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

Re: Payphone Surcharges (was: Unanswered Cellphones)

Seth Breidbart (
Tue, 3 Jan 2006 20:51:16 +0000 (UTC)

In article <>,
<> wrote:

> DevilsPGD wrote:

>> Unless the owner of the payphone is threatening or inflicting harm
>> upon you causing you to make a call, no extortion has been committed.

> In terms of the letter of the law you are correct. But when someone
> is in a captive situation, such as being in a hospital and needing to
> call family (either as a patient or visitor) the person has no
> choices. In other words, when I had to take my mother to the
> emergency room, I had to notify both my employer and my sister of the
> situation.

It wasn't the owner of the payphone who forced you to make those
notifications, right? Whoever forced you to call your employer and
your sister is the one who extorted you.

> I was using a calling card and the pay phone used the long distance
> carrier I used. But I didn't know I _still_ had to dial a special 800
> number.

So the problem was your own ignorance.

> After complaining, they took off the $25/minute charges. That's
> fraud and deceptive business practice.

Taking off the charge is fraud?

> (BTW, there were no directions on my calling card number -- which
> was merely my phone number with a PIN and I've had it for many
> years.)

Are you sure you never got directions with it? Can you prove that?

> Do you think a supermarket could get away with advertising a big
> special but charging you outrageous prices because you didn't dial an
> 800 number first?

They could get away with advertising Joe's Brand Spaghetti at $0.10/lb
and charging you $4.95/lb for Mike's Brand Spaghetti.

>> 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.

> Interesting how you put it. Let's be clear about something. Until
> divesture, making a phone call was indeed a right under the philosophy
> of universal telephone service.

It was a _goal_, not a _right_. And even then, payphones weren't part
of it.


[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: It is impossible to prove something
did _not_ happen. PAT]

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