Today, likely the busiest travel day of the year, I’m happy that I’m not actually going anywhere. But instead I’m finding that I’m continuing to resolve billing issues from my recent international jaunt around much of Southern Europe and the Middle East.
I had been in several nations, including Turkey, Greece, Israel and Egypt and had been relying on my mobile smartphone to stay in touch with colleagues and editors back in the United States. I also used my BlackBerry Tour to keep in contact with my travel companions, including my wife, who also used a Tour on our tour.
As I had previously reported, there were some strange outages. For one the phone kept resetting in Turkey. I chalked this up to network conflicts, but obviously without a carrier store in sight this was disturbing. And while in two full-day stops in Israel my handset had no contact with the outside world, but strangely my wife’s device worked.
And while it was a minor problem, all things considered, it was one that I was promised that I would be credited for my trouble. I’m not the type who normally pinches pennies as much as I should, but in this case I was essentially being double billed. First, I was charged for the data plan for the United States while still paying for international data roaming. It was explained to me that as an American customer I had to pay for the data plan at home and abroad. I don’t understand why the domestic couldn’t have been switched off, but that was something I understood before I went.
So obviously, I’m taking issue with the lack of service for three full days. If I didn’t have service but was being billed not once, but twice, I want to be credited! The irony is that a third bill has shown up since we’ve returned and while the credits are coming through, so are the charges.
International roaming charges are still showing up on our bill two months after we returned home, and somehow this three-week trip abroad is spread out over three bills. We’ve been assured that this is the final time we’ll see it, but both my wife and I feel as if we’ve already paid for all the roaming. She took the time to call the carrier and they’ve now assured us that this is correct… it seems that we were using partner services and it took time for the bills to appear.
OK, this is a problem for us, but could be a bigger headache for anyone who travels even more than us internationally. I’m on planes a lot but usually it is flying around the United States. I can’t imagine how much more confusing this would be if I traveled internationally all the time. I can see that it would be very easy to lose track of all the international roaming and data charges. In the end I bet the carriers like it this way because they figure that most business travelers will just pay the bill and not be bothered to figure it out. Has this really become the cost of doing business?
Mobile Business Travel App of the Week: