International Data: No Room to Roam
This case involved a hefty international roaming charge shock.
A customer travelled back to Vietnam for a three-week holiday at the end of 2016. He took his new iPhone with him and attempted to keep his use of it to a minimum while away. Upon return however, he found that he had incurred approximately $15.5k Global Roaming (GR) charges and queried this with his telecommunications provider. A resolution could not be achieved and the matter was referred to TDR.
The TDR Mediator / Adjudicator was able to negotiate a settlement for the parties that retained customer / provider goodwill and ongoing relationship. This was achieved by drilling down into the reasons why his phone had allowed for chargeable wi-fi downloads to operate while away (as opposed to limiting his data usage to free wi-fi networks). The customer also learned the difference between his ‘credit limit’ (as imposed by the provider) and his self-imposed ‘spend limit’ intended to stop over use / charges to his phone.
The parties worked hard and negotiated a settlement with the customer paying approximately half the GR charges in 52 weekly payments. The provider agreed to write off the other half and retain the goodwill of their customer. Additionally, the provider agreed to ensure that such unfortunate ‘bill shock’ experiences might not occur in the future by ensuring that all their customers understood the difference between a credit limit and a spend limit.