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Readers Respond: Tell Your iPhone Roaming Horror Story

Responses: 59

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Don't pay the full amount!

I know this might sound risky, but it worked for me. I had a similar problem but it wasn't regarding travel, it related to a phone that was lost and never turned off properly. They said it was my responsibility to have called it in and cancelled. I had called in and reported the loss and thought it was enough. I stood my ground, and after several calls from them, they cut the $4,000 in half. You may not beat them at their game, but don't ever just pay the full amount. They know they're wrong and they're just looking to get the most they can, but you can at least minimize the damage.
—Guest Chipko1

T-Mobile muggers

After 3 weeks holiday in the States, despite having a laptop for my Internet use, I still got mugged for almost £600 of iPhone 4 web use. The 2 biggest items incurred on days I was traveling and had the phone turned off the majority of the time. I've since been informed it's the "automatic" downloads that incurred charges. I was not advised to apply a cap on web use, and wasn't even aware data roaming was switched on. Yes I know I should take responsibility and check, but we can't all be techies. Surely it's incumbent on providers to offer such fundamental advice and warnings, or are all networks immoral robbing SOBs and is this the reward for 6 plus years of customer loyalty? Stuff T-Mobile as far as I'm concerned.
—bazmac26

indo bill nightmare

I downloaded a "web-calling" app and was told that in wireless areas that once the phone connected to wireless, that when I made phone calls, they would route through the wireless network, at no fee. I did as instructed in Bali, the phone "registered" as being on wireless and the icon on screen said "ready"..... got my bill and it stated $1027 as balance due. When I called customer service, they said that my phone routed directly to their int'l towers and there was nothing they could do. :0( Super bummed and frustrated!
—Guest betsy

Your negligence.

It's your responsibility to turn off data roaming when you travel. Cellphone providers aren't there to hold your hand. You are adults and should own up to your negligence.
—Guest BrutalTruth

Holiday surprise!

I went on holiday to Miami for 2 weeks with my family. When I came back I found my phone had been blocked. My dad called our mobile phone service and found that I had used over 5 hours of data time. When was that? I only used my phone for music and to look up an address. We had a bill for £1500. We were told that it was from data roaming. We weren't told about it nor did we know of it. How can companies just do that? Next time I go away, my phone stays at home.
—Guest Annoyed Brit

$7,000 lesson!!!

I just got back from Europe and found out the the few hours I used the Internet cost me over $7,000.00! Even though I called my cell phone company and purchased a roaming package, I learned that I only had very limited coverage (10mb). I was shocked - I did not know this could happen! This was a very expensive lesson and I will turn roaming off from now on - no more data plans for me!
—Guest DB

Had Data Roaming off

I called the day before I left to suspend my phone before heading to Mexico for a month and was convinced by the rep to take the mexico + unlimited text plan. When I got back I was charged $192 in international texting and 35 MBs of data roaming, even though data roaming has been turned off since I bought the phone. I was told by every rep I talked to that I would have unlimited texts and to ignore the messages popped up. Now that I'm home, they will only give me a 50% courtesy charge, and won't do the leg work to prove that their reps gave me false information. I'm really surprised after 10 years that Verizon would not even believe that I was told false info!
—Guest LML

Roaming charges

I just received a $1,700 roaming charge fee. My phone was on only for the alarm and camera. I made no calls and received no call, but was charged for emails that I did not retrieve. I paid for a smartphone. Guess it failed, because this smartphone is dumb.
—Guest elizabeth deprima

iPhone 4 roaming got me!

Just like rest of the people on this site. Went to Cancun for three days, sure enough my data service gets cut off. I wait to get back to call AT&T because I don't want to accrue any charges (go figure). Get down to Atlanta and call AT&T. In the three days I stayed in Cancun they hit me for a outrages amount on megabytes at $19.99 each! For a total of around $600, I had only checked email a few times, used the web and a few of my apps. I asked them how was it possible and they explained the whole roaming thing. Offered to put me on a $49 a month plan to avoid paying for the $600, okay deal but I wish they had informed me of the iPhone and international roaming to avoid the ordeal. Still seems like I got off better than some folks here.
—Guest J.J. Hernandez

Roaming

My mobile phone was lost in abroad, and discovered £3000 bills for roaming and so on. T-Mobile refuses to admit liability for allowing it to reach that amount. I asked before to block international calling and roaming. Please any help will appreciated.
—Guest T Mobile UK

Optus high international roaming charges

I had a ridiculous iphone intl roaming charge of $3600, for 10 days in Hawaii. I used the internet 3 times to check email & logged onto facebook twice to browse for 3 minutes each time, I was not told that I had to turn Roaming off when I asked the Optus operator to explain how it is used, she just said once you arrive in Hawaii turn roaming on, and to my surprise was charge $3600 for 3 uses of the internet... I disputed it with Optus, they ignored me so I went straight to the communications ombudsmen & with their help the charges reduced to half as I have been a customer for over 12 years with Optus, and have never had issues with them, always paid on time & was given misleading advice as to how to use the international roaming. Make sure to dispute it if you have to contact the communications ombudsmen. I personally will never travel with international internet access again on an iPhone.
—Guest Marie

Iphone 4 Data Raped!!

I used my iPhone 4 data roaming turned on once during my stay in Holland, to check email. Then I turned off data roaming and did not use it again. When I returned home I had a $393.00 dollar charge. The one time checking mail was only $ 3.50, the other charge for $377.00 for 6 hours of data?? I never used the phone to browse or send mail. In fact I used my iPad for Skype calls, etc. I agree with other people, leave your device at home if you are not sure. I got a free SIM for my iPad in England and it only cost me 5 pounds for a month of unlimited service!! I got ripped off and I have an above average knowledge of tech........live and learn, there are people getting rich from the cell phone racket, the rest of us are trying to pay the bill!!!!
—Guest Thomas Cole

Disputing $5000

Just got back to Japan from a 3 week stay in the USA, not even 3 weeks...18 days! Used friends MyWi for Wifi use and Softbank are trying to claim that I owe them $5000! After checking my account on their site, the amount shows $4200, so I'm fighting these robbers the whole way! No way am I paying that! Not even a penny! Sure, I'll pay for the three calls I made for less than a minute or two to my home, but that's IT! Each minute is just $3, so a far cry from their trumped up charges! Someone needs to do something to stop these guys robbing us like this! It's outrageous!! And for those of you that harp on about "Turn off your roaming function." - obviously you think it's okay for these companies to charge extortionate amounts for simply having your phone on! You probably work for them!
—Melaman67

$5000!

Just got back from the USA, to Japan. Had a bill for $3,300! Called them up to say WTF? and they had the cheek to then say it was now over $5,000! Threatened with the newspapers and they changed their tune and it will now go to arbitration! This should absolutely be banned! We should only have to pay for what we KNOWINGLY use!
—Melaman67

Surprise After Trip to Cancun

My grandson says he got a text from ATT after we arrived in Cancun that he interpreted as having free text messaging just like back home. Now I have a $300+ phone bill for international texts. Did any one else ever get such a message?
—Guest Guest Steve

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