14 Nov 2018

Mum shocked by $7000 internet bill

From Checkpoint, 5:28 pm on 14 November 2018

A single mum has been slugged with a $7000 internet bill from Vodafone after, apparently exceeding her monthly broadband cap.

Hacker working on hacking some information. Cyber scam. 13 November 2018

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Kerry Law lives in Kaiwaka north of Auckland, and is on a rural monthly deal with Vodafone that is capped at 120 gigabytes.

But after her family went over their internet limit in the school holidays she got a text warning her a whopping bill was the way. It took weeks to get any answers from Vodafone.

"I thought I was going to throw up," Ms Law said.

"I've felt so ill throughout the whole ordeal."

She received a text message from Vodafone saying there had been "excessive use of the internet".

"But I'd been away over the weekend and I thought, 'Oh my goodness.' "

She rang Vodafone straight away and was told by the call centre she had not bought any extra data so there should not be any extra cost.

But that was not the case.

Despite the fact her 120-gigabyte, in the past, cut out when it reached its limit, this time it did not.

"The kids normally tells me: 'Wifis out!'

"After about 11 phone calls I got a call back from a manager who was really rude. I was getting really angry with her, and she was just blaming me saying that I'd bought extra flexi data - and I can't actually see how that happened."

Ms Law is a single mother of two boys, 13 and 10, and twin 8-year-old girls.

She said none of them would have called and authorised extra data.

"I'm really confident because Vodafone has said I signed up for extra flexi data on the 7th of October, yet nobody used the internet until the 12th of October.

"It was awful because I don't even have a vehicle worth that much that I could trade in to pay the bill. You know it was just so scary.

"And you can't even talk to Vodafone because no one knows what they're doing at the call centre."

However, after RNZ's Checkpoint got in touch with the company yesterday, the $7000 bill was wiped under the condition Ms Law paid for the next two months' charges up front.

"But I'd rather pay $84 than $7000."

She said she would switch companies and use a local provider.

A Vodafone spokesperson said it would now review the way it charged for extra data.