Phone bill blunder as French woman is asked to pay 11,721,000,000,000,000 euros (or 6000 times French GDP)


Click to follow
The Independent Online

If you've ever winced upon opening your phone bill you may have some small insight into the horror a woman in south-west France experienced this week.

Solenne San Jose, from Pessac outside Bordeaux, had a shock when she discovered her bill was for 11,721,000,000,000,000 euros (£9.4 quadrillion).

Ms San Jose said she nearly fainted on seeing the bill which was requesting an amount nearly 6000 times France's GDP.

To add insult to potentially very large financial injury the former teaching assistant had asked for her account to be closed last month after losing her job.

She was advised that on closing her account she would be billed a cancellation fee.

The £9.4 quadrillion added to her bill was, however, steep by anyone's standards.

Ms San Jose said on seeing the bill she “almost had a heart attack. There were so many zeroes I couldn't even work out how much it was”.

Despite what one would assume was a fairly obvious mistake Ms San Jose had some trouble convincing operators at Bouygues Telecom to amend the charges, as they continued to insist it would be automatically withdrawn from her bank and there was nothing they could do about it.

The company did however finally admit the bill should have been for 117.21 euros only, and eventually waived it altogether.

It also explained that the mistake was down to a printing error and a misunderstanding between Ms San Jose and staff at the call centre.