Thanks to my smart phone I have another reason (besides the million dollar mortgage and accompanying taxes) to not live on lovely Lakeshore Drive in the Grosse Pointes.
About a month ago I attended a meeting at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial on Lake St. Clair. Built as the Russell Alger family home in 1910, the mansion is now a center for classes, private functions, theatrical performances and community events. It has a beautiful view of the lake and you can glimpse Canada across the water.
At the start of the evening’s program the president of the group told us to turn off our cell phones; she casually mentioned that we might incur a roaming charge. Non-techie that I am I thought, since I didn’t intend to roam—I was going to sit through that presentation—the fee would not apply to me. I turned the ringer off but did not shut down my Droid.
After the meeting I checked the phone and saw this message from Verizon:
“Welcome to Canada! Roaming data may be billed up to $2.05/MB per your plan….”
I called the number listed and Mr. Verizon rep explained that since:
the meeting site was located on the lake,
and Canada is across that lake,
and given the right conditions (it was a clear evening) the communications signals travel well over open bodies of water,
and my phone was inclined to pick up the strongest signal in the area,
and that signal happened to be from Canada,
I incurred an international roaming charge.
Mr. Verizon said the fine print on my phone agreement states that this is the way it works, and that the phone cannot be selective in choosing a signal from the U.S. or another land.
He added that the fee might be up to $2.05 per minute for the entire time I was in that location—nearly two hours—but that I would have to wait until I received my phone bill to find that out.
Thanks, Mr. Verizon. Just what I needed. A month of wondering whether I racked up an extra $200 in fees for something I didn’t use.
It did make me think about how the folks who live on Lakeshore Drive manage their smart phones.
Do they incur roaming charges on every clear night that the signals are inclined to zip across Lake St. Clair and find their communication devices?
Does this happen in Marine City, Port Huron, Detroit and other spots along the narrow St. Clair and Detroit Rivers we share with Canada?
What about Sault Ste. Marie and elsewhere along the border?
Is there something our government should be doing about those Canadian signals sneaking into the U.S., invading unsuspecting smart phones at will?
The Verizon bill arrived yesterday and it included a $2.64 roaming charge. Period. Thank goodness.
Sure, the view of Lake St. Clair is nice but even if I could afford a mansion on Lakeshore Drive the potential roaming charges would surely do me in.