City Hall Billed $40,000 for Downloading ‘Lost’ Episodes

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The 14 year old daughter of a city counselor in Spain is the source of a small political crisis in the city of Getafe. The girl used her mother's work 3G modem to download some episodes of the popular TV-show 'Lost', resulting in a massive $40,000 bill.

lostEvery parent knows that their kids can drive up a phone bill quickly, and the same goes for mobile Internet access when there’s no flat rate plan available. The daughter of a local politician in Spain recently embarrassed her mother by borrowing her work modem and running up a huge bill that any teenager could be proud of.

The girl in question couldn’t connect to her home WiFi network from her bedroom, so she borrowed her mother’s 3G modem to download some Lost episodes, among other things. What she didn’t know was that this would result in a $40,000 (30,000 Euro) bill at the end of the year ($300 per episode).

Her mother, Blanca Rosa Alcántara, a city councilor for the People’s Party in Spain, protested: “I thought that it had unlimited downloading data rates.” In an official statement, representatives of the People’s Party at Getafe City Hall said that the party regrets “the improper use of the party’s Internet and phone lines by children”.

“I was absolutely unaware that such usage [using the 3G modem for downloading TV shows] could result in such excessive costs. I have a flat rate plan at my home and something like this has never happened before,” Alcántara added.

The councilor claims that she should have been warned against excessive use of the modem by the City Hall economic department, saying that this huge bill could have been prevented. Nevertheless, she promised to pay the entire bill including interest and hopes that the accident wont turn into a political issue.

This is not the first time that someone’s downloading habits have caused a financial crisis. In 2007 a factory worker from the UK was billed $54,000 for hooking up his mobile phone to to his laptop, and downloading 20 or 30 TV-shows. For some, file-sharing can prove to be an expensive hobby.


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