Foster daughter has run up £500 phone bill

(12 Posts)
Zungerugran Thu 26-Apr-12 08:13:15

Just found out my 13 yr old foster daughter has run up a £500 bill on her mobile contract. Some calls lasted for four hours! Not sure what to do now - whether to expect to get the money back, or will be considered my own fault for getting her a contract phone on my direct debit? Has this sort of thing happened to anyone else?

Groovee Thu 26-Apr-12 08:20:44

My dd has a contract which is blocked if she goes over her allowance. It may be worth seeing if you can get her one on that. My mobile provider actually recommended it. But I'd get that in place now if you can or else back to PAYG with a monthly limit. Dd does get umlimited texts and only 75 minutes.

If foster dd did that then I would expect her to pay it back from her pocket money/savings account and if there wasn't enough or her social worker thought that was too harsh (as it would take too long to pay off) then I'd expect them to cover the bill. They are able to do this - I've had a child steal from me and the cost of it was covered as my insurance excess is £500.

You're crackers for having a contract for her - you need to take that off her immediately and go to pay as you go.

scarlet5tyger Thu 26-Apr-12 21:17:33

This hasn't happened to me luckily as I take under 5s (although my current FC recently texted everyone in my phone, and rang random numbers to "talk like scarlet..."!) but I have a friend who ran up a huge mobile bill from internet usage because she didn't realise it wasn't unlimited. She rang her mobile provider and, unbelievable as it may sound, they were quite reasonable and knocked loads off the amount she owed. Worth a try maybe?

I'd definitely be expecting this to be repaid from pocket money though - do you overpay her so that amounts can be stopped for unreasonable behaviour? I'd say this is definitely in that category!

Mrbojangles1 Fri 27-Apr-12 17:16:03

Agreed she should either have. Certain amount before it cuts off or which I think is much better named people who she can call namely you and social worker and thats it of her firends want to speak to her let them pay.

Zungerugran sorry but it's crazy that she was allowed to have unlimited calls I would be deducting it form her pocket money until it was paid bak and a stern talking to would go a miss either £500shock

Mrbojangles1 Fri 27-Apr-12 17:17:05

Most phone providers have a teen tarif to prevent this sort of thing

gettinghappy Sat 28-Apr-12 08:32:03

I am probably going to be shot down in flames for this but for what it's worth here's my tuppence worth.

I do think the girl needs to make a substantiual contribution to paying the debt. But I do think this whoul d be split with the foster carer, after any negotiations with the telephone company.

Yes the girl ran up the bill. Was she really aware of the money she was using while doing so .......I doubt it. But she should be made to contribute to paying off the ££ as a learning experience, not a punishment. I really don't believe she ran up such a huge bill deliberately. What she did was typical teenage behaviour. My mum had to put a lock on our house telephone when I was a teenager as I could talk for hours with my friends, in spite of having spent all day with them at school.

The foster carer is also partly responsible for not ensuring a way of limiting the ££ used by the girl ( either PAYG or a limited teen tarriff) and as such should IMO help with the paying.

I think it's an important, and costly, learning experience for everyone involved. Not about bleame, but about learning and experience.

We need to teach children and young people to be aware of the financial cost of the things they use. But as responsible adults we too also need to take responsibility for limiting the possibility of young people running up such huge debts and ensure that measures are in place to protect us from then having to pay out vast sums of money unnnecessarily and which , with a little thought could have been avoided.

I hope the telephone company are understanding and reduce the amount owed somewhat and that this doesn't cause any undue friction between the girl and her carer. xx

Mrbojangles1 Sat 28-Apr-12 10:13:40

Getting happy well said

softsteady Mon 17-Jun-13 23:22:45

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Roshbegosh Wed 19-Jun-13 06:00:54

I agree with getting happy. It is a shared responsibility because she probably had no idea that the bill was going to be that much and you were not sensible to put her in that position. Ultimately you caused this between the two of you.
She should maybe lose pocket money for a month but not have to pay back £500, that really wouldn't be fair and would take forever. I think that would be cruel.
Your SW and the phone company might help with it I think but either way, it is a lesson for all of us.

NotmylastRolo Wed 19-Jun-13 08:13:51

Hi - I know that I will be shot down in flames (!) as I would take a much firmer line with social services who have parental responsibility to pay a substantial amount towards this bill (maybe not all of it but at least 50%).
If this were a neighbour's child you were looking after and they ran up a massive bill on your appliance you would expect the "parent" to at least take responsibility for the child's actions. The child is 13yrs old and well able to know that they are running up such a huge bill (if the child was under 10yrs old I would feel that maybe they could be unaware depending on the child). I fostered (now resigned) teens and I know that they are well aware of costs by age 13yrs particularly to do with mobile phones, Ipods/Ipads, trainers, latest clothing trends etc etc.
The remaining amount could be paid partly off from pocketmoney and I agree with Rosh that it should be for a month as more would appear harsh and damage your relationship.
Hopefully you will be able to negotiate with the supplier to reduce the bill under the circumstances of age and situation etc. I hope you get a sympathetic ear and expect you will (fingers crossed for you).
There are funds for LAC teens (school trips, special sports and events, special hobbies etc). I also know how expensive generally fostered teens are as they constantly need activity to keep their demons at bay so that eventually they can settle to foster care and their situation and that can be very expensive.
Good luck!

Roshbegosh Wed 19-Jun-13 19:55:31

Rolo, it does make sense but I hope she isn't with my LA. It would never happen. Never! We have had all sorts of things but they wore us down, took forever to agree and then no payment. In the end we gave up. Just part of the fostering experience.

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