A factory worker from County Durham has run up a 27,000 pounds (US$53,000) phone bill by using his mobile as a modem for his PC.
Ian Simpson, 29, was charged up to 18 pounds (US$35.64) per minute for downloads, in spite of the fact he had paid his supplier Vodafone for a 41.50 pounds (US$82.20) per month tariff that allowed him to surf the Internet.
Simpson may now apply for bankruptcy, according to his local paper, the Northern Echo.
The factory worker had downloaded to his PC between 20 and 30 television shows and four music albums using his phone as a connection after taking technical advice from a friend.
Vodafone, which eventually cut off Simpson's connection, said that customers of the deal were limited to 120MB of downloads per month, which is equivalent to less than one album.
"Our advice would be to never use a mobile as a modem," Vodafone said. It said it would try to come to a "sympathetic agreement" with Simpson regarding payment. Simpson said: "Unless they take a sensible approach, I don't think I'll have any choice but to go bankrupt."
The case follows a similar case in Canada, where an oil-field worker was presented with an unexpected C$85,000 (US$86,100) bill by his phone supplier earlier this month.
Piotr Staniaszek had also used his mobile as a modem, thinking it was allowed under his unlimited data plan.
Supplier Bell Canada subsequently reduced the charges by 96 percent in what it described as a gesture of goodwill.