The case of the $85,000 cell phone bill

Cell phone key pad
Cell phone key pad

Admittedly, you'd have to be pretty dumb to try to use your cell phone as a modem for browsing the internet.

But an $85 thousand Canadian Dollars punishment does seem a bit harsh for less than 2 months of service. And yet that's exactly what happened to Piotr Staniaszek, a 22-year old well-tester from Alberta.

to Globe and Mail, "Equipped with a $10 unlimited mobile browser plan, Mr. Staniaszek believed he could use his cellphone as a modem for his computer and started spending a lot of time on the Internet, downloading high-definition movies and other bandwidth-hungry applications."

The young man was charged on a per-kilobyte basis and, after he complained, the company reduced the bill to "just" $3243.

There's no question that he bears the responsibility for this snafu -- After all, he was trying to beat the system by getting unlimited internet access from his home included with a $10 per-month mobile browsing plan. And the bill isn't some mistake -- he used a huge amount of power with a phone that wasn't meant for that purpose.

But shouldn't the company have noticed something was wrong? Shouldn't the company have flagged a problem long before the bill climbed to $60 thousand, the amount of the first bill he received for the service?

The cell phone company did the right thing by reducing the bill to less than 1/20th of its original size. Mr. Staiaszek should take this case as a $3243 lesson in trying to beat the system, and move on with his life.