The details are still being brought to light on this, so don't go taking up torch and pitchfork just yet, but apparently there's some poor soldier in Afghanistan with a $US16,000 bill that AT&T will not budge on whatsoever.
The soldier, Pfc Jose Rivera, deployed to Forward Operating Base Shindand in Afghanistan under the impression that his overseas calls would only be billed at a $US4.95/month rate. Many calls to his wife and newborn child later, the bill was much, much more than that rate would have worked out to, to the tune of sixteen grand.
Ultimately, this sounds like a misunderstanding. Rivera, who does not speak English as his first language, apparently misunderstood what AT&T said, as the actual billed rate looks to be about $US5/minute for international calls from his FOB to the U.S.
Rivera's commanding officer, Capt. Evan Brainerd, understands that a misunderstanding probably took place, but has so far been unable to help his soldier out. AT&T customer service has been decidedly, well, automated with its responses to Rivera and Brainerd. A request to lower the bill to $US9,000 was denied without reason. Requests for more information about why the account was not flagged for excessive usage or why warnings were not sent (something AT&T does do for excessive data plan usage) remain unanswered. [CNET, Image: Capt. Brainerd]