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French woman receives 12 quadrillion euro phone bill

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A French woman has been billed €11,721,000,000,000,000, or £9.4qn, for cancelling a phone contract.

Sneak understands that she will not have to pay the bill that was sent out in error, but judging by reports it gave her the shock of her life.

"I almost had a cardiac arrest! There were so many zeros I could not even work out how much it was", said Solenne San Jose in an interview with French newspaper Sud Ouest.

The child minder had asked to close her account while she was out of work. Her provider Bouygues Telecom said fine, but because it was going to be before the end of the contract she would have to pay a cancellation fee.

Ms San Jose was not expecting the cancellation fee to have more zeroes that a binary swear word, and was stunned to see a note at the bottom of the bill that told her that the money would be debited from her bank account.

She called a helpline and tried to convince someone that a mistake had been made. This did not work initially, and the person suggested that there was nothing that could be done, except perhaps, paying the €12 quadrillion in instalments.

At some point common sense descended and someone at the firm understood that no individual could possibly owe or pay a sum higher that France's annual gross economic output.

Following this realisation Ms San Jose was told that she must pay the much more reasonable sum of €117.21. Some reports have it that the whole bill has been waived. Sneak is waiting for official confirmation.

Wait, here is the letter from the phone operator...yes it turns out she now owes just 0000000.1p. But it must be paid, the letter says.

Ms Jose was last seen shaving the edge off a penny coin.

12 Oct 2012

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