Streams

New Yorkers Bilked By Long Distance Phone Cards: Study

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

New Yorkers who use prepaid calling cards often get fewer minutes on the phone than they expected, according to a new study by Consumer Reports. They can also be hit with unexplained fees.

Researchers purchased 130 cards in seven cities across the state, and found widespread problems. Three-quarters of the cards gave little or no information about rates.

For instance, some cards touted an attractive per-minute rate, but didn't inform the user that the rate only applied for the first phone call. Subsequent calls would be more expensive. Some even charged an unadvertised $1 "hang-up fee."

"Just about every card will say 'Rates and Fees subject to change without notice.' So, it's a lottery, and that's what it comes down to," said Bob Tiernan, the managing editor of Consumer Reports.

In 2010, the office of then-Attorney General Andrew Cuomo reached settlements with three calling card companies over deceptive marketing, primarily targeting Hispanic consumers.

STi Prepaid, Espana Networks, and Dollar Phone Corp. collectively paid $850,000 in penalties to the state. Part of the money was used to fund the Consumer Reports study.

In a statement, the office of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said, “We continue to monitor the prepaid calling card industry.”

Phone cards are regulated partly by the states, and partly by federal agencies including the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission.

Tags:

More in:

News, weather, Radiolab, Brian Lehrer and more.
Get the best of WNYC in your inbox, every morning.

Comments [1]

James Benson

My personal opinion is prepaid calling cards is always a good option over postpaid cards. You will be able to keep track on your monthly call expenses which is not there in postpaid cards. But whatever choice may be, proper knowledge is necessary. One should always go through all the conditions and call rates properly…
Anyways thanks a lot for sharing such a nice article…
<a href="http://www.aitelephone.com/about.html">International call</a>

Jun. 22 2012 04:16 AM

Leave a Comment

Register for your own account so you can vote on comments, save your favorites, and more. Learn more.
Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief.
Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. Names are displayed with all comments. We reserve the right to edit any comments posted on this site. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting. By leaving a comment, you agree to New York Public Radio's Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use.

Sponsored

Latest Newscast

 

 

Support

WNYC is supported by the Charles H. Revson Foundation: Because a great city needs an informed and engaged public

Feeds

Supported by