11 Oct 2012

Trillion-euro phone bill the wrong number

3:43 pm on 11 October 2012

A Frenchwoman who received a telephone bill for an amount equivalent to nearly 6000 times the country's annual economic output has had the real amount she owed waived - after finally convincing the company they must have made a mistake.

Solenne San Jose, from Pessac in the Bordeaux region of southwestern France, could not believe her eyes when she discovered that she was being asked to pay €11,721,000,000,000,000 (the equivalent of $NZ18 thousand trillion), AFP reports.

"There were so many zeroes I couldn't even work out how much it was," she said.

Her alarm mounted when operators at Bouygues Telecom then told her they could not amend the computer-generated statement or stop the balance from being debited from her bank account.

Only after a series of frantic calls did the company finally admit that the bill should have been for €117.21.

Bouygues Telecom said the mix-up had been due to a printing error and a subsequent misunderstanding between the client and staff at their call centre.