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The most expensive phone bill ever? Telstra mobile customer hit with $2m charge after online payment error

International Business Times International Business Times 25/05/2016 James Billington
Telstra $2m bill shock © iStock Telstra $2m bill shock

An Australian man was hit with the mobile bill shock of his life after his network provider Telstra handed him a heart-stopping A$2m (NZD$2.13M) charge for using his phone. Being hit by an unexpectedly high mobile bill is always a nasty surprise but spare a thought for Callum Mawson who woke up to discover his bank account was millions of dollars in the red after an error had occurred following a routine payment.

Australia's largest telecoms provider Telstra initially sent 22-year-old Mr Mawson a charge for NZD$239.84, which he went to pay online but as it was being processed he was presented with a confirmation screen saying "Thank you for paying $2250623.00".

After probably picking himself off the floor, Mawson immediately contacted Telstra about the glitch who informed him the payment would not go through. However, it did and Mawson found out the following morning when he was unable to use his bank account to pay for an Uber. After looking at his account he saw he was staggeringly overdrawn.

"I checked my Commbank account and saw that I had been overcharged by the millions. I was completely gobsmacked at the amount, I have never seen so much money in my life," Mawson told news.com.au.

While the bank acted quickly to halt the payment going through, the accidental overcharging left Mr Mawson unable to withdraw any money from his account for three days.

Getting to the bottom of what caused the multi-million stuff-up to occur Telstra claims it was down to user error and that Mawson was to blame by entering in the wrong amount. However, he argues against these claims, saying he entered NZD$239.84 correctly. While the error has now been rectified it has dented Mr Mawson's consumer confidence somewhat.

"Telstra has been so unhelpful throughout the whole experience and customer service just kept trying to push the blame," Mawson said. "I don't think I will ever feel comfortable paying an online bill with Telstra ever again. They have just left me hanging and I feel like they don't even care," he added.

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