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Imagine receiving this $9,000 Verizon bill

Published Sep 14th, 2016 5:30PM EDT
Verizon Data Overage
Image: Zach Epstein, BGR

Shock cellphone bills are mostly a cliche by this point, but racking up a $9,000 bill without ever leaving the country is just plain impressive. That’s why this Florida woman doesn’t think Verizon is counting right, and listening to her side of the story, you have to agree. spoke to Valarie Gerbus of Tampa, Florida, about her recent Verizon shock. She received a bill totalling $9,153 from 569 gigabytes of data overage, on one line with a regular 4GB of data usage. Um, how?

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The interview details the expected frustrating and obtuse experiences with Verizon customer support, but never really asks the important question: how could one person use that much data in that small amount of time? I just checked, and my monthly home internet usage is around 500GB, including a TV-over-internet box that streams hours of 4K every night and endless game downloading.

Gerbus reportedly uses a Galaxy Note 5, which doesn’t have any historic data usage problems. It also should record cellular data usage on its own, separate from Verizon’s tally, but that information hasn’t been revealed.

Gerbus obviously claims that it’s a technical flaw on Verizon’s end. A Verizon rep reportedly told her she had visited Amazon a lot, which might be true, but I fail to see how that would cause such excessive data usage. More likely, something was wrong on Verizon’s end that was misreporting data, or possibly a broken app that was silently downloading hundreds of gigabytes in the background.

In any case, Gerbus cancelled her account (causing a $600 fee!) and switched to T-Mobile, where users are throttled when they exceed their data allowance, rather than charged thousands of dollars.