Time Warner charges man $16.4 million for cable service

April 4, 2011 at 11:00 AM ET

Receiving a notice that you've had a payment bounce can't possibly be amusing, but one Ohio man certainly held onto his good sense of humor while dealing with such a problem recently. Then again, what else could he possibly do when faced with a $16,409,107 charge for cable service?

Dayton Daily News reports that Lt. Daniel DeVirgilio, a resident of Beavercreek, Ohio, recently received a letter informing him that his credit card payment to Time Warner, his cable provider, had been "rejected for non-sufficient funds."

The man hadn't received an unusual bill so he didn't exactly understand why the rejected charge was for well over $16 million. He called Time Warner and spent about 40 minutes speaking with representatives who were just as confused as he was:

DeVirgilio, 26, calculated that he would have to order an on-demand movie 1.6 million times or a pay-per-view fight 400,000 times to run up a $16.4 million monthly bill. His usual monthly automatic payment is about $80, he said.

After some back and forth, the cable service provider "attributed the $16.4 million figure to human error." Apparently an "employee typed in the wrong number for the amount owed, which caused the company’s automated system to generate the letter."

The company is working to resolve the confusion with DeVirgilio who — while concerned about the effect the whole thing could have on his credit history and cable service — is still managing to have a chuckle over the mess:

"All I want to do is watch March Madness," DeVirgilio said. "I didn’t really expect to pay $16 million to watch the Sweet 16."

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Rosa Golijan writes about tech here and there. She's a bit obsessed with Twitter, loves to be liked on Facebook, and really hates huge cable bills.