or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Blended and Step Family Parenting › DSS's cell phone bill was over $900
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

DSS's cell phone bill was over $900 - Page 4

post #61 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by VisionaryMom View Post
Why? You don't know what the charges were per minute? My mother used a hotel phone a couple of years ago, knowing that they now price high to discourage use, but her cell battery was dead. When she went to check out, they charged $10/minute, so her 6-minute call was $60. She refused to pay that and ended up paying only $1/minute. I don't think it's fair to go assuming the OP's ss did something malicious, or even reckless.
Looks like you misinterpreted what I said. I didn't say that her step son maliciously ran up the phone bill and I'm sure it was unintentional but 1k in phone bill is RIDICULOUS! OP and her DH should talk to him about the bill and 16 years old is old enough to try to be responsible, IMHO.
post #62 of 78
2000 texts! How long was he in Mexico?

That seems kind of sad, being on vacation and spending all your time texting intead of enjoying the change of scenery.
post #63 of 78
Wow! I think that your update is a very important part of the picture! I think you need to have a conversation with him, as this IS important. Even if it's not about blame or punishment ('cause there is no need for that in this situation). You all need to talk about reality and I agree with you that every action has a consequence- even innocent and unintended. I think I would also be talking to his mom (depending on relationship) because She KNEW without a doubt that he Should Not be using his phone.
post #64 of 78
I can't imagine a 16 year old not understanding the concept of paying extra to call to/from a foreign country. He's almost an adult for pete's sake! I would have that cell phone out of his hands so fast his head would spin 'round. 2000 texts when you're on vacation?!?! That's insane!
post #65 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by choli View Post
2000 texts! How long was he in Mexico?

That seems kind of sad, being on vacation and spending all your time texting intead of enjoying the change of scenery.
My dd sends so many texts you would think she was doing nothing else but that's not the case. Teens tend to text like a conversation and lots of the texts are extremely short and sent lightening fast.

Maybe he knew calls cost more and thats why there was very little of that but he was unaware that texting (on an unlimited plan) would be more. I think a conversation should be had but all the adults share equal responsibility. I would be super mad at the mom and might be tempted to say she could have him back on her plan.
post #66 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by emelsea View Post
I also made a bad judgement call because I assumed that he would know not to use the phone in a foreign country. His mom and dad both travel internationally and he knows that he should not call them on their cell phones when they are out of the country. And last year when he was on vacation in the Bahamas with his mom, she took his cell phone away from him (he was still on her plan at that time) and told him he couldn't use it because it would cost more money. I know this because he complained about it at the time.


Finally, out of $900 in fees, $11.99 was voice charges and the rest were text messages/roaming. Every text message sent and rec'd cost $.50, and he sent and rec'd almost 2000 (according to Verizon, I didn't count all of them).
Here's your answer. He knew that it costs more to use his phone out of country, b/c his phone has been taken away from him out of country before, and b/c his parents travel out of country often and he know not to call/text them while they are out of country. He knew, he did it anyway, and there should be consequences.

You don't have to tell him he's a terrible person, just explain that you know he has some understanding of how this works b/c of his experiences (parents traveling, and him not contacting them via cell b/c of extra charges, his mother previously taking his phone away from him out of country, etc) and tell him that he needs to at the very least help pay for the bill. He likely very conveniently "forgot" about the extra charges, and then used his phone thinking he wasn't using it enough to rack up enough extra on the bill for you to remember - thats exactly the kind of thing that my brothers would have done as teens.
post #67 of 78
With the additional information provided, this is what would happen in our house with our 15 1/2 yo DD:

1. She would be working to pay off her, yes HER $900 phone bill. Since you said that he doesn't have the opportunity to get a job, I'd come up with a list of chores and what you'd be willing to pay for each of them.

2. She would lose her cell phone for at least as long as it took to pay off the bill, and probably for longer. Irresponsible use equals not being responsible enough to have a phone.

