Rant - Phone company misc. charges and taxes?
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    Rant - Phone company misc. charges and taxes?

    I take care of my retired mother's bills and she still has a basic wired phone. Each month when I look at the bill I just shake my head and think that these guys can basically put whatever they want on the bill and no one is going to question it - it's like a license to steal.

    The basic phone service is $35.50 and she pays [GASP] $20 extra for unlimited long distance.

    After that, they roll up their sleeves and get busy with Taxes, Fees and Surcharges....

    Non-Telecom Services Surcharge
    Subscriber Line & Access Recovery Charge
    Long Distance Line Charge
    Package Federal Excise Tax
    Package PA Sales Tax
    Additional Federal Excise Tax
    Additional Federal Universal Services Fund Surcharge
    Additional PA Sales Tax
    Voice Federal Property Tax Recovery Fee
    Voice Federal Regulatory Recovery Fee
    Voice Federal Universal Service Fund Surcharge
    Voice PA Interstate Gross Receipts Tax
    Voice PA Interstate Gross Receipts Tax (yes, it's listed twice with different amounts)
    Voice PA Sales Tax
    Voice PA State 911 Tax
    Voice PA State Surcharge Tax

    All to the tune of an additional $23.13 of taxes and surcharges. Wow...
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    That is why I went to cell service. We did keep our landline but converted that over to a VOIP service that I think I pay $12/year for. I never answer that phone though.

    There are cell options out there that are flat rates. I know for many years we used Google Fi for our cell service it was $20/mo for the phone and $10/ per GB of data I think. I has been a while. We are now over on Verizon which is $$$ but we get better coverage. There are other pre-paid phone options out there but I also know that not everyone is willing to or able to convert to a cell phone. More so with the older generation. Smartphones are more than they need or difficult to learn but there are still flip phone options. Then you get into the game of hearing aid compatibility and such. VOIP is an option but then that requires internet service which they may not have.
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    sennister's Avatar
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    I have no experience with these but I wonder if something like this would give the landline experience to a basic cell phone on a pre-paid plan?

    The phone would need bluetooth.

    https://www.vtechphones.com/design-t...onnect-to-cell


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    On first glance the first three are the only ones that appear to be fees for the phone co, any fit the category of “whatever they want” additional fees. The remainder *appear* to be taxed and surcharges that are only collected be the phone co and then passed on to various Local, State and Fed government agencies.

    Of the pure Phone co fees, those usually must be approved by an Utilites Comission at the State level and can’t just be arbitrarily set, there must be expense and cost documentation submitted and approved by the Authority.

    On the tax and fee side a lot of our local “taxes” and fees aside from a couple federal and state base items are voted on and approved for system improvements or things like 911 upgrades and services-I wonder how many on your list are compulsory and how many were “approved” via a public vote?

    All of the above said, that list does seem, and the amount appears quite high from my experience-however not unexpected from a tax, fee and law heavy area like PA
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    My in-laws had the same type phone. They would buy those stupid prepaid long distance cards instead of paying for the long distance on their phone bill.

    A couple years ago I bought them a Chromebook and instructed them to call the phone company to get internet access (DSL). Low and behold here they were on an old antiquated phone plan than no longer actually exists. They gave them a package deal for their phone and internet which included long distance with a total bill that was less than they were paying for the phone service less the long distance.

    Time to make a phone call to them. Just tell them you want to cancel the phone service and suddenly some much better deals with be presented.

    Since I have no cell service where I live I went with VoIP many years ago because of this same thing. I now prepay for 2 years and pay $7.71 per month for unlimited everything. If your mother has cable for TV or internet you can easily use VoIP phone. It is simply a router that they supply you - hook it up, plug in your phone, and done.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sennister View Post
    I have no experience with these but I wonder if something like this would give the landline experience to a basic cell phone on a pre-paid plan?

    The phone would need bluetooth.
    I did a similar thing for my dad's medic-alert last year. Actual alert was land/voip-based unit, but I put in a cell-to-phone via bluetooth adapter and it worked great. When he moved to the nursing home, got a cell-to-phone bluetooth adapter so he could use a trim-line phone that was larger and more familiar than the flip. Also worked fine, but he couldn't dial that either, so retuned the unit.

