We've all had a high cell phone bill now and again, but when Denise Cotter received a bill that was more than $200 more than she was used to, she knew something was up.
Cotter got a new phone and new contract in January. She has two daughters in college so she knew what plan she needed when she got a new phone.
"I have four phones on there," she said. "I need unlimited everything."
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So Cotter was surprised when her $300 bill the next month became more than $500.
"I knew something was wrong knowing that I had unlimited talk, text and data," she told us. "I couldn't imagine what the additional amount was for."
Turns out, it was for a mobile hotspot that the family didn't even know was enabled. And there was a data limit for that.
"I had been receiving some emails back in February stating that I had some overages," Cotter said. "So I called in February. I was told not to worry about it. I did have an unlimited plan and to ignore the emails."
It turns out that Cotter's daughter Madison was on campus essentially with a free wi-fi connection for anyone nearby. Cotter said the mobile hotspot was never explained.
"Even when I did call, all the times they talked about changing the plans, that was never explained either," she said.
Cotter was able to get the extra charges waived herself, but has a warning.
"I hope other people pay attention to their bill," she said. "Watch emails. Watch overages. Understand that these are mobile hotspots and know that other people can be using your data."
We reached out to Sprint for this story. They told us:
"We're glad we were able to rectify ms. Cotter's situation. We take any customer complaint seriously and do all that we can to ensure that sprint customers are happy and informed customers. We apologize for any inconvenience or confusion this matter may have caused."
They also gave us these tips:
- Keep your mobile hotspot's wi-fi password enabled so that your connection is secured and others are unable to connect without your knowledge.
- Make sure you check and modify your phone's settings to help ensure apps are not running continuously in the background and unnecessarily using data.
- When using a mobile hotspot, make sure you know your wireless plan's data limits and charges so you don't incur overages.