3. She would also be on restriction from social activities for at least 2 weeks, and probably a month.

He absolutely knew that his usage would be expensive. Does Verizon have a Parent Control feature? If you let him keep his phone, I'd look into putting it in place.
post #68 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by emelsea View Post
I think it's just as important for him to understand that there are consequences to all our actions: even unintended, accidental, innocent mistakes.
post #69 of 78
im sorry but this so reminds me of my little sister!! her t-mobile bill was sent in a priority box to my parents, it was about the size of a college textbook. she had to work a lot around the house (from what i hear, i didn't live at home). i also think it was around the same amount, i did something similar as a teen (texting from AIM not realizing it was the same cost as sending a regular text, this was also in the dark ages before texting was big and the unlimited text plans were must haves, i also didn't have a computer/internet at home) however my bill was tiny compared to my sisters!!

good luck op!

eta: i forgot, they also had a little burning ceremony to get rid of the "bill" lmao!
post #70 of 78
The update the OP posted does change things a lot. Since he had every reason to know better but chose to run it up anyway, I think it is his responsibility. It may take him a while to raise the money, but hey, maybe he'll remember next time.
post #71 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by SuburbanHippie View Post
2000 texts when you're on vacation?!?! That's insane!
If you text a lot, it's not hard to get that many. DH & I text more than talk, esp when one of us is working, and they add up really fast. Most of them take 5-10 seconds max, so it doesn't take up much time.
post #72 of 78
It is VERY easy to get 2000 texts, esp if you are chatting on AIM. On AIM on my verizon cell phone, every time someone IMs me, it counts as one text. Every time I IM someone, it counts as one text. I chatted with a friend while traveling last month and I hit 500 in two days just by having an ongoing casual conversation while riding in the car! I had called verizon to find out how much it would cost me ahead of time and adjusted my plan.


OP, I had a though! Really, you should call verizon back and ask if you can go back one month and change your rate plan and have your bill recalculated. You can change it to something that includes an international plan. Their company policy is to always change a rate plan upon request (for instance, I had 500 texts included and they told me to check how many I had used one day before the billing cycle ended, and that if I went over they would just upgrade to a plan that included more texts so I wouldn't have overages). The catch is that you have to call before the billing cycle ends. I did have a friend have an exception made, though, and verizon went back ONE billing cycles and changed her rate plan to minimize her bill so that instead of her standard bill plus a whole lot of overage time, she had a higher standard bill and no overages. They permitted her to downgrade back to her previous plan one cycle later. IDK if this is making any sense, but you could find an international plan that includes data usage and ask to have it retroactively applied one month. They very well may do that as a one time courtesy for you.
post #73 of 78
If the bill is mostly texts, I don't think that would help. We have the plan that has no extra charges for calls made to or within Mexico (from Verizon), and it still costs us 50cents to text out (I think it's cheaper to receive them - maybe 5 cents? So the plan could help reduce it some if a lot of his texts were incoming.)
post #74 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by FiveLittleMonkeys View Post
With the additional information provided, this is what would happen in our house with our 15 1/2 yo DD:

1. She would be working to pay off her, yes HER $900 phone bill. Since you said that he doesn't have the opportunity to get a job, I'd come up with a list of chores and what you'd be willing to pay for each of them.

2. She would lose her cell phone for at least as long as it took to pay off the bill, and probably for longer. Irresponsible use equals not being responsible enough to have a phone.

I may be a hardass about these things, but I TOTALLY agree with the above consequences. I would not have much mercy in this situation. 2000 texts on vacation? Give me a break.

Not sure how you should handle the vacation, though. Natural consequence would be that it gets cancelled due to the sudden lack of funds, but that seems very severe. Vacation days don't come around that often, and if you have non-refundable reservations or something....

Would you cancel the vacation if you had some other type of one-time-only financial emergency? Like a sudden car repair? I would probably use that as my guide.

I would also have a conversation with DSS's mom. Not to imply that she has any responsibility or ask her to pay or yell at her or anything- just to keep her in the loop. Make her aware. In an effort to prevent future problems and ask for her support.


