“Free” music comes with a bill for thousands

When 20-year old Claes saw mobile phone company 3’s advert saying that it offered “free music all summer, where you are”, he took the company at its word.

When he went on holiday to Italy, he continued downloading music onto his mobile phone, reported Stockholm City.

So he was surprised to find that 3 had blocked calls to and from his phone, and to be told by 3’s call centre that he owed them 8,000 kronor.

According to the 20-year old, his response was “you have to be kidding.”

“I am never going to pay 8,000 kronor for a free service,” he told the company.

When he got home he found the total bill to be 28,000 kronor.

It turned out that the multinational operator’s definition of “wherever you are” was somewhat parochial. In fact, far from being free, as 3 had promised in its adverts, songs cost 30 kronor per megabyte if you happened to download them in Italy.

According to Stockholm City, the restrictions on 3’s offer were hidden in the smallprint on 3’s website.

When Claes called 3 to complain, they offered to let him pay the debt off in installments – but he was still not happy. Only after he went to the press did the company promise to release Claes from his debt, and to make its publicity material clearer.

“I’m glad that 3 has admitted its mistake,” said the 20-year old, “but I never believed they would win.”