San Antonio teen hit with $4,000 phone bill while stationed overseas

Dalton Gillaspie (Photo courtesy the family)

The need for an international calling plan doesn't just impact summer travelers; it's part of life for members of the military stationed overseas.

The mom of a family of 8, Tiffany Gillaspie is used to spending money for cell phone service. On average the family spends about $500 a month, so when she got a bill close to $5,000 in May, she was shocked.

Her son Dalton Gillaspie, who had recently left for the Navy, was charged $4,296 for one month for international calls he made while stationed in Japan.

Before he left, Gillaspie added international calling to the family's Verizon phone plan for an additional $10 for her and $10 for Dalton.

"I had told them go ahead and put it on mine because I'm predominantly who calls and put it on him as well because he will be calling me," Gillaspie said.

When the bill came in, Gillaspie realized there had been a serious and costly miscommunication.

"I went online and started looking and found that they had been charging by the minute," Gillaspie said. "They proceed then to tell me international is only calling from the U.S. outside of the U.S, so if he calls from Japan into the U.S., it's no longer international," Gillaspie said.

A couple calls into Verizon customer service, she was issued a credit of $1,374 which left her son responsible for a balance of $2,800. According to Gillaspie, each time she would call, customer service representatives would tell her there is nothing more that can be done because she had already agreed to credit.

After sharing her story with the News 4 Trouble Shooters, Gillaspie finally reached out to the executive office, and was subsequently reimbursed another $2,251.

It was a relief for both her and Dalton, but she wanted to share her story, hoping to prevent other members of the military from getting the costly, excessive bills.

"They should've explained that knowing he is going to be there for six months. They should have said don't put him on the international plan because this is not going to work for him," Gillaspie said.

Version statement:

"Verizon has been a long time supporter of the military. We offer a variety of plans to meet the needs of each individual or family. Military service members and veterans receive 15 percent off wireless service and 25 percent off select accessories. We value the contributions of the military and believe this is one way to show our appreciation."

News 4 did research several major carries and found out the majority of them offer a military discount.

VERIZON Military Plan

VERIZON International Plan

AT&T Military Plan

AT&T International Plan

Sprint Military Plan

Sprint International Plan

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