jpollock: 1) Fails a reasonableness test. Is it reasonable that the Telco is profitting from someone who _STOLE_MONEY_FROM_ME_? Talk about an incentive to not investigate!
2) Isn't handled that way in other vendor/customer situations.
Credit card companies don't, power companies don't, health insurers don't, banks don't.
I don't completely agree.
The telcos certainly should implement protection of themselves - i.e. a bill 10X the norm should not be allowed, as maverick has said at least one telco implements credit control to protect themselves from this to avoid not getting paid.
However, I still take the view that the customer left themselves vulnerable. I don't blame Toyota if I leave my car unlocked with the keys in it and it is stolen; and I don't blame my bank if I leave my ATM card with PIN written on it lying around and all my money is withdrawn (especially as I only get a bank statement once a month).
I can sympathise with the customer and I am sure the telco will come to an agreement with them, but they failed to adequately protect themselves, and that is not the telco's fault.