£3,000 SpongeBob SquarePants mobile bill
Dear parents - before we start, can you please stop letting your children play on your phones? Yes, we understand they can be a pain and mither you to play with your phones and tablets, but they keep pressing buttons which cost you a lot of money.
There's a widespread problem where children are racking up huge mobile bills for their parents while playing games and streaming videos. In the latest of a long line of incidents like this, a chap called Conan Sturdy (really?) was hit with a £3,000 bill from BT.
Sturdy hit his business account’s data allowance for the month, and then was charged 50p per megabyte. Six episodes of SpongeBob later, and his bill got hefty.
He said: "One afternoon it was pretty miserable so I let him watch SpongeBob SquarePants on Netflix – it was an afternoon’s worth. I thought there’d be a charge – maybe £30 or £40 – as I received a text saying I had gone over. A charge is one thing but £600 per gig is another. I had no idea that the bill could be so high."
That all said, you'd hope that BT would have things in place that would stop people from getting bills that ran into the thousands.
It is worth noting that, if you get a text alert saying that you're about to reach your limit, a lot of companies will stop you from using any data until you buy more. However, there's a good few that don't, and that's when things get expensive.
Sturdy added: "I took my son on a quick and cheap, £7-a-night camping holiday and I end up owing thousands. I’ve complained to BT that this is just an unreasonable amount and they have at least put payment on hold while they look into my complaint. I am self-employed and I don’t have the money to pay this bill."
Reading your terms and conditions helps, but often, it is difficult to see just how much a company will charge you for going over your limit. When in doubt, don't use your data if you've gone over your limit and certainly try and avoid doing anything that hogs data like streaming videos.
Companies need to make these things clear when you're buying your contract also. Meanwhile, buy your child a colouring book and some felt-tips, just in case.