This article is from the archive of our partner .

Celia Aarons has a $201,000 bill from T-Mobile and her two, deaf-mute brothers are to blame. "They can't talk, they are mute deaf. No sounds, no nothing," Aarons told WSVN Television in Miami. "They make sounds but they can't talk."  Aarons brothers communicate by texting and use their phones to watch videos. Normally, that's not a problem. Aarons has the appropriate data plan and her bill is about $175, reports the AP. But that was before one of her brothers spent two weeks in Canada without an international plan to buffer the costs. Her brothers sent over 2,000 texts and also downloaded videos, sometimes racking up $2,000 in data charges. And legally, T-Mobile was not bound to let Aarons know about the ballooning charges, said Howard Finkelstein, of  WSVN's "Help Me Howard" segment, whom Aarons contacted for help.  Howard did help.  The Miami television station contacted T-Mobile who, the station reports, cut Aarons' bill to $2,500 and gave her six months to pay. Aarons's pricey bill brings to mind the case of Piotr Staniaszek from Canada who, Reuters reports, racked up an C$83,000 bill which, after negotiations, was whittled down to C$3,400.  Lessons gleaned: if your phone bill ever gets that big, you probably won't have to pay it but if you do, first make a call to "Help me Howard." 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to