A different kind of Egyptian crisis: Travelling Vancouverite racks up $37,000 cellphone bill

A brand new BMW 328i sedan. A 20 percent downpayment on a $185,000 condominium. Several trips to Egypt and back.

These are some of the things that $37,000 will fetch you, though it’s unlikely that Alanna Fero will be indulging in the latter any time soon. During a recent trip to that very country, said Vancouverite racked up a staggering $37,000 iPhone bill with Telus.

Quoth CTV:

When she learned about the total on her bill, Fero said, “I burst out laughing …. Somebody had to have hacked into it or something; there’s no possible way that I, in two-and-a-half weeks, ran up a $37,000 bill.”

She says she asked a Telus staff member to investigate what happened.

“They just put someone else on the phone who said, ‘No ma’am, this is your bill and Africa is expensive.'”

According to the Vancouver-based telco, it noticed a spike in her data fees almost immediately after she left Canada, and proceeded to freeze her data. They called Alanna to let her know, at which put she told them to turn her data back on. The question that remains, then, is how clearly did Telus explain to Alanna that her roaming charges in Egypt would be unfathomably high?

Alanna used 1,600 megabytes of data during her trip, or roughly one and a half gigabytes. In North America, such an amount of data can be included in a talk-and-text monthly plan costing costing as little as $50 – or about 740 times less than what Alanna was charged while overseas.

A Telus spokesman noted that, of course, “you can’t go overseas and expect that the data plans and the wireless rates that you’re going to get are going to be the same here,” but also that “we know it’s a huge bill; we want to talk to her and figure it out.”

What do you think she’ll end up paying? Who’s in the right and who’s in the wrong?