Monday, October 26, 2009

The Number You Have Reached is No Longer Affordable

It's been a long time since I looked at anything on my telephone bill except the Total Amount Due by line. I gave up the long distance part of the service long ago, and we just use our cell phones for long distance so I no longer have to check those calls to make sure they are legit.

I don't know if I've ever had a long distance call charge that wasn't legit but I always checked anyway. My mother, on the hand, has charges monthly for calls she swears she didn't make. She calls the telephone company, and they credit her. I think it's a little unlikely she has that many bogus calls but if they want to take them off her bill, I don't care.

So with only unlimited local calling on our home phone ($16.26) and automated voice mail ($6.95) plus the Inside Wire Maintenance, whatever that is, ($6.99) my "voice services" total is $30.20.

So how come my Total Amount Due is $42.28?!

There's another section of the bill called Total Taxes, Fees & Other Verizon Charges which totals $12.08. That's a 40% tax! Where am I? Sweden?

Let's go over these taxes, fees & other Verizon charges, shall we?

Federal Excise Tax ($ .89) An excise tax is a type of tax charged on goods produced within the country. It's often levied on the producer who passes it onto the consumer. Okay got that.

Rhode Island State & Local Tax ($2.62) This year's budget in Rhode Island had a $65,000,000 shortfall. What else is there to say?

Federal Universal Service Fee ($ .81) As I said I'm only making local calls certainly not universal calls but whatever. It's less than a buck.

911 State/County Charges ($1.00) This is the only charge in the bunch I really understand and have no problem with. When we need to dial 911, we certainly expect someone to be there.

Dual Party Relay Charge ($ .09) What??! Can't you picture a bunch of ad exec types sitting around a table bouncing ideas off each other trying to come up with the most vague term imaginable for yet another fee to add to our telephone bills? I figure the guy who came up with this "fee" got a big bonus.

School and Library Fund ($ .26) I'm certainly in favor of funding our schools and libraries, and I pay my property taxes faithfully every quarter. In the 29 years as a homeowner, I have never missed a payment, never been late. Isn't that in there? Is it really necessary to sneak another tax into our phone bills?

There it is, $12.08 for an additional seven fees and taxes I don't understand nor do I expect anyone at Verizon could explain adequately. I'm thinking it's time to give up the land line.

And don't even get me started on my cell phone bill.

16 comments:

Tammy Howard said...

We're real close to giving up the land line, too. It's outrageous.

SparkleFarkle said...

After reading about your phone bill (It actually went quite well with my morning coffee!), I got to thinking, "Twelve extra bucks...twelve extra bucks... What could you be spending that on?" A matinee and a popcorn (a drink and candy, too, if you snuck them in via your purse)... a new paperback,possibly... three magazines you'd otherwise have to keep changing check-out lanes you were in, in order to read them their entirety... a box of wine...

I think I need more coffee. Or, maybe, a box of wine... ***pours*** Now what would we be spending that eight extra cents on?...

Vodka Logic said...

I gave up the land line when we all had cell phones and then my daughter went over our minutes for hundreds of dollars ATT kindly gave us a lot of credit and we upped the minutes. Then we got the land line back. It is part of the cable/internet bundle so not too expensive.

The cell phone bill don't even want to talk about lol

kaye said...

It is outrageous but it's still cheaper than a cell phone. And I'm home all the time so yes, I'm from the dinosaur age and still have a land line. It wasn't until two years a go that I let the kids talk me into a a cordless phone!

Just Breathe said...

They always get us !

Cairo Typ0 said...

I almost spit out my drink when i read that Sweden comment. LOL

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Hi Sandy. As full-time RVers of course we have had no option but the cell phone for years now. But I'd never go back to having a landline in addition. I can't imagine landline service lasting much longer actually. Our grandkids (20 somethings) will certainly never have one. One set of them just bought a house and it never even occured to them to have one put in.

Nothing like living through changing times is there?

thanks for visiting our little travel blog -- and I'm glad I found yours.

BONNIE K said...

Boy. When you analyze those charges, it makes you realize how totally ridiculous they are.

Badass Geek said...

Oh, the taxes on wireless bills are just insane. Incredible what these business can get away with, isn't it?

ds said...

That's an eye-opener, for sure. Thanks for stopping by my window; it's nice to "meet" you!

Bethany said...

Crazy, crazy! It's the same with my cell phone bill too...it drives me nutty!!

The Redhead Riter said...

Wow! Didn't anyone inform you of

HIGHWAY ROBBERY!

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

Okay, now I want to go pull my phone bill out. ;) Thanks for the visit today!

Brittany said...

Good grief.

Dylan said...

Sandy, I'm sorry to hear about your problems with the Verizon bill and I'm not trying to "get you started" regarding your cell bill, but I thought I'd add some admittedly unsolicited but friendly advice for effectively cutting your cellular costs. We tend to think of wireless costs as fixed, but you can tinker with your plan to optimize your features to best suit your usage and often save significant cash in the process. I know this because I work in the consumer advocacy division of the company Validas, where we electronically audit and subsequently reduce the average cell bill by 22 percent through our website, http://www.fixmycellbill.com (and I'll add that 22 percent equates to over $450 per year for the average user). Put simply, Validas guards against frivolous and unnecessary charges that inflate your cell bill more than it should be for your usage. You can find out for free if fixmycellbill.com can modify your plan to better suit your needs by going to the website.

For more info, check out Validas in the national news media, most recently on Fox News at http://www.myfoxtampabay.com/dpp/consumer/conlaw/lower_cell_phone_bills_072409 .

Good luck to everyone reading on cutting costs, especially in light of this unforgiving economy.

Dylan
Consumer Advocacy, fixmycellbill.com

Laoch of Chicago said...

Discouraging.

 

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