I added my son to my phone service early last year. The agreement was that I would buy him the phone and put him on my plan and he would pay the monthly bill of $79. This went as it should for a while. He responsibly put a $20 bill in an envelope every week for that first month.
The second month's bill came, however, and when I opened it, I went into a slow burn when I saw the total of $162, twice what it should have been.
" Hey, um, I think you need to put more cash in for your phone bill."I informed him, keeping my voice at an even pitch.
"Can't" he answered in between bites of a sandwich.
Maybe I heard him wrong, I told myself. It was kind of hard to make out the exact words of a 19 year old guy who has every crevice of his cavernous mouth stuffed with a ham sandwich.
"Huh?" I replied.
"Can't mom. I don't have it."
I stared at my boy before I let him have it:
"Tgioug kfeoe49g fogigtoiffrr hiyr ve#$%$%$#GDF!!" I screamed.
He stared at me as if I were a martian.
"Ma! Calm down!!! I can't understand a word you're saying!!"
Calm down. Calm down?? I will try as soon as I get my head unstuck from the ceiling!
I finally landed.
"I need you to pay this bill."
"Ma," he smiled at me in a condescending manner that made me want to bop his head against the wall. "Peace out. It's all good."
"So you're going to pay it?"
"Can't. Don't have it." And he strolled away with another sandwich in his hand.
I am a believer in tough love. So this is what I did. I phoned the altell people and paid the bill with my card. Then I instructed them to suspend his service until further notice, which they did immediately.
An hour later I saw a blur fly down the stairs. After the dust settled, I recognised it as my son. His eyes bulged out of their sockets. In his fist was his cell phone.
"Don't you think that was a bit radical, mom?"
Obviously he had just discovered he had no service.
I did not look up at him, and focused instead on the book I had been reading.
"Peace out. It's all good." is all I said.
After he pulled HIS head out of the ceiling and landed, I informed him that as soon as he reimbursed me for $162, I would have his service reinstated. He was a very unhappy camper but he knew that God (me) had spoken and would not back down.
It was amazing just how quickly he came up with the cash and his phone was turned back on. This has not occurred again all is good.
I pulled the mail out of the box and saw there was a new phone bill. I didn't give it a second thought until I opened it.
That's two hundred and twelve smackaroos.
Am I angry? No.
Am I ready to rip his ears off his head? No.
Am I ready to take the phone, set it behind my rear tires and back over it? No.
Am I ready to take my son, set him behind my rear tires and back over HIM? No.
And here's why:
"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."
I feel so blessed. So very very blessed! (and as it turns out, my son has the cash to pay his $212 bill..)
Week Three Summary
3 years ago