Man Lost Phone While Traveling, Received $25k Phone Bill

by SharonKurheg

A man from the UK who lost his phone while he was vacationing abroad was hit with a bill of over £20,000 (U.S.$25,000) when he got home.

The unlucky owner was recently enjoying a trip out of the country when he noticed that his cell phone was missing.

This would just be an annoyance for some people – they wouldn’t be able to take photos, make or accept phone calls or texts, go on social media, etc. But it looked to him like the loss could have potentially  cost him a small fortune.

In a post to Reddit (Heads up: some replies include adult language), the man shared a photo of his phone bill and explained that he believed the phone had been stolen, as it had clearly been used.

a screenshot of a phone billThe bill from his phone company, O2, showed that he had set a credit limit of £25, meaning in theory that he shouldn’t have overspent.

However, someone had also spent over £17,000 ($20K) in phone calls, giving him a total bill of £20,973.06 ($25,389.99).

So of course he was panicking that he was going to have to pay out thousands to settle his account.

Commenting on the post, one user said: “Worked for a mobile network for 13 years. You won’t have to pay it. Just keep on at them. I’ve dealt with this many times.

Be persistent. Go into store and ask for manager and get them to call their retail support from their end. Don’t take no for an answer. It will get wiped. Dealt with this A LOT. And more common than you think. Never known anyone who has had to pay it.”

Another Redditor added: “Worked for mobile network too, I second this. Don’t pay it… It’s theft, and it’s not your responsibility to cover charges you had no control over and didn’t authorise.”

Some also suggested that how much he’d be expected to pay could depend on when/if the owner reported his phone as stolen – the earlier, the better.

According to O2’s website, a phone must be reported as stolen as soon as possible and they will then be able to block the sim card.

Their rules say: “Once you report your phone lost or stolen we’ll block the sim. You must report a theft or lost phone immediately, as you’re responsible for the cost of any calls, texts and data transfers made until it’s blocked. We’re open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for reporting lost or stolen phones.”

They continue with a link of how to contact them.

The original poster, twerkplocker, so far hasn’t offered any follow up in regards to O2’s response. But enough people gave him various bits of advice where hopefully they won’t have to pay.

A similar situation happened to a T-Mobile customer in 2015, an Australian man in 2014 (he got a $500,000 bill!), another UK man in 2012, etc. and in all cases, the respective phone companies were more than willing to work with them, even though they didn’t report the phone as stolen.

Bottom line is that IF your cell phone is lost or stolen while you’re traveling, contact your service provider ASAP to let them know. They’ll shut down the SIM and if someone finds the phone and tries to use it, it won’t work.

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