Now my slightly OT RANT:

Cell phones are my total bugaboo. I HATE them. I have one that I carry around for emergencies, but that's it. I literally use less than 5 minutes a month and get irritated when people like DH call me on it. I've never sent a text in my life.

I work in a HS and the attitude many students have about their cell phones drives me absolutely insane. I've had students get up and walk out of class in the middle of a lesson because they left their cell phone somewhere. And when they got in trouble for it, they were completely incensed.

I would LOVE a trip to Mexico and you'd better believe I wouldn't waste the time off and beautiful scenery staring at a little screen.
post #75 of 78
do you know how many text messages a teenage college student writes on an average in a month?



4000 - 6000



i know. i asked about 15 students and they at first couldnt tell me and then gave me a number between 4000 and 6000. which works out to an average of 130 - 200 a day. :
post #76 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by FiveLittleMonkeys View Post
With the additional information provided, this is what would happen in our house with our 15 1/2 yo DD:

1. She would be working to pay off her, yes HER $900 phone bill. Since you said that he doesn't have the opportunity to get a job, I'd come up with a list of chores and what you'd be willing to pay for each of them.

2. She would lose her cell phone for at least as long as it took to pay off the bill, and probably for longer. Irresponsible use equals not being responsible enough to have a phone.

3. She would also be on restriction from social activities for at least 2 weeks, and probably a month.
I don't know that we'd do #3, but the first two? For sure. DS1 slipped up on his phone bill once (nowhere near $900, though). We didn't take the phone from him, but he did have to pay back the bill, and he was told that if it happened again the following month, we'd pull his phone. We had no more problems after that.

There would definitely be some kind of consequence, since he definitely did know that it would cost more. (FWIW, I asked my 17 yo ds1, and he said he knows that the rates are much higher out of country, and that "everybody" he knows is aware of that...mostly that's kids his own age, but also some 15 year olds. These aren't terribly well-traveled kids, by and large.)

However, even if he hadn't known, I can't think of a single reason to not even tell him. That makes no sense at all. My primary job as a parent, imo, is to guide and teach my children on their way to adulthood. If I realized that I'd completely blown it and failed to make my child aware of something this basic about modern life (ie. cell phones can cost a lot of money when you're not local), I'd have to rectify that. There's no way to rectify that without telling him that he racked up $900 in charges. I'm sorry if he's going to feel bad, but...not tell hm? Seriously? I just can't even wrap my brain around that.

(We're actually facing a $1500 repair bill for damage done to our minivan by ds1. He's a brand new driver - under an hour total behind the wheel - and did a "thought it was in drive when it was in reverse" mistake. He feels like crap. I'm sorry he feels like crap. I don't blame him for the acccident in the slightest. But, I'm not going to hide the financial impact - because he needs to know just how expensive cars/driving can be, not because I want to make him feel bad.)
post #77 of 78
Given the update in the OP, the situation is completely different. Since he already knew that phone usage is expensive in another country, then the bill is his responsibility and I would consider taking the phone away.

If I were your DH, I might have a chat with his mom - did she notice him using the phone? Why did she take it away on one vacation but not this one, just out of curiosity? I'd probably do this just to see if he was hiding the phone from his mom - that would be a dead giveaway that he knew what he was doing was wrong.

Two thousand texts is not surprising to me - but my DSD's sister is 14, and I have learned that phone usage is different now. The girl sleeps with her phone and is texting constantly. She says that her friends are the same way. On vacation as a teen, I remember spending most of the time being upset about being away from friends.
post #78 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by limabean View Post
I don't understand the value of not informing him what happened so that this doesn't happen again. How is he supposed to learn?Wanting to keep him in the dark entirely seems like a strange parental instinct.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar View Post
I think his mom should have said something too, since she was with him. And I definitely don't see the point in keeping it a secret.
I agree.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thyra View Post
I don't think that being 16 and unaware makes it ok for a kid to walk around with their head in the clouds totally oblivious to all things going on surrounding money. Roaming charges are on all cell commercials just about, they are advertised all over the place. He knew they existed, he just didn't bother to find out how they applied to vacay in mexico.

