phone co. chargiing for svcs not used - rant

cathie54May 10, 2007

Just rec'd my phone bill couple days ago. (I don't have cell phone - so I guess it's what's called 'land-line'?) It's my home phone, and no "pkg deals" - just straight phone w/ no frills (no calls waiting, etc.)

As usual, I'm picking thru it to verify long distance charges - to be sure they are MINE! (Yes, I had numerous times been charged for phone calls that weren't mine over the years) So I pick thru carefully each month.

There was a charge for $2.00 for long distance. So, I'm sorting thru all SIX (6) pages to find itemized charges. Couldn't find ANY. Started over - seeking those long distance chgs...NONE. "Break time" - then I'll look again!

Looked again after taking a break. nothing. OK, now..."am I completely crazy?" (Well, we know I'm crazy -!)

THEN, I come across something called a "SHORTFALL CHARGE". I scanned it and thot - "did I just read what I thot I read? I'm getting chg'd for something I didn't use?"

I put the bill aside for another day.

Well - TODAY is that day! Below is that portion of my statement - on page 5 :



Other Charges and/or Credits.............$2.00

Taxes and Surcharges.....................$0.25

Total (ph Co name)Long Distance Charges..$2.25



For (my ph #)

1) Qualifying Long Distance Charges $.00

2) Shortfall Charge

Your Long Distance qualifying charges this month are $.00.

When your long distance charges are less than $2.00, the Shortfall charge is the difference between those charges and $2.00

All long distance charges except for taxes and surcharges are included.



TOTAL (company name) LONG DISTANCE CHARGES.......$2.25


So, since I didn't make any long distance calls thru this company, I'm being penalized? Charged for services I did not use? I'm actually surprised that I had NO long distance charges that service period. HOWEVER, I'm trying to SAVE money and get my CC's pd off.

So now...looks like I should probably CALL someone once a month (a timed call - lol!) whether I have someone to call or not....or, pay for services I didn't use! (PLUS, all the other taxes, fees, surcharges, etc, etc, that NOBODY can explain...on top of that $2.25.)

I'm really sick of these companies that get away with anything they want. I've been reading the threads about debit card charges and holding extra money (that does NOT belong to them). I've been fighting my cable TV provider for almost 3 years now for "services not rendered".

It's just insane!

OH! And no wonder 'they' say "the economy is doing great"!

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IF you have Verizon... they notified all customers of this impending charge a few months ago. You have the option to opt out of LD and the charge. That's what we did....

    Bookmark   May 10, 2007 at 7:30PM
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You're correct with the company. And, no, I did NOT read the notification of changes...I'll have to refer to prior statemements for that. But, if I "opt out" - then need or want to make LD call?...then what? Do I no longer have service to call LD?

BTW - these "OPT OUT"s are crazy out of control also! IMO.

Thx for the "heads-up" on that. (Like I REALLY have time to read EVERYTHING - ALL THE TIME - EVERY MONTH about ANYTHING! LOL!)

    Bookmark   May 10, 2007 at 7:46PM
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Ya, I remember that happened to me a while back - not Verizon. I just scrapped long distance entirely because of that kind of thing. I do use a cell phone for long distance though. I've discovered all kinds of little miscellaneous charges like that though on cell phone too - they add something in that you don't want - some charge of a buck or two and if you don't notice it they just keep on billing you for it. You have to scrutinze those kind of bills closely.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2007 at 9:03PM
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Well I think it's (pottymouth) Balogna Scraps that any company can come up with an "idea" to STEAL MONEY from their "CUSTOMERS"-and...GET AWAY WITH IT!
Gosh Darn-It! I can think of all kinds of crazy ideas. But, one little "slip", and DIRECTLY TO JAIL for me. Or YOU!
Like, isn't this grand theft or something?

Doesn't anyone SEE what's been going on here?
Increasing cable TV prices - yet "services" not provided.
FEES for NOT making phone calls - LD, for now.
With-holding money for using a Debit card.
Banks charging fees for their "services" to their "customers"
On and doesn't end.
Companies no longer are making money (nor care) for products/services they offer...they make a killing off of "fees", "service chages", whatever name they want to give it.

