The $15 quadrillion cell phone bill

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Last updated April 12, 2019

A French woman got the shock of her life last month when she opened her new cell phone bill to find herself facing a charge of $15 quadrillion.  The jaw-dropping bill came after Solenne San Jose from Pessac, which is located close to Bordeaux in the southwest of France, ended her cell phone contract with provider Telecom Bouygues.  Because she was terminating the contract early, the company told her she would have to pay a cancellation fee but no one could have expected the frighteningly insane figure that ended up on her next bill.

Opening the statement when it arrived, San Jose found herself facing a bill for no less than €11,721,000,000,000,000, which is the equivalent of $15 quadrillion and around 5872 times the annual GDP of the whole of France and, indeed, more money than is actually even in circulation in Europe as a whole.  To add insult to injury, the phone company had the cheek to charge San Jose’s bank account automatically as well.

San Jose contacted Telecom Bouygues a number of times to try to dispute the charge, only for the company to refuse to admit they had made a mistake or to attempt to prevent the transaction on her bank account.  Telecom Bouygues even had the gall to charge her for the calls and offer her a ‘payment plan’ for the insane debt before finally confessing to having made a printing error.

Ludicrously high cell phone bills have been making the news in recent years, with a Malaysian man in 2006 receiving a bill for around $218 trillion, though San Jose’s must now be the record.