TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Payphone Surcharges (was: Unanswered Cellphones)

Re: Payphone Surcharges (was: Unanswered Cellphones)

DevilsPGD (
Tue, 27 Dec 2005 23:05:05 -0700

In message <> Anthony Bellanga
< wrote:

> PAT: Please suppress my email address! THNX!

> DevilsPGD <> wrote:

>> Anthony Bellanga wrote:

>>> And using a calling card from a payphone can be significant these
>>> days since the payphone owner can now "legally" extort huge charges
>>> from the long distance carrier or card provider, who will then extort
>>> those surcharges from us.

>> No extortion involved. If someone held a gun to your head or
>> otherwise forced you to use the payphone, it would be extortion.
>> Since you choose to use a payphone, you choose to absorb that cost.
>> A cost, which is regulated, and which helps telcos continue to run pay
>> phones at all, since they're not generally considered profitable
>> anymore, at least around here.

> It IS extortion at the rates they charge. While I have a cellphone,
> not everyone has one, and payphones with calling cards are still the
> way they need to place calls while not at home.

Extortion is a criminal offense, which occurs when a person obtains
money, behaviour, or other goods and/or services from another by
wrongfully threatening or inflicting harm to this person, reputation,
or property.

Unless the owner of the payphone is threatening or inflicting harm
upon you causing you to make a call, no extortion has been committed.
Feel free to contact your AG or a local ADA and see if you can get
extortion charges filed against a payphone operator or owner, if you
want confirmation.

> The surcharge rates are *NOT* regulated! The FCC/etc. have "allowed"
> the payphone owners to charge these surcharges, LONG AFTER the private
> payphone owners first became involved in the payphone game. But the
> rates themselves, while "recommended" by the FCC/etc., are NOT
> regulated! The amounts that the payphone owners charge back to the
> Long Distance carriers who then pass back to the card-holder is *PURE
> GRAVY* for both, since the Long Distance and Card companies are most
> likely adding even more profit for themselves.

The rate the payphone operator charges IS regulated, the rate your
calling card charges you is not.

If you're paying too much, get a better calling card -- There are tons
of options.

> Payphone service used to be a good convenient public service when
> telco really did own the phones. But when the non-telco owners came
> in, like a cancer, payphone service went to hell, with the telcos
> finally pulling out of the game completely in many places. I'll just
> use my cellphone whenever I'm not able to use my home phone, but I do
> feel for those who don't have cellphones and have to use remaining
> sleazy (non-telco) payphones.

Not really -- Private non-telco payphones are still regulated. Things
"went to hell" when payphones ceased being profitable.

Making a payphone call is not a right. Your "need" to make a call
does not give you the right to do so at a rate of your choosing.

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