Vanishing credit mystery solved

19:21, Jul 04 2013
phone hacking
OUT OF CREDIT: Alison Latimer couldn’t figure out why the prepaid credit on her cellphone was disappearing.

It is one thing having to pay the phone bill but picking up someone else's tab is another.

And when that person could be anyone, anywhere in the world, the problem is confounding. Or so Alison Latimer was led to believe on Tuesday morning when the bill landed.

She received a text message on her Telecom prepaid cellphone telling her the credit balance had dropped below $1. "I should have had $12 in the account."

Ms Latimer got straight on the phone to Telecom and says she was told someone had been text messaging an overseas number from her number, at 80c a text. She was confused.

"While I was talking to Telecom about the matter, I got another text from Telecom to say there was no credit left on the phone.

"The Telecom staff member on the other end of the phone confirmed someone was texting; he put me on hold, came back and said Telecom would put money back into my account, and that the complaint would be dealt with by upper management.


"He said other people had the same issue."

Ms Latimer's account was credited later on Tuesday. Her confusion was put to rest when Telecom confirmed yesterday a fault in the system had left some customers short of credit because of a billing error.

"There was a problem with the network so instead of registering the text in New Zealand, it was registering overseas; it was charged as a roving text rather than a domestic text," the spokesperson said.

Telecom has apologised.

The Timaru Herald