is unlimited, which it very very rarely is.

    Also I find it astonishing that it's not standard practice for carriers to message customers when there's unusual activity on an account, my old O2 account would text me my balance after EVERY call, and possibly SMS too. Now that might be OTT, but daily wouldn't be a bad idea.
  15. Roze

    Roze Hiding behind a mystery

    You should read the article again if you haven't. The issue isn't with the carrier but 3rd party app that the gf used. Which gave her a USA number. When the kid texted her, his text went to the USA, which is considered long distance. His unlimited text plan is fine CANADA wide texting. Texting to a USA number is not covered by his unlimited text plan.
  16. El Presidente

    El Presidente Beware The Milky Pirate!
    VIP Member

    I agree with mpw, shouldn't Rogers have called the account holder when they noticed the account was being used in an irregular fashion and the bill was getting extreme?

    I took my phone to Poland last year and after 3 days of being over there, making a couple of calls/texts etc, my UK network called me, asked me to confirm my details and make sure I was the one who had the phone and that I knew I would be incurring excess charges for using my phone abroad.

    Yes, it essentially the fault of the son/girlfriend for not reading the T&C's properly, but I think Rogers could have handled it better.
    lunatic59 likes this.
  17. bioforce

    bioforce Well-Known Member

    This reminds of way back in the BBS days in the 80s. The one I went to a lot turned out to be one of those inter lata calls, so it was charged with long distance. Dad was not amused with the 175$ phone bill.
  18. Steven58


    Let's keep comments respectful and kill the rudeness. Thanks!

    El Presidente and lunatic59 like this.
  19. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum

    Except both the son/gf were underage. I don't know about Canada, but in the U.S. if you are under 18 you may not enter into a contract. The contract was between Rogers and the father and the father was not a party to the messaging agreement so the system completely breaks down.

    There is a lot of precedent with kids dialing "900" numbers and the parents not being held liable for the charges, which is why they changed the procedure to warn potential callers that fees will be incurred if they continue and that they must be at least 18. If I read the article correctly the messaging service specifically stated (with fine print conditions) that there would be no charges. The kids took that statement on good faith.

    Personally I think not only should Rogers revers the charges and reinstate the account, but the owe them a 'tangible' apology.
  20. rui-no-onna

    rui-no-onna Android Enthusiast

    Seems Rogers does send you a message automatically for roaming. However, it's usually difficult to ascertain if someone's sending international text messages on purpose or not. Besides, $400 isn't really in the extreme category just yet.

    Do agree, though, carriers need to set-up automated notifications for any unusual usage or if you're reaching your limits. For example, in the US, I receive both a notification text message and email whenever I reach 50% and 90% of my data allowance along with information on how much overage will cost.

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