If you were a Chicago Bears fan, and you were stuck away from home on game day, how much would you pay to watch Kyle Orton overthrow receivers on 3rd-and-8? Maybe you would pay five dollars, or even ten. But how about $28,067.31? That’s exactly how much the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES says one lucky fan was charged by AT&T after he watched a game on his computer.
The Bears fan in question, Wayne Burdick, was watching the game on his computer from a port in Miami, where he was waiting to take a cruise. He was using a Slingbox to watch the game while getting a (non-roaming) signal from his unlimited wireless card. So imagine his surprise when after watching the game for 2 1/2 hours and expecting a bill around $200, he received a bill 140 times that size.
But hey, at least the Bears won the game, 27-23 over the…Lions? He paid $28,000 to watch a Lions game? The poor sap.
After he questioned the bill, Burdick was told by AT&T that it was correct: Even though he was in Miami, he was picking up an “international” signal and was therefore being charged the international rate of 2 cents per kb. After multiple calls and complaints, the best AT&T could do was offer to cut the bill to a bargain rate of $6,000.
Fortunately, the Sun-Times’ consumer affairs advocate was on his side, looking out for him, and all the other phrases those people use. Stephanie Zimmerman, aka “The Fixer,” lived up to her grandiose, Mob-related name, busting some skulls over at AT&T until they agreed to drop the charges. Just don’t look in the swamp behind AT&T’s corporate headquarters: there are no bodies there. We promise.