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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 January, 2004, 16:43 GMT
8,000 bill for phone theft victims
Mobile phone user
Calls were made to Pakistan, Qatar, Senegal and Ethiopia
A couple have been told they must pay a bill of more than 8,000 run up by thieves after their mobile phone was stolen in South Africa.

Zyg and Rosemary Gregorek, who own a fishing complex at Halwill near Holsworthy, Devon, were on holiday when the phone was stolen in Johannesburg.

They only realised it was missing when they got back to Britain.

T-Mobile says it is extremely unlikely to waive the bill which shows the phone was used non-stop every minute for a week, with calls to countries such as Pakistan, Qatar, Senegal and Ethiopia.

T-Mobile initially sent the couple a bill for 1,300, but that increased to 8,115.29 when the firm included the full list sent from South Africa.

It was completely irresponsible of (T-Mobile) to let the bill run up as much as it did
Zyg Gregorek
The phone was cut off when the company became suspicious of the huge increase in calls, several days before the couple reported it missing.

But Mr Gregorek, 40, says his holiday insurance will not cover the cost and he is appealing to T-Mobile to reduce the bill.

He said: "We are devastated. We can't afford that kind of money. We are not destitute, but it's beyond our means."

Upsurge in calls

Mr Gregorek criticised T-Mobile for not spotting the upsurge in phone calls and cutting off the line sooner.

"My wife's bill has never been more than 15 per month and they are aware of that.

"It was completely irresponsible of them to let the bill run up as much as it did."

Patrick Barrow, head of external communications at T-Mobile, said: "The contracts are very, very clear that up to and until the point where a customer reports the phone stolen, they are liable for any expenditure run up," he said.

"We stand by the fact that this couple have to pay.

"We will look at the best way to approach this, but we won't waive the bill."




SEE ALSO:
Police bid to cut phone robberies
06 Dec 03  |  England
Firearm crime continues to rise
16 Oct 03  |  London
'Out of sight is safer' say Met
29 Sep 03  |  London
Street crime down in London
12 Sep 02  |  England


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