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

Re: Payphone Surcharges (was: Unanswered Cellphones)
4 Jan 2006 06:51:07 -0800

Seth Breidbart wrote:

> 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.

That's a rather odd way of looking at the situation, don't you think?
Are you saying it is unusual for a person to call other family members
when someone gets sick? Are you saying it is unusual to call your
employer when you will be delayed reporting to work?

> So the problem was your own ignorance.

In most other retail services your attitude would grounds for
government action. Oh, my ground meat has 75% filler in it? Well,
you should've known about it, shouldn't you? Oh, my gasoline is 80
octaine? Well, you should've known about it, shouldn't you?

In other retail services the price is on the item or the shelf. Yet
in pay phones the price is nowhere to be found. Sorry, but I don't
buy your argument that the consumer should already know.

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

> Taking off the charge is fraud?

How many people just pay the bill? How many people give up after
being stonewalled? (I was stonewalled at first but kept persisting,
demanding to speak to higher levels of management.)

>> 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.

Two very different things. For one thing, the far higher Mike's Brand
price would show up immediately at the cash register, where a consumer
could refuse it right then and there. Oh, let's keep our order of
magnitude correct here -- Mike's would be $25.00 / pound.

>> 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.

It was indeed a _right_, codified by national policy by rates set by
the FCC and local PUCs. Rate averaging and universal service. Some
payphones were very costly, some were very profitable, but all
payphones in an area charged the exact same rate by law, inter-state
calls all paid the same rate. Further, rates were available in
advance from an easily reached operator always on duty.

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: I think Seth was making the unwarranted
assumption that everyone is as sophisticated on telecom topics as he
is. Despite all the years I have talked telecom, sadly most folks are
only (at best) slightly more knowlegeable about telephony than they
were pre-divestiture. PAT]

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