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Hidden telephone charges

Telephone companies are equally bad when it comes to cheating the consumer.

Got my telephone bill today. I was down with flu and cough and the bill makes it worse :-(

Last month, I was away for a conference. Those were the days when DC area sniper was at large. So, I used to call (collect) my wife to inform that I’ve reached safely after the 40 minutes drive, filled up gas safely etc. Each call was less than a minute. How much does MCI charge? $6.20.

The conference center has payphones serviced by MCI. The rate that was given to me was in cents. So, how did I get this 620 cents bill?

The beauty of hidden charges. Here’s how Ohio Consumer’s Council explains it. Apparently, AT&T’s charges are as annoying as their comedian, Carrot Top.

Many telephone companies advertise collect call services as a way to save money, but a closer look reveals that these types of calls can be costly. For example, MCI’s 1-800-COLLECT and AT&T’s 1-800- CALLATT both charge between 55 and 65 cents per minute in addition to a $3.99 per call surcharge. If the call is made through an operator an additional charge up to $6.50 could apply. All collect calls are also subject to a Universal Service Fee which funds federal government programs that make local telephone service more affordable for low- income consumers.

Great. WorldCom needs honest policy makers more than a new CEO. What more can you expect from companies thate abuse stock holders' trust? Naturally, they will abuse your trust too. Probably there is some law passed by favourable senators that decrees hidden charges need not be revealed before accepting the service.

Moral of the story

Consumers need to ask telephone companies about additional charges that may apply before placing or accepting a collect call.

The best part in my regular bill is Verizon’s surcharges. Surcharges add up to much more than the regular service. Oh well, not many choices available.

  1. I would like to view my telephone bill before I get it

    Posted by: Michael Collins on September 15, 2003 08:38 AM
  2. MCI WAS my long distance provider until I got my 1800collect bill.
    Last penny they will ever get from me.

    Posted by: Rick on October 7, 2003 11:12 AM
  3. Recently, I had to accept 3 collect calls (provided by Sprint) from California. For a 5 minute call, they charged $18.95. For the other two 3 minute calls, they charged $17.17. Meaning, they charge 89 cents per minute. $14.50 is the base charge! These calls where not made through a human operator, but rather through an automated operator.

    Only conclusion I can make is that one should never call collect; regardless of what the annoying carrot top says.

    Posted by: Babu on December 14, 2003 09:12 AM