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Readers Respond: Tell Your iPhone Roaming Horror Story

Responses: 87


We've all heard horror stories about people getting hit with huge cell phone bills they weren't expecting. Tales of US$10,000 monthly bills aren't uncommon. Has this happened to you? Whether your bill was $10,000 or $100, tell your story here. Tell Your Story

Verizon Turn-On

Went to Costa Rica. Roaming is $20/MB, so I am NOT going to use it. I turned on the phone and was fiddling with the buttons to get it to connect. I succeeded in about 1 minute and made sure roaming was off. During that minute my Gmail automatically synced and downloaded 50MB of data. Voila! A $1,000 charge. And I did not see ONE web page or read one email!

Someday there will be a Class Action

For those saying, "You should have turned data roaming off...": 1. With Sprint, many Canadian towers will still connect you even if you have data roaming off. 2. Many people don't know that their phone is connecting in the background. 3. Saying that people shouldn't have phones if they aren't techies is ridiculous and anachronistic. 4. Some people (eg, me) got nailed when they weren't even in a foreign country, but were close to the border. 5. Word of advice -- If your carrier won't work with you, tell them you are leaving, and come over to Sprint. They worked with me.
—Guest Disgusted

Misinformation about Roaming Charges

I traveled outside of the country over Christmas 2013. Before leaving town, I contacted Verizon and asked about roaming charges and the costs of using my phone while away. I was advised that for US$4.99 I could add international calling to my plan, and that my minutes on the phone would be free provided that I did not use more than the 900 minutes I pay for each month. When I got my bill, I thought that I had missed a payment, as it was hundreds of dollars more than usual. When I called Verizon, I was told that the Verizon person that gave me the information was mistaken and that the country I visited is not part of international calling plans. I would never have used my phone as much as I did, and maybe would have not used it at all. I would have limited my calls to Skype calls which are pennies per minute. Verizon did reverse a fraction of the roaming costs. I want to find another customer to whom this happened in order to file a class action law suit. Email me.

That sounds familiar

I went to Nigeria for 8 weeks and had called AT&T about how to manage things whilst I was away. I was told to turn Airplane Mode on and to turn Fetch Data and Data Roaming off. They said my unlimited data plan would keep me in good stead. When I got home I had a $4,000 phone bill with an attitude attached. My brother had paid for my trip and I hadn't been working for several months and this was obscene- to quote a prior quoter- I was informed that I would pay it..........period. I have been with AT&T for nearly 10 years and if I could find another company that would make him happy I surely would.

$4000HKD for 29MB

I have an iPhone 5 and use iTunes Match. So I was travelling to Macau for the day and I was listening to my music with the intention of turning off my data roaming as iI crossed international waters, but I fell asleep! I woke up to a text that said my data bill was 4000.00 dollars in 3 minutes. Luckily they had cut it off there. Not sure what I can do about this. Any advice? The kicker is that they have a plan that lets me have 50 MB of data for 160 dollars. So stupid!
—Guest Dom

My not-so-great phone bill

I was on Facebook and I was playing a game I've always wanted to play and you had to buy a life to buy your stuff and I was like, "No I'm not gonna do it." But I was like, "I'm only gonna get yelled at and I'm gonna get away with it," so I did it. Spent over $200.00 ... doing it that once made it like it was ok, I could keep doing it. I got out of control and I couldn't stop. Next thing you know, I got my first phone I ever had taken away and I am a teen right now and if you have a kid who wastes your money on dumb stuff just email me pls. I can help and my bill before was $350.68 and now ... $72.35. My dad gave me another chance and I saw my dad couldn't get what we needed anymore and it broke my heart. So I don't go on tempting websites anymore. I know at least somebody who's reading this will relate. pls. child, teen, adult? Contact me at cyra.dinneen1@gmail.com. Please i can help and for those teens, it's not ok. One day you might go overboard and your parents just might not be able to afford food, bills, even rent. It's not fun.
—Guest cyra dinneen

There is a solution

If you travel to Europe, there are several companies that rent flat-fee Mi-Fi hotspots. That solves these problems, since all is prepaid and Internet is unlimited. I myself have used onlineineurope.com, but you could also consider Xcom Global. You get a Mi-FI, pay a small flat fee per day and that's it...


