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Verizon Demands $880 From Rural Library For Just 0.44GB of Roaming Data

Verizon is refusing to waive or reduce $880 of charges accidentally ran up from someone who borrowed a mobile hotspot from a small library. “The library has an ‘unlimited’ data plan for the hotspots, but Verizon says it has to pay the $880 to cover less than half a gigabyte of data usage that happened across the border with Canada,” reports Ars Technica. From the report: Tully Free Library in Tully, New York, a town of fewer than 3,000 people, lends out three Verizon hotspots to a rural population that has limited Internet access. The library started the hotspot-lending program with a grant from the Central New York Library Resources Council, which paid the bill for two years. Crucially, the service plan with Verizon blocked international roaming so that library borrowers wouldn’t rack up unintentional charges if they happened to cross the Canadian border. But when the grant ran out, Tully Free Library had to get a new contract and service plan, and the organization began paying the bill itself. The new plan seemed to be identical to the old one, but it enabled international roaming. “They never said to us, ‘Do you want international roaming blocked?'” Tully Free Library Director Annabeth Hayes told Ars. “That wasn’t something that occurred to me because it was blocked before.” The person who borrowed the hotspot used it while driving through Canada for a few hours to take his brother to the airport. “He was only over the border for about four hours and he said he wasn’t even using the hotspot,” Hayes said. “It was just on in the car and apparently it was pinging a tower so that tower was incurring all these fees.”

The bill from Verizon included an $880.30 charge for about 440MB of international data. “I ended up contacting their executive communications department, and the person there said she had to contact their legal team because our contract was under the government/educational department,” Hayes said. “She contacted the legal team and they went back and forth and finally decided that no, we couldn’t have our fee waived.”


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