I always CALLED and complained about a 5 cent overcharge. Not that I could not afford the 5 cents, but when a HUGE company overcharges many thousands (maybe millions) of "customers", that adds up to a LOT of $$$$$ for the company! And THAT has always made me angry.

That $27.00+ the ph co is charging me per year for NOT using service could buy us 2-3 months of toilet tissue, for example! (hmmm...I wonder if they'd throw me out of office if I were to appear in person to pay bill - with a dirty/stinky buttocks!)

I called a credit card company last night - couldn't figure out WHY it takes 7 days from close date to get to me. (Giving me only 18 days 'til DUE date - and that's IF I opened the bill on day of receipt and paid immediately!) Not the first time I've called on things like this. They ALWAYS blame it on the "Post Office". However, it's like pulling teeth to find out where the invoices are sent FROM! FRANKLY - I suppose it's not your "right" to know where they are sent from...they just won't tell you! It's also not your "right" to know if the statements are sent out the 'statement closing date' or the next day or (when?)! They 'claim' they are sent out close date or next day, but blame the P.O. for slow delivery! How convenient is that?

I've been seeing trends for many years. I've been trying to dig myself out of debt (Corporate slavery) for quite some time now. It's only getting worse by the day - and especially REALLY bad in last couple years or so.
Makes me wonder if I should just give up? Why beat a dead horse?
Yes - I'm so Put Out'ed right now, I'm going to go paint my garage door PURPLE! And don't nobody come tell me I can't have a PURPLE garage door!

OK...I'm done with my whining for now. I just wish all would open your eyes and actually "see" what's going on here. And complain. A LOT. It's NOT 'just the phone company' (altho, they DID take away a good protion of my "potty-paper fund"), but it's ALL of them! And we STILL "just accept it". And the more we "just accept it", the more 'they' will get away with ripping us off.

Well, sun is up. I'm off to paint.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2007 at 9:20AM
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A while back, I got stung by a $5.00 charge (different company, same practice).
I called the co and said to set my phone to no LD calls - at all.

I rarely need to make LD calls, but when I do, I either use my cell phone, or I use a dial around (1010XXX). You have to watch those dial arounds as well. I pay more per minute but there's no minimum or "shortfall" charge.

Here is a link that might be useful: 10-10 Phone Rates comparison

    Bookmark   May 11, 2007 at 9:46AM
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Gee, cathie54... you sure are worked up!
No one is stealing your money...

Verizon notified all customers starting with the February statement (page 5 on my copy... yours may vary) that the $2 charge will start 4/1/7. Basically, the fee is like a retaining fee.... with you saying that you want Verizon as your LD provider.

No one is making you choose Verizon! But if you retain their services, you pay the fee... which is then credited towards any charge you may incur that month.

Rather than pay the fee, we dropped Verizon as our LD provider. OUR choice... and a choice for you too!

I just wish all would open your eyes and actually "see" what's going on here. And complain. A LOT. It's NOT 'just the phone company' (altho, they DID take away a good protion of my "potty-paper fund"), but it's ALL of them! And we STILL "just accept it". And the more we "just accept it", the more 'they' will get away with ripping us off.

I do see what is going on... and you would too if you had read the notice in your bill. The power to eliminate the charge was/is in your hands, but as you said in your OP "Like I REALLY have time to read EVERYTHING - ALL THE TIME - EVERY MONTH about ANYTHING!". Spending a few minutes reading would have saved you all this aggravation! YOU decided to 'accept it'... so you really should not feel ripped off.


(and I do NOT work for Verizon!)

    Bookmark   May 11, 2007 at 1:25PM
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Cathie54, look into using phone cards--that is what I use. I can usually get them at Target or Marc's (a local grocer) for $.03/minute. So I have no long distance service or charges through my land line provider (AT&T) but can still access long distance whenever I want.

It is true, you HAVE to carefully read the entire bill every month from cable, phone, credit card etc. It has become accepted practice to slip notice of fee increases, change in payment due date, addition of services not ordered etc into fine print in odd places--for example, my cc put a notice of changing my payment due date (moving it 10 days earlier, mind you, this is a card that advertises how you can choose your due date, and I had!) in the midst of several advertisements for flowers, notecards, travel services etc. at the bottom of the bill. I am sure they were hoping that I would *not* notice and so be late with my payment, and so incur late fees, interest on the last two months of bills, and an increase in my interest rate!

