With all the data roaming promotions that offer internet usage for a fixed price while travelling overseas, you would think that it’s virtually impossible to get a shocking bill amount at the end of the month right? Well, someone managed to do just that: accumulating a bill of over RM22,000 for using the internet for less than 24 hours while roaming.
A Facebook post by a disgruntled – and obviously shocked – user, recently posted her U Mobile bill showing that she was charged a whopping RM22,278.628 for using only 350MB of data during her short trip in Koh Lipe, Thailand. That works out to about RM63.47 per MB of data used while in the country. The post, which garnered over 2,300 likes before it was deleted a few hours ago, describes that the user was only in Thailand for a day. That being said, crucial details about her experience were not included.
U Mobile offers its users 50MB of data for free when you roam to Thailand with its preferred roaming partner, True. After that, data usage is charged at a maximum of RM30/day. Here’s where it gets a bit confusing: pay-per-use (PPU) charges for a non-preferred partner, AIS, is RM6.33 per MB; at the amount that the user was being charged, it calculates to about RM64 per MB of data. Even if the customer wasn’t roaming with the preferred partner, she should technically have been charged “only” around RM2,215 instead of over RM22,000.
It’s quite sad that even today, bill shocks are still happening. That said, this isn’t entirely the user’s fault. As shown in the bill, she clearly had a credit limit of RM200, and the telco should have barred her line when the charges reached that amount, instead of letting the bill accumulate over 100 times. It also did not contact the user or send any warning messages (that we know of) to let her know that she was being charged at such an exorbitant rate. Instead, what the customer received is what we assume to be an SMS telling her that she has free data to use – hence, indirectly encouraging her to turn on data roaming.
Of course, as a customer, there are ways you can prevent such things from happening. Always check with your telco before you travel on the sort of charges they have for roaming, especially for data usage. Roaming promotions are usually only available with a specific roaming partner, so make sure you manually select that roaming partner when you enable data roaming – otherwise, you will be charged at a ridiculously expensive rate like the user here. Data roaming on most mobile phones are usually turned off by default, so before you turn it on, always check first, and stop your accounts from syncing if you intend to use offers like U Mobile’s 50MB free data roaming.