A BC Resident Accidentally Paid A Stranger's Telus Bill For 5 Years & It Was Over $11,000

The bill's real owner now owes the company thousands.
A BC Resident Accidentally Paid A Stranger's Telus Bill For 5 Years & It Was Over $11,000
Staff Writer

Automatic payments are the best. We give our banking info to a company and our services are paid for on the first or last day of every month like clockwork. But after reading this story, you may want to double-check that you are paying the correct amount, or even for the correct service. According to an email sent to Narcity from Telus, a B.C. resident paid for a stranger's bill for five years. During the B.C. Telus mixup, they managed to pay over $11,000 and now, the provider is billing the individual for most of his missed payments.

Steve Wright is a teacher in a community just 65 kilometres northwest of Vancouver. 

He was notified last August that he had not paid his Telus bill. Like ever.

In five years, Wright managed to have a complete stranger pay for his phone bill without both parties even realizing it. 

According to an email sent from Telus to Narcity, a former customer complained in August 2019 that an incorrect amount was withdrawn from their account for what they thought was a period of two years. 

An investigation was opened and Telus learned that the account was paying for Wright’s bill for five years and had paid a whopping $11,384.60 in total. 

Once the company was made aware of the situation, the stranger was paid back in full. But, Steve Wright was left in a bit of a pickle.

Wright was informed of the massive mistake and the company began discussing how he could pay them back for the services he had been using. 

It looks like he will still be saving some money because Telus originally told him that the issue took place over two years and because of this, Wright will only have to pay for the last two years. 

The music teacher will need to pay over a period of 30 months at a rate of $182.21 a month. 

Put away the calculator, we did the math for you. It will total up to about $5,466.30. 

That means that Wright still received a massive $5,918.30 worth of services for free.

“We believe we have been very generous in waiving all charges owed by Mr. Wright between August 2014 and May 2017 and extending the reimbursement timeline per Mr. Wright’s request, where he is paying for 24 months of service over 30 months,” Telus told us. 

Wright initially told CBC News that he was sent hundreds of emails and that the communications company made aggressive phone calls throughout the investigation. 

Telus states that this is a false claim. 

“All phone calls with Mr. Wright were professional and friendly, and per his request, we sent him recordings of each call on a USB. We also informed him in advance that he would receive automatically generated emails for each month of service as we reversed the payments on his account,” said Telus. 

Telus believes that they have resolved the issue fairly for every individual involved. 

Wright offered to pay off his debt over five years to keep his bills manageable but was declined by Telus.

You may want to keep a close eye on your payments as this is not the first time Canadians have reported random charges from services. 

In July of 2019, several Spotify customers reported being charged several hundreds of dollars on multiple occasions by the music company. 

If you're broke in B.C., cross you fingers and home some nice stranger will pay your bills. It's all well and good as long as it never comes to light.

Stephanie Hilash
Staff Writer
Stephanie Hilash is a guest staff writer