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Old 12-12-09, 11:29 AM
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Teen Racks Up $21K Cell Phone Bill

Teen Downloaded 1.5M Kilobytes Of Data

HAYWARD, Calif. -- A Hayward man is hoping his cell-phone service provider will work with him after receiving a massive bill for over $21,000 largely made up of charges incurred by his son after the teen was added to the family account, KTVU-TV in San Jose reported.

When he first got the bill in the mail, Ted Estarija couldn't believe his eyes.

Estarija said he thought adding his 13-year-old son to his cell-phone account would cost him an extra $50 a month. Instead, the recently unemployed Hayward father now owes Verizon $21,918.

"I was completely caught off guard," said Estarija. "This is outrageous. It seems like it comes to almost $100 a minute."

Estarija said he asked Verizon to restrict his son's usage to phone calls and texts, but the bill shows his son downloaded about 1.5 million kilobytes of data with his phone.

"This is not completely his fault," said Estarija. "I put more blame on Verizon than anybody. They shouldn't allow this to happen."

A Verizon spokeswoman told KTVU-TV she couldn't comment specifically about the issue while it is being investigated, but said the company planned to work with Estarija to resolve the problem.

Estarija admitted there may be a lesson to be learned here, but at almost $22,000 it comes at too high a cost.

"There's no way I can pay this, so (I'll do) whatever I can to get this resolved," said Estarija.

He said his biggest concern right now is not how to pay the bill, but helping his son. Estarija said his son has become despondent over causing his dad so much financial and emotional distress.

Teen Racks Up $21K Cell Phone Bill - Money News Story - WSB Atlanta
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