A Canadian spring break trip turned out to be pretty expensive for one Michigan family.
As the parents drove over the Ambassador Bridge into Canada, their 11 year old son was unknowingly racking up thousands of dollars in roaming data charges while watching videos on his iPad.
“It was an innocent trip,” said Mike Domzalski. “We had never been to Toronto. It was something different.”
When Domzalski’s cell phone bill arrived, he saw the whopping amount due of $17,476.99.
“They want to charge me $17,000,” he said. “I just think it’s insanity. I’m more than willing to pay what the actual rate would be – a couple hundred dollars – but this is like buying a brand new car for a roaming charge.”
“He (our son) was watching YouTube videos in the U.S., and once we got to Canada and over the bridge, he couldn’t get a signal at all,” Domzalski said.
That iPad was linked to Mike’s work cell plan.
Days later, Mike was in a meeting when a copy of his cell phone bill was presented to him.
“I thought it was a practical joke or something,” Domzalski said. “Our IT person at work said that this was the roaming charges for when we were in Canada.”
According to the bill, he was charged $11,733 for the first hour alone, and about $17,500 for five additional hours before AT&T cut the service off. And to boot, Domzalski says that his son couldn’t even get a signal after they crossed into Canada.
“For $17,000 he never even saw anything,” Domzalski said. “The screen went blank and there was no connection for the whole time we were getting billed.”
An AT&T spokesperson responded with the following statement:
“Because the data was downloaded outside of the U.S., international rates apply. In this case it was more than five hours of continuous data usage. We encourage people to enroll in our international plan.”
“There could be people out there that are paying these bills,” Domzalski said. “At least I have my company’s support.”
Domzalski stated, “By not making a phone call to set up something on an iPad – which I might have missed – I shouldn’t have to pay $17,500.”
While these charges are outrageous, anyone planning a trip across the border should be aware of possible roaming charges beforehand. We recommend contacting your carrier before you take that trip.
AT&T says once a customer crosses into Canada, a third-party carrier takes over and it’s out of their hands. AT&T is still looking into the matter. However, no resolution has currently been reached.
UPDATE: MACOMB TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WJBK) – AT&T has agreed to waive the $17,000 bill a Michigan family unknowingly racked up during a trip to Canada.