College Student Goes To Cancun For A Week, Comes Back To $11,667 Sprint Bill

Stacey says while she was on vacation with her family in Cancun for a week recently, she checked her Facebook page from her Evo phone “maybe 5 minutes a day,” but never uploaded or sent any photos, “only a handful of texts.” Sprint says she managed to burn through either 600 MB or 4.7 GB of data during that period, and now owes them $11,667.73. (Note: Stacey doesn’ t specify whether the 4,918,228 kb of data is in kilobits or kilobytes, so I don’t know which number is accurate.)

My name is Stacey and I am a college student, obviously on a shoe-string budget. I recently went on a family vacation to Mexico and came back to receive an $11,667.73 cell phone bill, from Sprint. $9,836.46 of this was international data charges. We were only in Cancun for one week and I managed to rack up 4918228.00 kb of data.

I have an Evo and the rest of my family had other phones for the trip (a BlackBerry, a simple Sanyo flip-phone, and the LG Lotus). The rest of my family now has Evos and I have a replacement Evo (mine was dropped and had a cracked screen at the time of the vacation, insurance sent me a new one).

Since I was on vacation at the time, I obviously didn’t want to be on my phone 24/7, so I wasn’t. I was on Facebook maybe 5 minutes a day. No pictures were sent or uploaded. Only a handful of texts were sent. There is no way in hell that I could have managed to rack up this much data.

Unfortunately, Sprint has been completely unhelpful in getting the charges dropped, or at least reduced. Their Fraud department has said there is no fraudulent activity and the phone was not cloned, their High Billings department said that since my parents had activated their phones for international calling (mine and my sister’s were NOT) we were aware of the rates. That’s the problem: we weren’t, nor was I able to rack up the amount they are claiming I did. My phone (which the $9,836.46 is coming from) was NOT activated for international service.

Stacey, have you seen a breakdown of the data plan usage for that week? Obviously you should start there, and try to piece together what happened. You can also search our site for “Sprint contact info” or check out this number to see if you can find someone who will investigate further.

The FCC is currently looking into whether carriers should have to notify customers when they begin to rack up huge bills, and this looks like a perfect example of the sort of bill shock under discussion. You might want to submit a comment directly to the FCC (see instructions at bottom of post) concerning this issue. Whether the charges turn out to be fraudulent or not, your story is exactly the sort of thing a warning alert would help prevent.