French Phone Company Bills Woman €12 Quadrillion, Offers To Set Up Payment Plan

Outrageously inflated bills are always somewhat laughable, but those giggles are usually hard to come by for the person involved until after/if the situation gets cleared up. After all, when you receive a bill your first reaction is that you’re going to be responsible for paying it. One woman in the South of France had a bit of a shock when she thought she’d be on the hook for close to €12 quadrillion for her phone bill.

According to the BBC, the woman had requested to close her account with Bouygues Telecom after she lost her job last month. The bill she subsequently received  — €11,721,000,000,000,000 — is almost  6,000 times France’s annual economic output so she would’ve had a tough time paying up.

She says she “almost had a heart attack. There were so many zeroes I couldn’t even work out how much it was.”

The fun part is that the phone company at first told her “Hey, we can’t do a thing about it!” because it was a computer-generated statement. And of course, once a computer does something, no one can change it. It even offered to set up an installment plan to help her pay off the ginormous bill. How accommodating!

Finally the company admitted the mistake, and said it really should’ve just been €117.21 and that the bill would be waived entirely. It also offered her an apology, and said it was just a simple printing error and miscommunication by the company’s call center staff.

We’d like to know who could hear a number like 12 quadrillion and expect that any payment plan could be set up to pay off that amount in the span of someone’s lifetime. Is that more than a bazillion?

*Thanks for the tip, Kristofer!

French phone bill waived after 12qn-euro blunder [BBC]