He lives in a pineapple under the sea, and has a best friend named Patrick (sadly not our very own Mr Steen). But even SpongeBob SquarePants would be shocked to receive a bill for over £3,000.
That’s how much BT expected Conan Sturdy to pay after he gave his mobile to his little boy to keep him entertained on a rainy afternoon. Having reached his business account’s data allowance for the month he began to be charged 50p per megabyte, so it only took six episodes of Spongebob to run up such a staggering total.
SpongeBob SquarePants mobile phone bill
Mr Sturdy had gone over his data allowance by 5.4GB, which at 50p a megabyte adds up to a crazy £3,309. He told the Guardian:
‘One afternoon it was pretty miserable so I let him watch SpongeBob SquarePants on Netflix – it was an afternoon’s worth. I thought there’d be a charge – maybe £30 or £40 – as I received a text saying I had gone over. A charge is one thing but £600 per gig is another. I had no idea that the bill could be so high.’
When it comes to picking what mobile tariff we should be on, many of us struggle to know how much data, minutes or texts we’re actually going to need. It’s why our research found that 72% of people were on the wrong contract for their needs. And it’s costing them dear with a total overspend of around £5.42bn every year, either from being on packages far too big or far too small. It’s the latter case for Mr Sturdy who was charged three thousand quid for going over his monthly allowance.
Shocked by a massive phone bill
Although you might get a text alerting you to the fact that you’re about to reach your limit, not all companies will stop you from using any data until you buy more. No, you’ll often continue to be charged per megabyte, at anything from 2-10p. So if you’re streaming films or watching SpongeBob, you could soon be drowning in an eye watering bill.
Mr Sturdy was in complete shock:
‘I took my son on a quick and cheap, £7-a-night camping holiday and I end up owing thousands. I’ve complained to BT that this is just an unreasonable amount and they have at least put payment on hold while they look into my complaint. I am self-employed and I don’t have the money to pay this bill.’
And it might be in the T&Cs that you’ll be charged for going over your allowance, but it’s not always easy to find out how much it’s going to cost you. And who knows how much streaming a TV show is going to cost you?
Just to put the Spongebob story to bed, BT said it will waive the charge on this occasion as a goodwill gesture and will be moving Mr Sturdy onto a more suitable data allowance.
Have you ever been hit by a massive mobile bill after going over your monthly allowance? Do you think there should be more information so that customers understand how much data they’re going to need? Or should there be more safety measures in place so that people can’t rack up astronomical debts?