Bills DO Lie"
A MUST READ Why
is this report so important now? Other Related Stories.
||This report comes at a critical
time. We are calling for an Investigation of Every Tax and Surcharge
on the phone bill because many are unmarked revenues to the companies
and NO regulator has added everything up to date.
- State Battles to Raise Rates? Many states are fighting
phone-rate increases. This report says --- No regulator
has bothered to add up the current taxes and surcharges and other
fees that are revenues and profits.--- No rate increases are necessary!.
- Taxes on VOIP? ---Discussions abound pertaining to the
proposed taxation of new services such as VOIP. This Report
says --- Customers are already paying too much. No New Taxes
on New Services.
- Raise FCC Line Charge? The FCC is preparing to propose
raising the FCC Line Charge to $9.00. This report says ---
Where's the cost support? Every Customer should be outraged!
- TELRIC Increases?--- There are a myriad of issues surrounding
the costs to competitors to use the networks. This report says
--- The Bells are "cross-subsidizing" many expenses
that raise competitor rates.
- Truth-in-Billing? NASUCA, the consumer advocate
association has also shown there to be problems with long distance
and wireless charges as well. This report found 59 other Truth-in-Billing
violations in just two Verizon states.
- Truth in Billing? Commissioner Copps has proposed the
"Always On" campaign to address Truth-in-Billing and
other issues. --- As members of the FCC Consumer Advisory Committee,
Teletruth is calling for a complete investigation of the phone
bill and backing Commissioner Copp's Always On Campaign for customers.
- Phone Customers Being Harmed? This report says you're
being harmed in numerous ways and you should get the facts.
- Lawyers, Regulators, Accountants? We've unearthed years
worth of new cases and new ways of looking at the data.
Based on a two-year survey of Verizon local phone bills, this report
clearly indicates that before ANY new increases or taxes are applied
to any new service, regulators should be investigating what customers
are already paying.
Over 90 Problems Identified.
Highlights from the Report
- 59 "Truth-in-Billing" (TIB) violations including missing
information, charges that do not add up correctly, mislabeling,
etc. (TIB is a set of guidelines created by the FCC to ensure
that phone bills are readable.) Example? The word "surcharge(s)"
on the NY bill lacks any description of how the charges are applied.
- Taxes and surcharges on the NYC bill are 112% higher than the
'dial tone' charge.
- Many of the taxes and surcharges are unmarked revenue to the
phone companies, such as the FCC Line Charge, which does not go
to the FCC, (the common belief) but goes back to the local phone
- The FCC Line Charge went from $3.50 to $6.50 with no cost support.
In fact, based on cost studies, the FCC Line Charge should be
investigated and reduced 85%.
- Quintuple taxes applied -- The FCC Line Charge has Federal,
state and local, Universal Service Fund charges, and 'surcharges'
applied, adding 27% in NY, 18% in NJ and most of the US is about
- The Spanish American War Tax (Federal Excise Tax) was applied
to phone bills in 1898 to fund the war and was never finally removed.
- Because of deregulation, NO regulator examines the entire phone
bill for revenues or profits. Multiple jurisdictions have been
allowed to add charges.
- The Universal Service Fund (USF) is a multiple-fund creation
that is "out of control", with various claims of fraud,
lack of oversight, and lack of competitive bidding.
- The Universal Service "High-Cost" funds are being
given to Very Profitable rural and urban telcos regulated by "Price
Caps", that no longer examines profits.
- Packages --- an estimated 15-25% of the population are on the
wrong package which cost them more money. Most households do NOT
benefit from a package.
- The taxes and surcharges on Verizon packages adds 36% to the
total advertised price. (the price doesn't include the FCC Line
Charge, for example)
- Calling Features -- The cost of Call Waiting is less than a
penny yet the companies charge retail of $4.00--$5.30 a month
- "Idiot Items" appear on the new "easier-to-read"
phonebills, which are services that cost $0.00. An example is
the touchtone line item on NY bills. Touchtone was removed in
- Cross-subsidization? The 'Consumer Education" Inserts have
turned into what appears to be free advertising for Verizon's
other products, from DSL to wireless.
- Competitive ISPs are paying "broadband taxes" that
Verizon does not charge its own clients.
- Misleading statements to the press and public. Verizon NY and
NJ claims that they hadn't raised rates, but they never include
various items in this analysis, such as the FCC Line Charge. They
redefined the word "Basic Service".
||Buy it Today
Controversial Report On Phone Charges Ever Written!"
Phone Bill Independence
is being being offered as an 'e-book', Price
$50.00, 131 pages, 60 Exhibits, 8/12by11 format, PDF format The
proceeds fund Teletruth.
Orders are being handled through Pay Pal,
including major credit cards. All proceeds help fund Teletruth.
What's in the Report
Over 90 Issues have been identified that need
New York --April 21st, 2004- Teletruth, a national,
independent customer alliance and a member of the FCC Consumer Advisory
Committee, today announced the results of a two-year investigation
based on a survey of Verizon New York and New Jersey phone bills.
Titled "Phone Bill Independence", this new report outlines
the dismal state of phone bills in America and the Verizon territory.
The report is being accompanied by the release of "The Dirty,
Little Secret Lives of Phone Bills"; a fact-based novel/expose
based on the reports' finding.
phone bills get an failing grade," says Tom Allibone, Director
of Phone Bill Audits at Teletruth, and President of LTC Consulting.
"They are still a convoluted, unreadable collection of misnamed
charges and taxes, hidden phone company revenues, mistakes in tax
calculations, missing discounts, and quintuple taxation --- without
any proper oversight. Can you read the phone bill and answer basic
Accompanying the release of this Report is "The Dirty
Little Secret Lives Of Phone Bills" based on real phone
bills, and the scandals highlighted have been documented.
||Class Action Suit Settlement
Mistakes are very common. Our survey found multiple
mistakes on customer phonebills. Teletruth has helped to initiate
two class action suits based on the survey results. On Wednesday,
March 30th, 2004, the first case against Verizon was settled. Our
survey found that 40% of the small businesses under 5 lines in New
Jersey were missing their discounts. Our second case found that
at least 10% of small businesses were paying for non-existent 'special
circuits', such as an alarm circuit. To
read about the cases and the settlement see:
Teletruth's solution: Congress and the FCC should do an "End-Result
No regulator has ever examined all of the charges on the phone
bill collectively, and as Teletruth demonstrates, all of the various
charges, including taxes and surcharges, are not only revenue to
the phone company, but the total is "unfair and unreasonable".
Teletruth will also be filing a series of Complaints in both New
York and New Jersey, as well as the FCC over the excessive Truth-in-Billing
violations, which makes the phonebills even more unreadable.
to Get Involved?