Telcos

How much is your mobile bill this month? How does $218 trillion sound?


According to MSNBC, a Malaysian man was slapped with a U.S. $218 trillion phone bill just last week. He was ordered to pay up within 10 days or face prosecution.

Yahaya Wahab said he disconnected his late father's phone line in January, which is when he settled the 84-ringgit (U.S. $23) bill, the New Straits Times reported.

However, he was sent the staggering bill for 806,400,000,000,000.01-ringgit (U.S. $218 trillion) for recent telephone calls along with the threat of imminent legal action by Telekom Malaysia.

Government-linked Telekom Malaysia Bhd. is the country's largest telecommunications company. On condition of anonymity, a company official said that Telekom Malaysia was aware of Yahaya's case and would address it. At the moment, it's not clear whether the bill was illegally chalked up.

Understandably, Yahaya was in a combative mood. "If the company wants to seek legal action as mentioned in the letter, I'm ready to face it," the paper quoted him as saying. "In fact, I can't wait to face it."

Obviously, it must have been some colossal foul-up with Telekom Malaysia's billing system. However, I cannot help but wonder how many more minor mistakes could have inadvertently been passed off to consumers who foot the bill without the realization that they are overcharged.

And yes, I am referring to the telecommunications operator that YOU use. How many of you folks out there actually track your mobile usage? Have you been overcharged before?

About

Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.

22 comments
tmcfarlane9
tmcfarlane9

I wonder if Telekom Maylasia has done 218 trillion since their inception. Is it even possible for a cell phone user to sustain a call at a long enough distance over eight months to generate such a bill? It really sounds more like a glitch than a real cell bill. I don't think any corporation supplying cell phones to fleets of sales/sevice personel has ever had such a bill.

Wayne M.
Wayne M.

I'll start the betting line at 10:1 that this will be blamed on a computer error. It seems people never make any mistakes any more.

Shellbot
Shellbot

its the computer...they are evil don't ya know :) as my husband said..its actually surprising they catered for such a large number in the database.. wonder if all thier columns allow that many characters?? ]:)

paulmah
paulmah

to such a large figure. It merely suffered a buffer overflow or something. :)

Shellbot
Shellbot

inhaling will also help a lot ]:) ah..property..we sold our place a few months back and are now renting..its great.. Hello Mr Landlord, there's a wee leak in the roof when it rains. Not my problem to fix, i don't care if the whole roof gets wrecked, or the carpet or whatever..not my problem..its brilliant. Sadly, we will probably buy another place in the next year and will have to deal with all that stuff again...ick..

qegs20012001
qegs20012001

Would inhaling do? :P LOL yeah, actually here's another one and a problem when you're a landlord and property investor: I've just been over and one rental apartment I usually stay at if over in Greater London is being billed by two seperate energy companies, both claiming they provide the energy (gas/electricity) since April '07... ??? One of them is the state owned firm (BG) which was the previous provider and the other, an independent scottish firm which I transferred over to since March. IDK! ........

Shellbot
Shellbot

that your feeling a bit frustated at the moment. take a deep breath and exhale.. :)

