Looking to Rack Up an $8,000 Phone Bill? There's an App for That

Paul Lilly

Word to the wise, make sure you know exactly what your mobile apps are doing and how they operate, lest you discover when it's too late, like after being hit with phone bill saying you owe $7,763.70. Such is the predicament Canadian resident and iPhone owner Jason Boutang finds himself in .

Our first thought was, 'How many 900 numbers did this guy call?,' but it wasn't a sexy voice on the other end of the line that drove up his phone bill, it was a translator application he used during his European trip. Not thinking anything of it, Boutang fired up the app to help him communicate with the French and streamed a Calgary rock radio station for five hours over three days. Sounds innocent enough, but because both required Internet signals, Boutang's Virgin Mobile bill quickly shot up.

"They pulled the plug on me after the third day," Boutang said, who initially thought it was related to roaming charges. "I opened my e-bill and fell over. I had to get three other people to look at the screen to make sure I read it right. I kind of figured it was from the trip 'cause my average bill is about $200 a month."

According to Boutang, he called up Virgin Mobile to see he could get the charges dropped or reduced, but so far hasn't had any luck.

"They said, 'pay up every penny ... you went outside your neighborhood, you pay the price,'" Boutang said.

According to Canada's CNews outlet, Virgin Mobile is looking into the situation to see if they can lessen the charges. In the meantime, Boutang is pleading ignorance, saying the customer service rep who sold him his iPhone never warned him about the costs of using the device abroad, nor was he informed of any roaming data plans.

Is Boutang a victim of the system, or simply guilty of not doing his homework? Post your thoughts in the comments section below.

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