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June 15, 2009


Mark Bernay

Who pays $4.58 per minute? Anyone making a collect call from a payphone! Seriously, try this: go to a payphone that has a sticker on it giving a toll-free number for "cheaper" collect calls, or "save money" on collect calls. Call that number and navigate the menus to talk to a live operator about the rates for a collect call. I guarantee you that the rate will be at least $5 for the first minute, sometimes up to $10 or $20. How can they get away with this? Because they don't tell the person at the payphone the price unless they ask, and the recording that is presented to the called party, the one asking them to press #1 to accept the charges for the call, doesn't mention the rate.

Mark Bernay

I was waiting for a friend to pick me up yesterday at a Bay Area Rapid Transit station with several payphones inside the station, on government property. These had two stickers on them for discount collect calls. I tried the default carrier plus dialed the toll free numbers on these stickers and asked for the collect call rate from San Francisco to a New York number. It was from $23 to $27 for the first minute, and $1.29 for additional minutes.

I dialed 10101880 and asked about AT&T's rate for collect calls. I forget, but the automated rate was far lower, but still rediculous: around $5 - $6 for the first minute, and $1.29 for additional minutes.

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