    Medicaid/low-income folks can get a free phone line...
    Last edited by dianedebuda; 07-08-2019 at 01:03 PM.

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    The phone companies are true experts at squeezing the customer. We still have a land line, but we dumped long distance years ago. If we need to call long distance we do it on our cell phone. I don't like to give out my cell number to anyone but family members. Each family member has a special ring tone. I don't answer the cell phone other wise. Everyone else can call the land line and or leave a message on the machine.
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    I bought a "Straight Talk Wireless Home Phone" for my Mom to use when Dad was in the hospital. Dad had a cell phone, but Mom couldn't use it.

    This setup is basically a cell phone, but you plug a landline phone set into it. Unlike VOIP, it doesn't require internet access, but you do need a good cell signal. It was $15/month and worked well.

    I also bought Mom a big tabletop phone with big buttons. It also included big buttons that I pre-programmed with all of us kids' phone numbers. I even color coded the presets to make it easier for her. Given her dementia issues when I did this for her, it worked pretty well.


    ==================

    I don't miss "traditional phone service" bills a bit!! I switched to Vonage in 2004/5. Before that, I was paying about $300/month for two lines (one for fax - remember those? ), DSL internet and NO LONG DISTANCE. I switched to the cable company for internet (about $49/month) and Vonage for the phone (about $14/month back then) and dropped the fax line. Recently I dropped Vonage and switched to OOMA. Better quality and lower price.

    One thing I do miss about talking on copper is the instantaneous aspect of it. Now with VOIP and cell, there is a slight delay in actually transmitting voice, so I find myself interrupting someone that I thought was done talking and vice versa. If you don't understand what I'm talking about, take your VOIP phone and call your cell phone. Talk into one and listen in the other and you'll hear the "delay". You didn't have that on copper.
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    They have you over a barrel and they know it.

    I had a land line that went dead for a while. We never really used it so we didn't notice... until the police showed up at our door saying someone had called 911 from that number. We called and got the earliest service appointment several days away. The police showed up a few more times, each time we had to explain that we were waiting for the phone company to come and fix it. They were not amused.

    The technician came and fixed it. The problem wasn't even at our house in our wiring or anything, he drove off and came back later saying he had found the problem and fixed it.

    Fast forward a couple of weeks - got a phone bill with like 20 calls to information DURING THE TIME THE PHONE WAS DEAD!!! The phone company (Century Link for anyone that wants to avoid them ) wouldn't back down. Even though they had a record of the technician coming out and fixing a dead line.

    It wasn't much money, but it was the principle of the thing. I didn't want to mess up my credit, so I paid it and I dropped them like a hot potato. They are added to my "I'll NEVER do business with that company again!" list.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mark02tj View Post
    I bought a "Straight Talk Wireless Home Phone" for my Mom to use when Dad was in the hospital. Dad had a cell phone, but Mom couldn't use it.

    This setup is basically a cell phone, but you plug a landline phone set into it. Unlike VOIP, it doesn't require internet access, but you do need a good cell signal. It was $15/month and worked well.

    I also bought Mom a big tabletop phone with big buttons. It also included big buttons that I pre-programmed with all of us kids' phone numbers. I even color coded the presets to make it easier for her. Given her dementia issues when I did this for her, it worked pretty well.


    ==================

    I don't miss "traditional phone service" bills a bit!! I switched to Vonage in 2004/5. Before that, I was paying about $300/month for two lines (one for fax - remember those? ), DSL internet and NO LONG DISTANCE. I switched to the cable company for internet (about $49/month) and Vonage for the phone (about $14/month back then) and dropped the fax line. Recently I dropped Vonage and switched to OOMA. Better quality and lower price.

    One thing I do miss about talking on copper is the instantaneous aspect of it. Now with VOIP and cell, there is a slight delay in actually transmitting voice, so I find myself interrupting someone that I thought was done talking and vice versa. If you don't understand what I'm talking about, take your VOIP phone and call your cell phone. Talk into one and listen in the other and you'll hear the "delay". You didn't have that on copper.
    And I thought it was just me - always interrupting people when talking on the phone......
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