Haiti Volunteer Slapped with $35,000 phone bill

Volunteering can provide many rewards—but some, you may not want. American aid worker, Kerfye Pierre was rewarded for her service in Haiti during the aftermath of the devastating earthquake with a whopper of a phone bill—$34,872.82 to be exact. She thought T-Mobile’s offer to waive service fees for volunteers included the whole package. BUT, it was only voice, not text or data.

This brings up a couple of troublesome issues.

1) It’s a disaster setting. By definition, things are not functioning regularly. As ridiculous as it may sound, people tend to forget that. Logistics and communications are huge variables. Kerfye says that text messages would go through, but it was much harder to get through with voice. Hence, she chose the text route and sending messages to family and friends through her Facebook page.

2) As of right now, mobile phone companies can just sit back and let you rack up the costs as you text your merry way into severe debt.

Fortunately, the Federal Communication Commission is proposing new rules that will prevent ‘bill shock’ like this—possibly forcing mobile phone companies to send alerts, letting you know when you’re incurring extra charges. As of now, T-Mobile has dropped Kerfye Pierre’s bill down to $5,000. How nice of them. The company said most people were aware of the parameters. Of course! She should’ve taken the time to read the terms and conditions. I mean, all she was doing was setting up day camps for kids and distributing water after a disaster where over 220,000 people had died. She certainly could’ve done a little night reading by flashlight.

Have you ever had an experience where you’ve tried to do something good and received a totally unexpected backlash?

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