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Canada

Submission + - Disabled teen incurs $8,000 texting bill (www.cbc.ca)

silentbrad writes: From the CBC: A mentally-disabled B.C. teen was hit by an $8,000 cell phone bill from Koodo after texting someone he thought was a girlfriend through a "premium" text dating site. “She had told me that she would meet me maybe in July . . . once we were ready,” said 19-year-old Brandon Kobza. “I just feel ripped off. With my disability, I only get $900 a month. That’s not enough to even pay like a portion of [the bill].” Kobza is a former foster child with fetal alcohol syndrome and other disabilities. Because Kobza didn’t qualify for a cell phone contract on his own, Ben Woodman, a church youth worker from Burnaby, B.C., reluctantly agreed to put the phone in his name — but with strict limits due to Kobza's disabilities. “I said, 'You know I don’t want any data or extra charges' and they said, ‘We can block that.' I made sure he had unlimited texts,” said Woodman. “I put a lot of faith in Koodo. I’m asking the representative 'What can go wrong ? Can I get charged for anything else?' And they said nothing about premium texts.” ... “It’s preying on the weak. It’s preying on people. It’s preying on kids with cell phones,” Woodman said. After he saw the bills — $8,243.06 for a month and a half — Woodman cancelled Kobza’s phone. He said he also asked Koodo to cancel the texting charges, but the most the company would offer was 80 per cent off. “If they forgave my bill, I would not necessarily care to come to [Go Public]. But in some ways I’m glad that we get to do some of these stories, because people need to know. You can get totally ripped off.”

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