An eight-year-old boy ran up a £700 bill watching YouTube videos – after his iPad switched from wifi to a premium contract when a power outage struck.
Aaron Little got into “big, big trouble” for watching clips on YouTube after his mum Lyndsey, 39, was sent a whopping bill for the data he used at their home in Edinburgh.
The Minecraft-mad youngster usually watches videos online via the family’s WiFi – but recent plumbing works at his flat forced labourers to turn off the power supply, causing the device to automatically connect to the expensive 3G network.
Phone giants Vodafone demanded that Lyndsey cough up £718.59 within a week, warning that unless she did her contracts would be terminated and the bill raised to £1,209.14.
She has been unable to pay, so has now been landed with the bigger figure. Aaron said: “We just got a big, big bill and we have to pay.
I’m upset because I didn’t know about it. I only know because my mum told me.”
Mother-of-four Lyndsey, who is on benefits, said she was “devastated” by the bumper bill run up by her youngest son.
She said: “We are trying hard to stay afloat with bills and stay on top of things.
“Then a bill for £700 came out of nowhere. I was devastated.
“I was shocked when I saw the bill. It said that if I didn’t pay within a week, they’d cut off everything and I would have to pay £1,200.
“I sat Aaron down in the car when he came back from school. He cried and cried and said he was sorry. He’s only eight and it wasn’t his fault.
“He was just watching Minecraft. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s educational and teaches kids to build things. “I don’t know what we can do. It’s upset the whole family.”
Aaron ran up the bill when he accidentally connected to the premium network while council workers put a new shower into his flat over three days in early August.
Mum Lyndsey, who has been a Vodafone customer for 12 years, tried to discuss the situation with staff at the company’s store on Princes Street, Edinburgh.
She explained the bill amounted to three-quarters of the family’s monthly income and that they could not afford to pay the weekly minimum instalments of £60.
But Vodafone employees showed no sympathy and told her she was responsible for paying off her son’s debt.
The company said it would terminate the contracts linked to the iPad and two phones used by her other sons.
Lyndsey said: “Everything on the iPad was password-locked to avoid hidden charges or inappropriate content.
“I went in to see Vodafone and they said the iPad was working fine and that the problem had been caused by my son.
“I showed them my benefits and paper work and told them how much I get, but they didn’t want to see it.
“I wish they could have been more understanding. They are treating me like they don’t care and it’s left me upset.
“I had to explain to my other sons that their phones may have to be cut off.
“I wish Vodafone would tell you upfront about these little loopholes in the system. These devices should have a £100 cut off to protect families with low incomes.”
A Vodafone spokeswoman said today: “We are carrying out a thorough investigation.”