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'I don't feel right paying that money': Winnipeg man fighting phone bill exceeding $3,000


A Winnipeg parent is fighting to have his child's phone bill lowered after it was 10 times higher than normal.

A couple of years ago Rob Belanger got a family phone plan for his two children. Last week when he got his monthly bill from Bell Mobility he said he couldn't believe his eyes.

"The cost was $3,536.98, which is more than 10 times my normal monthly costs for my cell phones," Belanger said.

The reason for such a high price? More than 7,000 text messages from his son's phone to his friend living in the United States.

However, Belanger said he was never notified about the rising cost.

"Their reply was that notifications were sent to my son's phone. That there, doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me, because it's my account. It's my family plan. I'm the one who pays the bills every month."

Belanger said after going back and forth with Bell, he said the company has offered to remove 25 per cent of the bill, something he feels is still not good enough.

"But 75 per cent of a bill that I feel is unjust still doesn't sit right. And not only do I feel violated, but my trust and confidence with this company they've taken for granted. I don't feel right paying that money."

John Lawford, the executive director of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, said while Canada's wireless code does require account holders to be notified of overage charges for roaming and data that may not be the case for texting.

"Texting, it's not explicitly covered. It is not considered to be data. It's a different service on the phone. And that's pretty much up to your contract. In which case, you won't get a notification if these are overages for excess texts that are outside the texting plan," said Lawford.

In a statement to CTV News, Bell said it did send courtesy text alerts to the user of the device.

"Our notifications regarding text usage are clearly set out in our Terms of Service, which customers receive as part of their wireless contract, and where we also make clear that account holders are responsible for charges on their account," the statement said.

Bell added it is now in contact with Belanger to discuss the charges.

Belanger said he has switched phone providers and is fighting to lower the bill.

"I will stand my ground and I will see this through to the end," said Belanger.

Belanger has filed a grievance with the commission for complaints about telecom-television services.

Bell is the parent company of CTV News. Top Stories

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