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The Dirty, Little, Secret Lives of Phone Bills

"Phone Bills DO Lie"


"The Dirty Little Secret Lives of Phone Bills is based on real phone bills, and the scandals highlighted have been documented.


Excerpts from the Book


Harold is excited "It looks like customers are being overcharged hundreds of dollars done through unreadable phone bills. It says that the profits from the FCC Line Charge were never checked - even though the charge keeps increasing - and that the Universal Service Fund is a slush fund that is constantly growing. Apparently there's even a charge on the phone bill to fund the 'Spanish American War'…that was in 1898 for Pete's sake!" He is waiving his big arms for emphasis. "There are no regulators examining the entire bill for these profits!"

Valerie Summarizes the FCC Line Charge

"Whoa. So, let me get this straight." Valerie tries to get her mind around this one charge and all the bad variables. So, 1) it's not part of 'Basic' service, even though the NJ-Verizon phone bill says it is. 2) It's not a tax, even though it's in the 'Surcharges and Taxes' section of the NY Verizon bill. 3) It is unmarked revenue of billions of dollars that is 4) not mandated by the FCC. 5) It is not controlled by the state commission even though Verizon New Jersey said it is. 6) There's no cost analysis of why it should be on the bill, even though 7) it has continually increased over the last three years - 86% even though 8) Verizon stated publicly that local phone service hasn't increased in 11 years. And 9) to top it off, there was some study done in 1998 that it was already inflated 550% and yet the FCC now plans to raise it to $9.00 a month in May 2004."


Spanish American War Tax


"Spanish American War Tax? Wasn't that in..." Jonathan pauses. He had not read the report but Valerie and Harold just start laughing.

Tom fields this one. "1898. One hundred and six years ago, the US fought the Spanish American War and Congress added this luxury tax on the rich who were the only ones who could afford phone service, to pay for the war. Unfortunately, while this tax has come and gone a few times, since World War II, the tax has been applied to phone bills and to the FCC Line Charge as well. However, once again, this tax is only supposed to be for 'inter-state' services."


Astroturf Groups


"In Washington, D.C. and throughout the US there are hundreds of companies that have created thousands of fake consumer groups.

"You see, first they create a non-profit so that they can get tax benefits. Then they have fake reports with very dubious data, written by a fake group that makes sure that the company they really represent gets some political advancement. In the case of phone bills, the Bells get more money from the customers through less regulation. They hire experts to tout a 'fake' report's biased findings or come up with their own, hire a PR firm to get the word out about their wondrous findings and then ultimately buy TV and radio advertisements to make sure that their message is heard. Can't leave it all up to the PR flack now, can you?

"Next come the visits to the various politicians, and these visits are of course accompanied with bag loads of cash for these specific politicians' pet projects or....


What Consumers Know About Phone Bills --- Nothing.

. "Excuse me Miss. We're doing a survey of what people know about their phone bills. Can we ask you a few questions?"

And the questions come fast and furious.

"Do you know why there are different charges on your phone bill?" Bruce asks the middle-aged, heavyset woman carrying a few bags from Kmart.

"It's a scam. Everybody knows it."

"Do you get any Directory Assistance calls for free with local phone service in New York?" Valerie asks a well dressed, slender man with a snotty British accent.

"I believe I get two or three." (Wrong answer.)

"What is the FCC Line Charge?" Tom decides to try this one, and questions a punk-rocker with an old style Mohawk and more piercings than fingers.

"Is that on my cell bill dog? That stuff is wacko. I gots rid of the home-phone-thing. Ma Bell that bee-ach. What a rip-off."

"Finish this sentence. The phone bill is so complicated that..." The Korean Grocer, who is on his lunch-break stroll, answers in a thick accent. "It like learning Chinese." He laughs while adjusting his glasses and pushing back the remaining hairs on his head.

Buy it Today

"The Most Controversial Expose On Phone Charges You Will Ever Read!

This fact-based novel is being being offered as an 'e-book', Price NOW ONLY $15. Pages-167, 8/12by 11 format, PDF format The proceeds fundTeletruth.

Orders are being handled through Pay Pal, including major credit cards. All proceeds help fund Teletruth.

What's In this Novel ---Topics Covered

  • How to Read Your Phone Bill.
  • How to File a Complaint
  • Are You Being Slammed, Crammed?
  • Different Ways Your Being Overcharged.
  • How to Select a Package
  • Local Vs Long Distance Call
  • Telephone Rental Scam
  • Phone Bill Account Summary
  • Basic Local Services
  • Unlisted Numbers
  • Truth-in-Billing
  • Surcharges and Taxes
  • FCC Line Charge
  • New Jersey Phone Bill - FCC Charge as Part of Basic Service.
  • Double, Triple, Quadruple Taxation
    New York City "Surcharges"
  • USF Applied to FCC Line Charge and Portability
  • Spanish American War Tax
  • Local Number Portability
  • More About the Universal Service Fund
  • E911
  • Optional Services
  • Inside Wire Maintenance
  • A Non-Basic Charge From NJ Bills
  • Voicemail
  • Idiot Items
  • New York Phone Bill with Touchtone
  • Charge and Other Idiot Items
  • Optional "Denial" and "Blocking" Services with $0.00 Charge.
  • Local, Toll and Directory Calls
  • "411" Directory Assistance Calls
  • "411" Directory Assistance with Tax
  • All Other Charges
  • Pay Per Use
  • New York City Phone Bill Increases
  • AT&T was Broken Up 20 Years Ago.
  • The Creation of the Baby Bells
  • Baby Bell Incest
  • Local Phone Service in 1980
  • Local Phone Service Deregulation
  • How Rates Are Set
  • Public Utility Commissions
  • The FCC
  • Congress and Telecommunications
  • The Courts and Telecommunications
  • Rate-of-Return
  • Plead Poverty Regulation
  • Alternate Regulations: Price Caps and Incentive Regulation
  • Promise Them Anything Technological Future
  • Phase Two: Calling Features and ISDN
  • Astroturf Groups
  • Phase Three: The Information Superhighway Broadband Scams
  • Yellow Pages Are Extremely Profitable.
  • Phase Four: Competition Calamity
  • What is UNE-P?
  • The Telecom Act of 1996
  • Open the Networks: Bells Allowed Into Long Distance
  • The Triennial Review: Harm to Internet Providers and Competitors
  • Which Regulators Controls Which Phone Charges
  • VOIP Fight
  • Additional Taxes on the Verizon Freedom Package
  • The Story of Vaporware


Check Out the Dirty Little Secrets. Click To See An Enlargement of Why Each Charge is Bogus

Phone Bill Independence Report

Read the Report this Novel is Based on.

Over 90 Issues have been identified that need addressing.


About Packages

"As I just pointed out, this is where it gets really complicated. Customers have sticker shock when they order a local plus long distance package that is advertised for $59.95, like the Verizon Freedom package was selling for during 2003, and found an additional 36% in charges."

"In fact, according to the FCC's data on customer spending, the majority of customers do not spend enough money to need a package, when the taxes and surcharges are added to the total cost. We found that 15-25% of those on a package are paying more than if they ordered ala carte. And remember, some packages are for a year or there's a penalty if you cancel."

Valerie is now annoyed. "That's outrageous! You would think that the local phone company should be required to tell the customer which is the best plan - or maybe they don't need a plan - but today it's 'buyer beware'. You would also think that they would have some chart on a web page so that you could go over each charge to see if it's accurate and what they all mean. And you would think they'd be required to tell you the total price. What a scam."

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