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

Re: Payphone Surcharges (was: Unanswered Cellphones)

John Levine (
29 Dec 2005 21:07:09 -0000

> If I call an 800 (or 888?) number from a coin-operated payphone (e.g.,
> in an airport concourse), does the owner or operator of that 800
> number get charged 30 cents for each time I call (and they answer)?

Yes indeed.

> More specifically, does this apply to *all and every* 800 number
> owner? Or do some 800 number owners negotiate special (that is, much
> cheaper) deals?

It's billed through the carrier that provides the 800 number, so I
would be rather surprised. I suppose the payphone owner could rebate
part of the 30 cents to 800 number owners they like, but I don't know
why they would.

> And do some 800 number owners -- scumbag types, maybe -- just not pay
> these charges? And if so, do they perhaps get away with not paying?

Unlikely. It's part of the phone bill. I have a bunch of 800 numbers
on my ECG bill, and when someone calls from a payphone, the call costs
55 cents more than it would otherwise and there's an "a" next to the
line on the bill. I suppose there could be IXCs who don't pay their
payphone charges at all, but that would affect all of the company's


John R. Levine, IECC, POB 727, Trumansburg NY 14886 +1 607 330 5711, Mayor,,
Member, Provisional board, Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial E-mail

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Wait a minute ... either an 800 call is
a 'free call' to the caller or it is a chargeable call to the
caller. One or the other. If it costs me 35 cents, then it should be
referred to as a 'premium charge' call rather than a 'toll free' call
shouldn't it? How does the recipient of the call know that the call
is originating from a COCOT style phone instead of a 'regular' line?
How does that fact (COCOT instead of regular) make any difference
where what the carriage costs telco? Or is that 35 cents only to
appease the COCOT owner? PAT]

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