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Brace yourself for big bills Telus customers: incoming Twitter messages are being tracked as outgoing.

If you're a Telus customer using twitter to get SMS updates, and you don't have an unlimited text messaging plan, get ready for a potentially nasty bill.

Although the USA has enjoyed this feature since the dawn of time, for the past few months Canadians weren't able to receive updates from twitter on their cell phones until the Canadian cell phone companies and Twitter sorted things out amongst themselves.

Last month Telus caught up to the other major players and reintroduced incoming messages, which was wonderful.

There's just one catch - someone screwed up on the code in Telus' billing software, and it started reading incoming messages from twitter as outgoing messages.


Ironically I know the people who were behind the unvandalized original version of this ad campaign.

Read this painful account on HowardForums if you want to see what happens when you're the first person to get hit by the billing issue.

Thank goodness I wasn't the first person to report this - when I dialed  *611 they were aware of the problem and vowed to fix things by starting an 'investigation.'

As any good IT auditor knows, that means a trouble ticket has been opened, along with no doubt hundreds of not thousands of other complaints which will appear from people like me. This will no doubt lead to a bit of overtime on the teams responsible for responding to these complaints, as well as the IT guys who have to fix the problem itself!

Once things are sorted out I'll get a credit on my bill for the excess text messaging charges, and the ticket will be closed.

It sucks when a company screws up on such a massive level but pretty much all the major cell phone companies unfortunately go through something like this from time to time so there's little you can do other than sit and wait. And get their Loyalty office to somehow compensate you for the headache that you go through having to dispute your bill to get it settled properly. I ran into one of my friends right after I saw this - he correctly declares this to be the pleasant upside to an unfortunate fiasco.

And of course, in the interim all cell phone updates via twitter are disabled on my account. It's nice to know what transittoronto is saying, but I can just wait until I get home to get the news instead.

And if they can't fix the billing issue in the near future, I look forward to a temporary free upgrade to unlimited text messaging. It'll be interesting to see how this pans out.

Did you get hit by this billing issue too? Click here to write a comment about your (mis-)adventure.