I have an iPhone 3G. I went to Botswana for 3 weeks came back to a $123,493 phone bill. They told me I had to pay in full and couldn't make monthly payments. I Sued Apple and got 130,000 dollars to make a payment. My advice: Don't go through Verizon. P.S. F*** you Verizon. [I'd love to see some documentation of this. Google doesn't immediately turn up anything and that chain of events doesn't make a lot of sense. Doesn't seem like Apple could be liable for that. -Sam]
—Guest Pathogenic Bloodshed

Getting charged for restricted phone

So we've been disputing this matter for past 3 months now. We have two phone plans on $60 a month plan. We turned off our cellular data the day we had phones connected due to having Wi-Fi. We keep getting billed for usage when we don't even use Internet on the phone--only through Wi-Fi. We have rang the carrier several times to dispute this matter but they keep saying we have been using it which is false because we use our home internet Wi-Fi. What do I do? Also because we won't pay the bill until it is resolved, the past 2 months our phones have been blocked to make calls outgoing, but on the bill it says we are using the phones to make calls. How is this possible to make calls & use data, if it is network blocked through the carrier? Can someone help us please?
—Guest tom

I'm shocked!

Just reading through, no story. I'm leaving my phone here home, hahaha. This will save me a lot! Anyways! What can I say, evil corporates. They don't care, they'll still catch you for the love of money. Leave your devices at home, just enjoy your trips and have plenty of fun. It'll be worth it. Worth more than a stupid electronic device that charges you up to 80K. Come on. You go traveling for a reason, and that's to enjoy your moments. My advise ;)
—Guest TheOfficialEuro

OMFG data plans

So I went over my data plan in an hour for tuning my Wi-Fi off and using my phone's Wi-Fi...my dad flipped. I changed the name of the contact ... so every time I get a text saying you went over your data plan I go s***...
—Guest Batavia

Ridiculous charge

I am from Guatemala, went to Orlando, Fl for 10 days. Before I could get a SIM card (I have an unlocked iPhone) I had to get some info. So I turned roaming on for about 3 to 4 minutes. Big mistake: I was charged US$150 for it.
—Guest Jcr

Cruise Ship Roaming Data, 4 days $1700

I have been a loyal AT&T client since 2003. I was told to turn Airplane Mode on and to turn Fetch Data and Data Roaming off. Turned Airplane Mode off once at port and made a 3 min. call. I never emailed pics, used apps or did anything with my phone with data on. Turned Airplane Mode back on. Paid for on-ship Wi-Fi package and used Skype twice for a few minutes on my iPhone 4S. AT&T is investigating to see if they can allow a one-time courtesy and take off $1770 from my bill. I think there is a bug in iPhone 4. I cannot pay this erroneous charge. If they do not take this charge off I'm switching carriers and I may sue Apple if I find others with same claim. It's fraud!!!!!! I have to travel to Ireland next month and even if I buy a data package if I go over and allow data this time, how will I know when I'm over amount? I never received any notification of high data usage. Nothing. I did everything right and still got screwed. It's very upsetting and annoying and frightening. Has this happened to you?
—Guest Stephanie Clark

Paid for Wi-Fi in hotel room but ...

I used my iPad for hours in my hotel room. I paid for Wi-Fi. I did not turn off data roaming. I did streamed a lot of movies and YouTube. Will I still be charged for data roaming? At times I see the 3G sign appearing at the top left hand corner. I never used my iPad outside of hotel room. Please advise.
—Guest Lily cha

Turning Cellular data off didn't work?

Has anyone else had something like this? We had a Canadian iPhone 4S in the US, and got a package for voice/text, but not data. Turned Cellular Data and 3G off in Settings. Got hit with $708 charge for 120Mb transfer - have no idea how that could have happened. Fought back and got a significant discount, but we know that we should not have had any data transfer at all. Anyone else see something like this?
—Guest Grrdo

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Tell Your iPhone Roaming Horror Story

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