How Little Mikey Racked Up $22,000 In Roaming Charges While In Mexico

A Canadian, apparently oblivious to the outright robbery that Canadian cellular carriers get away with, found himself with a whopping $22,000 data usage bill after a nice family faction to Mexico. The kid had to download the entirety of Wikiepedia’s website for that kind of bill, right? Nope. Little Mike Buie, nursing a nice sunburn in his hotel room, decided to hit up YouTube and watch twelve-hours of video over the course of three days. The end result was 700MB of usage, and a staggering $22,000 phone bill.

From The CBC:

The company later told him his son had used $22,000 worth, approximately 700 megabytes. According to Rogers website, that’s about 12 hours of YouTube video streaming.

“And I say, ‘How much?’ At this point I am wondering, how did this happen? I was on airplane mode. We got no messages, other than when you shut my phone down after the fact.”

Fido immediately said it would cut the bill to $2,200. However, Buie has been negotiating since to get a better deal. He believes the company is using the “shock factor” of the huge initial charge, to get him to settle for a bill that’s still too high.

International roaming charges are ludicrous and certainly border on the price-gauging end of the scale. The fact that the company can wave a magical wand and make $19,800 disappear in an instant tells you as much as you need to know about the pricing system these companies have in place and their markup.

I don’t even want to know what the real cost of 700MB of data is on a network. It’s probably somewhere in the low teens, and that’s being extremely conservative. I feel for the kid. I once got dinged $50.00 for checking Google Maps (only once) while lost in Vienna a couple of years back. It was probably less data than sending a text message, but it took a nice little bite out of my wallet when the next bill came in the mail.

Joshua is the Content Marketing Manager at BuySellAds. He’s also the founder of And since all that doesn’t quite give him enough content to wrangle, he’s also a technology journalist in his spare time, with bylines at PCWorld, Macworld… Full Bio