I know that MDC is all about AP parenting - but we want children who can pay all their own bills and live productive lives of their own someday. A 16yo is old enough to be held accountable for not double checking things.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerchild View Post
I can't imagine not telling a 16 year old about the bill. That doesn't serve them at all, IMO.

I don't know what people mean by "guilt tripping" in this instance, but...if you have to cancel plans for a vacation with your teen because of an unexpected $1000 bill, I mean are you supposed to *lie* to them about it?

You can explain that the unexpected expense means we'll have to cut back on other things so as to not break the budget without pointing a finger and screaming "YOU did this, you bad bad kid!" Will he feel bad about it? Well, probably, but who wouldn't? Whenever I have made a mistake like that I feel a pang of regret.

If he were 6, it would be one thing. But in 2 years he'll likely be starting in the road to getting his own cell phone, being more responsible for himself financially, ect. I don't think you can save teens from the truth of what happens when you blow your budget (even in error) nor should you! You can still acknowledge your own mistake (Wow, I can't believe that I didn't read that fine print either, OUCH!). But still, it is what it is.

I too know many clueless young people when it comes to the fine print and financial management--a direct consequence of them being sheltered from learning from financial mistakes either of their own making OR not being allowed or thought to be involved with the ooopsies of the parents. My parents taught me NOTHING about finances. They didn't even let me keep my paychecks from my after school and summer jobs--I had to sign them over to them and they gave me an allowance. Luckily for me I hate shopping, otherwise I could have destroyed myself that first week of college with all the credit card companies chasing after the students on campus! I did rack up some very painful telephone bills though--after my first $700 mistake I learned quickly.

OP, please don't deprive your son of a chance to see what happens when someone doesn't read the fine print! Go over the bill (calmly, kindly), explain your mistake, show him where to find that info from the cell phone provider (again, he won't always be on your line, it's good for him to figure out now to always read the fine print!). Give him a hug, esp. if he expresses shock. Tell him you're not going to punish him for your mistake, but that (if this is the case) some plans are going to have to be altered a bit because of the $$. Then be kind and tell him about a time that YOU screwed up with a big unexpected bill other than this one!
YES!

Quote:
Originally Posted by choli View Post
My 16 and 13 year olds are very well aware indeed that cell rates are different in foreign countries. Of course, they pay their own cell phone bills, so they actually care about it.
I think too many children have privileges such as cell phones without having to be responsible for it, pay for it themselves, and end up with a sense of entitlement because things were just given to them for free.

Quote:
Originally Posted by yarngoddess View Post
Wow! I think that your update is a very important part of the picture! I think you need to have a conversation with him, as this IS important. Even if it's not about blame or punishment ('cause there is no need for that in this situation). You all need to talk about reality and I agree with you that every action has a consequence- even innocent and unintended. I think I would also be talking to his mom (depending on relationship) because She KNEW without a doubt that he Should Not be using his phone.
I think that's a good point. His mother knew he was using his phone and that it would have exorbitant charges being out of the country, yet she did nothing about it. Or she did forbid usage and he used it anyway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SuburbanHippie View Post
I would have that cell phone out of his hands so fast his head would spin 'round.
Yup.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FiveLittleMonkeys View Post
With the additional information provided, this is what would happen in our house with our 15 1/2 yo DD:

1. She would be working to pay off her, yes HER $900 phone bill. Since you said that he doesn't have the opportunity to get a job, I'd come up with a list of chores and what you'd be willing to pay for each of them.

2. She would lose her cell phone for at least as long as it took to pay off the bill, and probably for longer. Irresponsible use equals not being responsible enough to have a phone.

3. She would also be on restriction from social activities for at least 2 weeks, and probably a month.

He absolutely knew that his usage would be expensive. Does Verizon have a Parent Control feature? If you let him keep his phone, I'd look into putting it in place.
I think those 3 steps are good advice.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Blended and Step Family Parenting › DSS's cell phone bill was over $900