My phone company got in trouble with the gov't several years ago for "slamming" its own customers with unordered services (like caller ID) then demanding that they pay for the service because it was available to be used for the time before the bills were sent and the customer knew about it! NO previous notice was given in this case.

Yes, it is our responsibility to look out for these practices, but isn't it a shame that they exist at all?

    Bookmark   May 11, 2007 at 4:05PM
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I suggest Googling 'cheap long distance' or somesuch. You'll find plenty of options.

The link below lets you search for plans available in yuor area. We picked 3U, which charges in 6-second increments, so your 90 second call costs 15 cents instead of 20 (assuming 1cent/unit). There's a fee, which is waived if you pay automatically by credit card or accept online billing.

Here is a link that might be useful: Save on phone

    Bookmark   May 15, 2007 at 12:49PM
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One more possibility to look into is Skype. If you have fast internet access and frequently call someone who also has fast internet access, you can talk for free. You need a headset that plugs into your computer. Walmart has started carrying Skype accessories (usb phones, headsets, etc)

My sister and I live in different states - she's pretty much the only long distance call I make. When I need to talk to her, I'll use one minute on my cell phone to tell her to go to her computer and I 'skype' her. Then we chat all we want free.

Here is a link that might be useful: Skype

    Bookmark   May 15, 2007 at 1:43PM
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western_pa_luann -
YES, I was all worked up! (Didn't you read my profile "WARNING! Subject to mood swings!")
I normally DO read all that stuff buried in between all the ads for flowers, etc. Either I missed that one, OR, I saw it and forgot about it OR, something! (I still haven't pulled it from file to check - too many other things I'm trying to take care of right now)

I don't have a cell phone, nor need for one. Would be silly to get one - cost would be higher than the $2.00+ per month. Besides, where we live, it's hit-and-miss...sometimes we get cell reception, and other times not. (DH has one for if he's on the road for work) Our neighbors often go outside in front or backyards to talk to people!

I have had one of those "dial-around" for many years (about 10 years now), and YES, you DO need to watch them carefully also. I've had charges that don't belong to me. I've also had my "service plan" switched by THEM, and don't find out until I get my bill. Then I need to call them to get back on original plan!

That's how I found this $2.00" LONG DISTANCE charge...prior statement I had a LD chg that wasn't mine. I called and was supposed to get credit for it. I was looking for the LD chgs on THIS statement, and there was NOTHING for the "dial-around" - not even the name of the company showing $0.00 or a credit or anything at all! It's ALWAYS been on everystatement - not this one! So, I was wondering then - where are the LD phone calls?

Even with the "dial-around", I had sometimes it would not work, so I had to use Verizon to schedule a Doc Appt or something.

I have it figured out tho...Either I will make a point to call my ex-hubby at least once a month, or have my son call his Dad once a month (TIMED, of course!). If I must PAY for it, I might as well use it!

Well, back to work for me! Thx all for putting up with my rant!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2007 at 7:36PM
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Verizon tried to pull that carp on me many months ago - all of the sudden a long distance fee on my bill - and no notification. I called them up and they said, well this is what plan you agreed to when you signed up with us.

I said - I "signed up" with you 7 years ago, what do you mean? Oh, "yadda-yadda, yadda-yadda, back-pedal, back-pedal". I told them to credit the fee and turn off my long distance (off my landline).

I only keep the thieving bustards because you need a landline service to have DSL. Otherwise I use a pay-as-you-go cell service.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2007 at 7:45PM
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FYI, even without making LD calls, you get taxation on LD service. Therefore, we told the phone company to eliminate LD service (un-designating whichever one we had) and went to using phone cards. Phone cards need to be watched carefully because they can charge up a lot of the minutes you buy and be more costly than the advertised per-minute charge. Also, many cards have expiration dates.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2007 at 11:28AM
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We have LD through a separate company from our "landline co.). They don't charge you if you don't make LD calls, BUT, they will charge you if you get "paper bills", so we get ours over the internet. Company is Telrite.
Kathy G in MI

    Bookmark   May 19, 2007 at 12:37AM
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I don't have problem paying for services I USE. I DO have problem paying for services I do NOT use, OR, services "not rendered" - (a whole different story),

When we were moving into this house, I called to have phone service turned on. We finally got moved in, but no phone service! I kept calling, (from another phone), telling them I STILL don't have phone service. "THEY" kept telling me I DID! Well, I didn't.

