Sherry E at T-Mobile wants more of your money after your phone is stolen (don’t worry, it’s for your protection)

Ah, red tape! There’s no worse time to run into it — bunches and bunches of it, in this case — than when your property is stolen and you’re just trying to do the right thing.

Such is Bruce Scotton’s dilemma. After his T-Mobile cell phone was swiped from his checked luggage on a flight from Panama City to Los Angeles, he immediately reported it to the company — but not before the thief ran up $103 in charges. T-Mobile agreed to spilt the difference with him, but Scotton believes he shouldn’t be liable for any of it, since he reported the theft as soon as it happened.
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5 secrets for avoiding sky-high cell phone bills on the road

When it comes to “gotcha” fees, the cellular phone industry makes travel companies look like rank amateurs.

Take what happened to P. Morgan Brown when his wife decided to take a spur-of-the-moment vacation to Indonesia. Her Verizon bill came to a staggering $8,000. Text messages home cost and astounding $2.50 each and the meter was running at an eye-popping $1.75 a minute for phone calls.

“We almost missed a mortgage payment when the auto-withdrawal for the first bill came through and wiped out our checking account,” says Brown, who works for an Internet company in Aliso Viejo, Calif. “What a waste of money.”
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