"The Dirty Little Secret Lives of Phone Bills
is based on real phone bills, and the scandals highlighted have
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'
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!"
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."
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
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."
"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
Controversial Expose On Phone Charges You Will Ever Read!
novel is being being offered as an 'e-book', Price
NOW ONLY $15. Pages-167, 8/12by 11 format, PDF format The proceeds
Orders are being handled through Pay Pal, including major
credit cards. All proceeds help fund Teletruth.
What's In this Novel ---Topics
- 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
- 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
- Optional Services
- Inside Wire Maintenance
- A Non-Basic Charge From NJ Bills
- 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
- 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
"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 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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