qegs20012001
qegs20012001

That's practically impossible and the irony is in the fact that they actually seriously cautioned him to pay it up! Were they all on dozes of class A for a week? ... but I have been charged (billed) $1000-1200 per month for 39 consecutive months on a sim card, phone number and phone I've never even posessed nor owned, and the billing would always come to my adress, on my name and my DOB. The company customer service refuses to do anything about it and just blatantly ignore (or simply don't understand English) any exmplanation I give.. like I DON'T HAVE THAT NUMBER! I informed them the first week it came and 4 times later but gah, they can keep billing and I just keep throwing it away now. It's all accumlated to around $50k now with no heed on an apartment address I am hardly ever resident at. Another incidence to note is my local bank never cashed in $420 of mine (according to statements). I go in person to enquire, and they say we're sorry you never cashed in. I'm seriously peeed as I take it up further and further, upto the branch Manager to hear the same fabble back. I find out this little feedback: "you cashed in 3 days ago and yesterday our computers show you came in-person and withdrew the exact amount out". What the silly hell are you talking about? I was 300 miles away since last I came into this town (with every proof to show it) and I had my own cards all the time..??? After weeks and weeks of pure baffle, I stated your computers or input methods have errored and I want my money back any way possible. But it was declared that the computer records speak for themselves (fact as they said) and I was never paid my money but wrongly left without it - theived. I am horrified at the stupidity of many around nowadays, especially when it comes to using the computer. Like a teacher at a highschool I mentored a while back; we caught a 14YO student hacking in to the school computer network at lunch, changing the restricted zones and then downloading porn and printing images to sell around (huge profit I'm hearing). There was NO one in that room before or after during that hour and we caught him on CCTV cams point blank at the computers.. the times, the sites, the videos watched/downloaded, the cookies, accounts accessed (his MSN and email) - everything matched up and yet STILL, his personal teacher insisted it could've been someone else and we have no proof ???? Zzzzz Why can't law enforcement agencies make one simple OBVIOUS fact clear as law.. computers CAN error and be manipulated!! This is what happens when you give others power opver your personal self and posessions.

BALTHOR
BALTHOR

Time will tell - - -

Genera-nation
Genera-nation

Where does it say anything about Apple or an iPhone (if that is what you mean)?

nighthawk808
nighthawk808

Were you down for maintenance this morning or something? Or did your user sleep in?

mar_petry
mar_petry

Hmmm... something that high, to me, would immediately suggest an internal investigation. Personally I check ALL statements etc on a weekly and monthly basis. I can not let one cent go to waste.

Dr Dij
Dr Dij

changed his name to the Malaysian equivalent of 'no such user' and all the stray bills went to him. This actually happened to a guy in the midwest. He changed his name legally to some value (I don't remember exactly) that shows up on parking tickets when they can't identify the person whose car it is. The end result: he got sent ALL the thousands of unidentified parking tickets for the city.

Genera-nation
Genera-nation

that or one extremely long distance phone call!

Shellbot
Shellbot

well..depends..if it was one very long call..no bother, but if millions of items..can you imagine the postage cost of sending the bill out :) (maybe its not a mistake..maybe someone called one of those phone lines..you know.."these hot babes are waiting for you, call 69-69-69 right now ..."

Genera-nation
Genera-nation

Calls cost $2,000,000 per minute, rounded to the nearest hour.

paulmah
paulmah

How many of you folks out there actually track your mobile usage?

TidBits
TidBits

Utility companies will make mistakes - at some point or other. What I can do is to deny them that chance - by simplifying my usage pattern. Eg. for my POTS and mobile, I just use plain vanilla flat rate service - do away with long-distance (use calling card), do away with text msg, downloads etc. I know for certain that my rates should be fixed (POTS) or vary within very narrow margin (mobile) and of course check my bill carefully. This goes to my credit card as well. Meticulous filing of receipt/note keeping (tracking) is key. I don't need any more aggravations from billing nonsense - they don't go away 'cos the companies still make mistakes now and then - just that I know for certain I will win when I need to bring the case up. Ultimate simplification is to do away with these services, which is not practical at this point of my life ;) Regards.

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

even at $100 a minute, it would take 4 million years to rack up that high a bill. [added, that's using the US trillion (10 to the 12th power)]

Sonja Thompson
Sonja Thompson

Everyone in my family uses Verizon, so there's no way that I'd switch to anyone else, but Verizon makes mistakes in my monthly bill more times than not. As such, I always look through ALL of the charges and call when I see something that looks fishy.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I don't have mobile, but I check my local and LD bills monthly. The one should be around $26, the other under $12. If either is out of whack I look at the details. The electric and water are averaged, so they only change annually. Everything else is on a fixed rate.

Shellbot
Shellbot

I actually do check mine, not with a fine tooth comb, but i give it a quick look over. Hmm..I think I'd definatley change providers if i got that kind of bill!!! :)