"They" said they would send someone out (btwn 8am-5pm).
I was up early EVERY MORNING - sitting at dining table - waiting...all day long every day. Nobody ever showed. I kept calling - daily. They kept insisting I HAD phone service. I kept insisting I did NOT!

Then I got my phone bill! I blew my lid! I STILL had no phone service, and I'm getting billed for it?!!!

Took almost two months. Someone FINALLY showed up. He checked the lines, and guess what? There was no line connected to the house! Just about two minutes (literally) after the PHYSICAL phone tech told us the problem and said he connected a line to the house, the guy (whom I'd been speaking with that past couple weeks) who PROMISED someone would be out - about two days prior (which never happened) - called on MY phone to tell me the phone repair guy was running late!

Well, needless to say, I had a LOT of stuff to say to HIM! And (besides all the carp I told him), I told him that the guy is NOT running late, as he's standing right here next to me and just NOW got my phone connected - and he was "just now in process" of calling the company to report the "problem". (The repair guy was literally on his phone right beside me calling into office about it). I passed the phone on so the tech could talk to the dingbat on the other end.

I figured from beginning, that they are relying on a computer or something. The phone I wanted connected to begin with was an existing line to the house, and I KNEW it worked, 'cuz during escrow, we came to check some things out, and the previous owner rec'd a 'landline' phone call while we were there.

I DID get charges reversed for "non-service".

Now, this past week, DH called to have some "x-tra" services REMOVED from HIS phone service with this company (since he no longer has need for those), and they call back and say they can't...

AMAZING...they will bend over backwards to "sell" their services (yes, we STILL get junk from them every week), but they can't do a simple thing to "REMOVE" services.
DH "thought" he would just cancel ALL service and go with another company...the CABLE TV COMPANY I'VE BEEN FIGHTING FOR ALMOST THREE YEARS NOW!
Guess what? I blew it AGAIN! Told him he's crazy, and if he does THAT, I will certainly TOTALLY divorce him! LOLOL! I could NOT believe he even pondered that one - as I complain about it almost daily.

Whatever...If HE wants to deal with THAT headache, I told him "If you go 'there', DON'T complain to ME, as I'm totally against it!"

Funny thing is, all the phone company needs to do is send a truck out to switch 2 wires - and mission accomplished. But they don't want to do that.
I've decided I'm not going to mess with phone cards or get a cell phone. (Altho, I'm still wondering why the "dial-around" didn't show ANYTHING on this last bill...did I get dropped? I donno...)
I'm just going to make a point to call ex-hubby, or have son call every month on our landline LD. Which, BTW, I'm guessing it's time to call him this weekend! (Good thing we are still friends even tho divorced! haha)

    Bookmark   May 19, 2007 at 6:09AM
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I like Sunrocket ($199/yr unlimited calling in the US). No extra fees or taxes.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2007 at 3:08PM
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I don't see why a person would like to have a long distance plan on his/her phone, it's waaay too expensive, you get billed for almost anything and it's problematic as hell, i don't want to expend the rest of my studies calling to AT&T or Verizon or whatever.

I just get a clean phone card with pinless dialing, attach my cell phone and fixed number to that card, save the access number in my little sony phone and i'm done for the rest of time.

Whenever i need to call long distance i keep pressed 1 for a few seconds i get access to the calling card, it tells me how much money i have left and i dial my grandmas phone in Colombia, that's all...

If my balance is running out and i feel like buying, i get back to the webpage and refill for $5 or so and I never pay more than 4 cents per minute.

Here is a link that might be useful: check the rechargeable phone cards

    Bookmark   July 16, 2007 at 1:48PM
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