48-year-old hairdresser Paula Cochrane is new to the innovative joy that is using emoticons in your text messages to express your feelings and expressions.
Unfortunately, Miss Cochrane is also new to the concept that these cute, quirky little yellow faces in her texts are considered individual picture messages by her chosen provider, a phone company called EE.
Therefore, EE was charging her $2 for every emoticon she sent, and as it turns out… she sent a lot.
“I am raging,” said Miss Cochrane. “I have never heard of this before and I’ve had a mobile phone for years. Even the staff at my local EE shop were shocked when I told them. They knew nothing about it."
But according to a spokesperson at EE, this is fair game.
“Ms Cochrane incurred a series of charges for emojis which were sent in the form of MMS messages and fall outside of her monthly tariff,” the spokesperson said. “There are a number of factors which can affect whether customers are charged for sending an emoji.”
“In this case, it was caused by the settings on her handset and so this is a manufacturer (rather than a network) issue. We offered to add a credit to her account but this was refused,” the spokesperson added.
Miss Cochrane only recently upgraded to a two-year contract in September, which would cost her around $80 a month. When her November bill came to nearly $200, she chalked it up to the fact that perhaps she’d been using her phone a little more than usual.
However, when her December bill amounted to $870, she was outraged, and then her January one was another $943 on top. As of now she hasn’t paid the outstanding amount of $2500 total and is speaking to a professional who deals with complaint against maladministration.
So any friends of Paula Cochrane, don’t be expecting any smiley faces in your texts from her anytime soon!