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From Kampung Pauh, Malaysia, comes word that the nation's largest phone company has promised to look into a problem with a customer's latest bill. Yah-aya Wahab's reaction: Whew! Yahaya, you see, thought he was settling his late father's account back in mid-January when he sent $23 to Telekom Malaysia and asked that the line be disconnected. But last week an envelope arrived in the mail from a debt- collection agency that works for the government-owned company. It contained a new bill and a notice advising him to pay up within 10 days or face criminal prosecution . Yahaya opened the bill, assuming it couldn't possibly be large ... and just about collapsed. It was for $218 trillion. Yes, you read that correctly. For perspective, $218 trillion is roughly 26 times the size of the US federal debt. It's not known whether the new invoice resulted from a computer error. Whatever the explanation, Yahaya, who is an importer of meat, justifiably feels wronged. He accused the company of carelessness for sending out such a bill without at least checking the amount first, telling the New Straits Times newspaper: "If [Telekom Malaysia] wants to seek legal action ... I'm ready to face it. In fact, I can't wait to face it."

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