June 10 2012 by Ellen Roseman
Russ Moyer took his iPad with him on a trip to Israel, but didn’t turn off the data roaming feature. His Bell Mobility bill was the highest I’ve heard of so far.
“I was charged almost $10,000 for the 10 days I was in Israel,” says Moyer, the president of Eagle Worldwide Ministries in Hamilton, Ont.
“I used my iPad to take pictures and write down my daily notes and plans. I didn’t really use it to surf the Internet while I was there.”
When he complained to Bell, he received a $2,000 credit on his $9,350 in data roaming charges. Hoping to get more, he contacted me.
Moyer already had a data plan for his iPad, covering travel in Canada and the United states. But he didn’t know that going overseas could be so expensive.
Also, he didn’t get any real-time messages from Bell about data roaming, either when he crossed the border or when the costs started mounting.
Bell has a warning system for residential customers (as does Rogers). But Moyer has a corporate account and didn’t get any warnings. Seems that Bell plans to start doing it soon for corporate accounts.
Fortunately, this minister ended up getting a bigger refund — and so did a travelling companion. I’ll let him tell the story.
Bell said they would apply an international data roaming plan to our account as if we had purchased it. In the end, with the discounted rates, and the previous $2,000 credit, our bill was brought down to $1,607.30.
Another minister who came with us had taken his iPhone and never used it, but was charged $4,000 in roaming fees. Bell brought down his charges to $706.53.
Wow, what a huge difference. This is more affordable and we’re glad to pay.
Data roaming complaints have diminished, but not disappeared, since I wrote this blog post a year ago. I still get a few, as you can see below.
Should wireless companies do more to tell people about the potential for high bills? Or is it a customer’s responsibility to learn how to travel safely with a digital device?
Please give me your views, plus tips on how you keep roaming costs down.