I just set a very annoying password on my Treo. It is going to annoy me every time I want to make a call, download email, or hand over the phone to a Denizen to play PDA Playground while we wait in a doctor’s office.
Because I just learned something about what kind of bills you can end up with if your phone is stolen.
Ten Steps to Cell Phone Security: This [complaints to the BBB] is mostly due to incorrect billing, confusing fees, unexpected charges, and deceptive contracts. These can certainly add up, but I was shocked to learn that the most significant -- even devastating -- monetary damage can occur when your cell phone is lost or stolen…San Francisco resident Wendy Nguyen was even more shocked to receive a bill for $26,000 after her cell phone was unknowingly stolen before she left for an overseas vacation. Cingular held her responsible for charges incurred after the phone was taken, up until the time Wendy discovered the theft and called the carrier.
Interestingly, it seems the providers pursue the folks who lost their phones until they manage to get television coverage about it. The industry says it tries hard to keep customers happy. But Cingular pursued Wendy Nguyen for months for $26,000. Only after she told her story to CBS station KPIX-TV in San Francisco did Cingular drop the charges.
Uh-huh. What a pain in the butt. Now, password protecting your device isn’t a ‘get out of jail free’ card. If what the thief is after is free phone use, s/he can take out your SIM and put it into another device and be off and running. But that will take a little more time, which gives you a chance to get the service cut off before any charges are incurred.
And shame on the industry for doing this. It isn’t bad enough that they sign you up for two year contracts every time you contact them in any way, they also have to make sure you’re fully punished for criminal activity you wanted no part of? What’s that about? In what way is that good business? Inviting Federal oversight to complicate your business? Encouraging consumers to demand same from their duly appointed representatives? In exchange for profits you probably won’t get from consumers who are going to get wide publicity in regards to your evilness for their plight?
John Kenneth Galbraith
21 hours ago