Recently, we brought you the tale of a man whose iPhone was stolen while he was traveling in Thailand, only to have some of the sting taken out of the unfortunate development when he saw the pictures of the cute girl who was using the pilfered phone.
Now comes the story of another Japanese iPhone user who fell victim to overseas thieves, then received a surprise upon returning home. Unfortunately, his surprise wasn’t photos of a fine-looking female, but instead a massive bill from his cell phone carrier for nearly one million yen (US$9,800).
The unfortunate Apple user, who goes by Omomo on his Twitter account, had his phone swiped on December 29 during a subway ride in Barcelona. It was apparently his last night in Spain, as he says the next day he borrowed a phone and made the necessary calls to cancel his service while in Casablanca.
▼ By which we mean called from one of the largest cities in Africa, not one of the best movies of the 1940s.
At the end of his travels, Omomo returned to his home in Fukuoka. One day, while his father was visiting, the older gentleman grabbed the day’s mail from the mailbox, and noticed a bill from Omomo’s cell phone service provider, SoftBank. Out of curiosity, the father tore open the envelope, no doubt expecting to see something in line with Omomo’s normal monthly fees in the 7,000-9,000 yen ($70-$90) range.
The bill was just a little higher.
Seeing as how only 15 hours had passed between Omomo’s phone being stolen and his cancelling the service for the unit, he was shocked by the damage: 994,919 yen. “I feel like my head’s sprung a leak,” he tweeted.
His first suspicion was that the thief had run up the huge tally by going far and above the standard data download allowances of Omomo’s pricing plan. Looking into the breakdown of the bill proved that this wasn’t the case however, as the daily list of voice call charges showed 22,615 yen’s worth ($220) being made on the day of the theft, with a staggering 953,465 yen charged the next day, December 30.
The pitiable theft victim claims that his service contract stipulates that regardless of who the calls were placed by, management of the phone’s use, and payment of the fees occurred therein, is solely the responsibility of the contract holder, in this case Omomo himself. “I talked to the staff at the SoftBank shop and the police,” he tweeted. “I was told that if the thief is caught I won’t have to pay the fees, but the chance of that happening is pretty slim.”
Other Twitter users caught wind of the story, with one initially doubting Omomo’s timeline. “Did you really let just 15 hours go between losing your phone and calling Soft Bank?” one asked.
▼ After all, those Spanish-style 10 p.m. dinners can really mess with your sense of time.
“Yes, it was just 15 hours,” Omomo assured him. “Maybe the bill is so high because he called a country really far away, or because of roaming charges.”
This convinced the questioner of Omomo’s honesty, redirecting his suspicions towards SoftBank’s calculations. “Regardless of where it’s placed to, a call from Spain shouldn’t exceed 265 yen ($2.58) a minute, no matter what carrier you’re using,” he explained. “Even if the thief kept the call going nonstop for the entire 15 hours, it should only have come to about 238,500 yen ($2,329), so I think there must be some other reason for your bill looking the way it does.”
Omomo is still looking for a way to resolve the issue without having to pay SoftBank the cost of a decent motorcycle, all while regretting not having acted even more quickly. “Recently, a lot of people who lose their iPhone want to try tracking it through iCloud, but the very first thing you should do is cancel your service,” he laments.
In the meantime, he’s taking the whole thing with remarkably good humor. “Nothing to do but laugh,” he says. “I mean, can you believe what a lazy crook stole my phone? If you’re gonna go that far, at least finish the job and rack up a full million yen in charges.”