Familie erhält eine Telstra-Internetrechnung für fast eine halbe Million Dollar.

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A family was beaten after a shocking network problem with a Telstra Internet bill for nearly half a million dollars.

Triple mother Karen from Perth was disbelieving when she received the $465,595.23 bill in the mail.

She spent almost a month convincing the telco giant that the amount was a mistake, but each representative insisted she had to cough up the full amount.

But Karen found that the cause of the six-figure amount was just a “system failure” after a difficult battle with the company.

They took it the way it’s still my bill, and I’m guilty of that bill until they prove otherwise,” Karen told A Current Affair.

“Then stress and fear began to build.

Karen said that her average Telstra bill is about $400 a month.

So when she received the huge sum, she was convinced she might have been hacked.

Was it (the modem) hacked? How did she actually manage to download so much data without going up in flames,” she asked.

Technology expert Trevor Long said the family would have to spend 4.5 million hours on Facebook or watch 30,000 movies in a month to pay the bill.

I don’t think the average home router or home network can handle it,” he said.

Karen was convinced that she had made progress in her case when she contacted Robbie, a sales representative from her local Telstra in Bunbury.

He agreed that the bill was a mistake and said the cause was a misalignment in the system.

Thinking her problem had been solved, Karen received a second bill of $466,000.

Telstra official Michael Ackland finally realized that the bill was a mistake and apologized deeply when A Current Affair contacted him.

There were two problems – there was a system failure that caused the original problem, and then there was a human error not to pick it up as quickly as possible,” he said.

Karen was urged to ignore the bill and assured that Telstra would correct the error.

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Mette Frederiksen is a The Washington Newsday correspondent. With her coverage of general science, NASA and the interface between technology and society, Frederiksen has been in the Science Desk's Technology Beat since joining Washington Newsday in 2018.

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