TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: FCC to Cellcos: Clean up Your Bills and Invoices

Re: FCC to Cellcos: Clean up Your Bills and Invoices

Tony P. (
Sat, 12 Mar 2005 10:55:15 -0500

In article <>,

> Danny Burstein wrote:

>> "FCC Extends Truth-in-Billing Rules to Wireless Phones; Seeks
>> Comment on Additional Measures to Increase Ability of Consumers to
>> Make Informed Choices ...

> I wonder if this will make bills _harder_ to understand.

> As a result of all the "fair disclosure" laws, companies now send out
> whole books in fine print on their numerous policies. They're
> impossible for a lay person to understand, and they're constantly
> changing. Overloading someone with detail is an easy way to fraud
> someone.

> Years ago our electric bill was on a postcard. Name, address, KWH
> hours used, total cost. Now it's several pages of graphs and charts.
> Our phone bill used to be one small slip of paper -- fixed costs on one
> side, toll charges on the other. Now it's so thick it requires extra
> postage -- and I don't even have toll charges! (And it's on
> double-sided paper too!)

> I'm pretty sure it was the PUCs that ordered the breakouts of
> toll/non-toll and basic/non-basic data blocks. Further, all imposed
> charges, ie 911, FCC line, should be rolled up in service and
> equipment; all taxes rolled into one item just as the old days.

> Can anyone justify mailing out the Encyclopedia Britannica for a
> monthly utility bill?

There are certain details that shouldn't be rolled up under one fee. I
suspect that in the days of the Bell System the equipment rental
charges were actually subsidizing certain elements of service.

But you're right about the electric bills. I don't so much object to
the graphs but the increased fees ever since de-regulation took
place. You see, now we have a separate distribution and generation
charge. Theoretically you could choose the source for your
electricity but the cost differential is inconsequential for
residential users. Instead the de-regulation benefits business.

I don't for a moment think the Narragansett Electric was going to walk
away owning just the distribution network and not make people pay top
dollar for it. All this at the time that our electric system
infrastructure is crumbling.

There are echoes of Enron all over the place. Now you just have to dig
a bit deeper to find them.

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