April 21, 2004

Phone Bill Scams

An organization called TeleTruth has some interesting things to say about your phone bill. First, there's this examination of a Verizon phone bill.

Then they issue this press release arguing that Verizon, SBC, BellSouth and Qwest all have major problems with their phone bills, and efforts by those companies and federal, state, and local governments to add new fees and taxes to bills is unnecessary if not illegal. Interesting reading.

I was amused by their argument that the "Federal Excise Tax" that one sees on one's phone bills is actually the 1898 Spanish American War Tax. Too bad they didn't provide the full text of that law.

All this reminds me of that wonderful surprise I got one day in 1998, back when I was running a small ecommerce startup in the Seattle area: a check arrived, unexpected and unannounced, from U.S. West, the phone company, for something like $1500. Turns out U.S. West had been ordered by a court to divvy up a massive fine to its Washington State business telephone customers, and my company's cut was $1500. Wow did that come in handy.

Posted by brian at April 21, 2004 11:06 AM

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