For those who’ve never heard of a Slingbox, it’s a device that allows you to watch your local television stations on your computer or phone no matter where you are. I’ve always wanted one myself.
When Chicago Bears fan Wayne Burdick decided to go on a cruise in early November of last year, he brought his Slingbox device and laptop with him to watch his beloved NFL team take on the winless Detroit Lions. The Bears ended up winning a squeaker 27-23 and Burdick was a happy guy … until he got the next month’s phone bill from AT&T.
The amount? $27, 788.93. Twenty-seven thousand, seven hundred eighty-eight dollars and ninety-three cents. Why so much? AT&T charged Burdick the international rate of two cents per kilobyte, which apparently adds up very quickly!
Burdick contacted AT&T, explaining to them he was not in international waters because he was still in port in Miami – and thus should not be charged the exorbitant amount of money. Despite showing AT&T actual paperwork showing he was not away from the port, the phone company lowered his bill to $6,000 – but would not budge any further.
Finally, an exasperated Burdick decided to enlist the help of his local newspaper, the Chicago Sun-Times and their “Team Fixer” department. On Burdick’s behalf they presented his case and, wouldn’t you know it, AT&T acknowledged their mistake and fixed Burdick’s bill.
It took months and the involvement of a news reporter, but an injustice has been corrected! Good for Mr. Burdick, and props to the Sun-Times.