TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Young Cell Users Rack Up Debt, One Dime Message at a Time

Re: Young Cell Users Rack Up Debt, One Dime Message at a Time
12 Jan 2005 07:25:35 -0800

DevilsPGD wrote:

>> Apparently the bean counters saw a revenue angle and that is why
>> people like Mr. Albert are being held over a barrel.

> Held over a barrel? How is paying for services you use being "held
> over a barrel"?

Nowadays computers make it easy to have very complicated pricing
plans. Such plans are very hard for consumers to figure out,
understand, and most importantly, remember to apply as they go day to

This is done intentionally by business to drive up revenue as
customers get confused and go over limits that are not readilly

The customer was misled into thinking he had unlimited usage when in
fact he had measured usage. I doubt he had any easy way of checking

The fact is that everyday people have lives and don't have the time to
memorize all the rules of their credit cards, bank accounts, landline
phones, cable TV, and cellphones, etc. What makes it even worse is
that these rules constantly change -- even if you can read and
understand thoes little bookets, they'll be utterly obsolete in a few

The business world counts on consumers not being able to keep up. The
few customers who gripe will get a refund, but most will flow on
inertia and pay over month after month. Since all businesses do it,
nothing is gained by switching to another company.

As mentioned, powerful computers make it easy for businesses to have
an infinite variety of pricing plans and policies, and load the
customer down with fine print. (Despite my having a national
unlimited calling plan, my phone bill is weighted down every month
with 5-point sized disclaimers.)*

When my mother was retired, she had the time, patience, and motivation
to sit on the phone with customer service reps and get the facts for
services she used. She would save money. But being retired she had
time to do so.

The rest of us have jobs, kids to drive to soccer, houses to maintain,
and spouses with in-laws to visit. That doesn't leave much time to
fight with the cellphone company or credit card carrier. Indeed, as
time went on, my mother got tired of waiting on the phone and dealing
with the nonsense and went with inertia, too.

*Modern laser printers make it easy to print out all that stuff, and
change it frequently as marketing people so direct. In the old days,
the mainframe line printers were much less flexible and limited, with
message space limited to a single innocuous line: "Long Distance, the
next best thing to being there."

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