A MAN was left stunned after being hit with a phone bill for nearly £19,000.

Chris Bovis was puzzled when his phone was cut off by Orange without warning but confusion soon turned to horror when he called the company for an explanation and was told his latest bill was an eye-watering £8,900 which was said to be due to internet usage.

He was then told next month’s bill would be for another £10,000.

Chris, 26, said: “My first reaction when I called Orange was to laugh as I just couldn’t believe it, but it stopped being funny when I realised they were serious. “I didn’t know if a bailiff was going to turn up, it was awful.”

Chris asked Orange to switch the internet off his phone, which the company agreed to do, but he says this didn’t stop his Apple iPhone from continuing to send and receive large amounts of data.

Orange advised Chris to restore the iPhone to its factory settings, but this didn’t have any effect either.

The phone company then asked Chris to make an appointment at an Apple store Genius Bar to see what was happening. Staff there were also baffled, and swapped the iPhone for a new one.

Orange agreed as there did appear to be a fault with the phone, they would cap Chris’ bill at £300.

But Chris who lives in Burns Place, Tilbury, didn’t agree that he should have to pay anything above his normal phone bill, as it wasn’t his fault.

His partner, Joanna Russo, said it was then that things turned nasty.

She said: “Chris was advised the £300 was not up for discussion and he must pay this. “Failure to do so would result in them removing the cap on the bill and sending a bailiff round for the full amount of £8,907.82. “To top it off, as neither Chris or Orange could control the data usage, Chris was advised next month’s bill was £10,000!

“I’m not quite sure how I’m sleeping at night at the moment worrying about it. “The debt would have a massive impact on both our lives as our house would be blacklisted, that’s if we’re left with a house at the end of it.”

Last week Chris got a letter from his bank saying Orange had tried to take £19,000 from his account but it had been rejected.

An Orange spokesman said: “We would like to sincerely apologise to Mr Bovis for any distress caused by receiving this unusually high phone bill.

“It does appear that this resulted from a fault with his device and we are happy to reduce the bill to zero as soon as we received confirmation of the fault from his manufacturer.”