The SIM card of a mobile phone stolen from an Australian working in Barcelona was used in a scam to rapidly forward hundreds of other subscriber’s calls to paid services in Latvia.
Calls totalling 1,116 hours were generated in less than 24 hours, leaving a charge of $191,453 on customer Kim Beveridge’s account.
Phone services re-seller Telechoice eventually reduced the bill to $35k – the amount it negotiated with Telstra to accept – but the customer still refused to pay.
Beveridge had promptly reported the phone’s loss to the service provider and disputed responsibility for the unauthorised calls and SMS messages by pointing to the terms of his mobile contract.
Because his plan excluded international roaming and call-forwarding, he claimed the robocalls that generated the huge bill were not his problem.
The court before whom the dispute was heard agreed that – even though the contracts dated the customer was responsible for the use of a lost or stolen SIM until the Telco was notified of the loss and activated call blocking – because call forwarding wasn’t included in the customer’s plan, the customer should not be liable.
And because he hadn’t made the calls, he shouldn’t be required to pay.