Murcia man receives €19,500 telephone bill for accidental SMS messages
A man in Murcia was shocked to receive his monthly telephone bill showing a total of €19,500. The bill was eventually cancelled by the telephone company after a consumer organisation got involved in the dispute.
Due to a glitch in the phone company’s system, the client’s mobile had automatically sent more than 100,000 SMS messages. This fault generated messages that were sent every second, something which was obviously proved to have not been sent by the user.
The mobile client of this phone company, who did not want his identity to be published, explained that he had been at his place of work when opened the envelope with the invoice, which was for the month of August 2020. At first glance, he thought that the amount was a little more than €19, when his average consumption was usually around was €70.
However, when he saw the diagram on the bill, indicating the consumption bars for the months, he was startled to see that the one corresponding to August was “very high”. This is when he saw the total of €19,484.60, which he said actually made him feel dizzy, and that his company colleagues were concerned about his state of health.
This man pointed out that he had been litigating against a bank for ten years in the courts, winning his claim in the Supreme Court, where he filed an appeal after having lost in first and second instance. He also explained that the bill had not been charged to his usual account. It had been sent to another account that had sufficient funds to pay the bill, yet it was not an account he had authorised or provided to Vodafone.
After Vodafone ignored his first two complaints they cut his line, and threatened to place him on a blacklist of defaulters and initiate a lawsuit. As a result, he contacted the association La Defensa del Consumidor, of which his wife is a member.
Finally, the mediation service of this association, after the “indecipherable web of rampages from one department to another” of Vodafone, located a board under the pressure of the judicial complaint. Eventually, the conflict was resolved, when the company admitted the error, as reported by 20minutos.es.