Wednesday, November 17, 2004

$0.45/Minute or A Public Service Announcement

My cell phone bill last month was $35. Same as the month before. And the month before that. For the last 2 years in fact, my phone bill has been $35/month. So you might imagine my surprise when I opened the envelope today and saw $157.

Apparently, I didn't use enough of my unlimited night/weekend minutes. Apparently, after you go over your regular limit (which I've never done before) you get charged $0.45 per minute for incoming and outgoing calls. $0.45 a minute for a local call. One incoming call alone cost me $27 - nearly the total of my normal bill.

It's such a fucking racket. First of all, it's my word against theirs that I didn't talk on the phone for 11 hours last month. And as for incoming calls -- which count against your minutes -- they don't list the originating number. You just gotta nod your head and smile.

In the end I've got no recourse. I pony up the money and I make a deal to keep this from happening again. Customer service was nice enough. But damn, I KNOW I wasn't on the phone that much. How can I prove it? I can't. Not unless I keep a ledger itemizing phone calls and nit-picking over every single stupid line item.

Watch your phone bills people. I don't like to be all Conspiracy this or that, but isn't it odd that this happened right after my very large phone company merged with another very large phone company? I suggested my theory to the customer service lady, but it only seemed to anger her. THEY must have been taping the call.

What do I care? It's only Christmas money. So what if I can't afford to buy little Johnny his heart medicine? He'll be fine unless he has to stand. Or walk. Or rise to a sitting position.

Well I'm off to reshape my tinfoil hat. It's lost its edge.

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