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Yesterday you read Jack's blog of Netflix's greed. Now, let's take a look at AT&T's latest contribution to the same topic.

I still have a land line phone, which may not be the case in the very near future. But, I noticed a new charge on my phone bill this past month, so I called Customer Service to get to the bottom of it.

I doubt this new charge is Calling Plan based because it is a total win, win for AT&T. It seems that new surcharge has been added to a service that previously has been free. What service might that be? The ability to have long distance service on your AT&T land line.

A new surcharge of $1.99 has been instituted and of course with this new charge, the government is going to tack on their fee or fees. So, this $1.99 charge gets boosted up to just under $5 by the time it's due to be paid.

And, if I understood correctly, this new surcharge covers the first $1.99 of any long distance charges that you do incur during the month. Woo hoo! A whole $1.99.

Now, if you see where this is leading please raise your hand. While (this introductory fee, my words, of) $1.99 doesn't seem like much to start, I bet it will continue to go higher and higher and soon won't count toward anything except removing more money from your wallet.

So, what if I don't want the ability to make long distance calls (anything over 15 miles away is considered long distance) on my land line phone plan? What then? Well Missy, it will cost you over $10.00 to remove the service.

Now, the ability to remove/restrict long distance service from a land line has always been an option, and yes at the above mentioned fee. But, if the service was previously fee-less (something AT&T loved to stress), as long as no long distance calls were made to incur long distance charges, why would millions of customers remove it and incur the removal fee?

Did you see the word millions in the last sentence? Hence, for a feature that AT&T previously loved stress to you as free and freely gave to you so that you might just make that long distance call to incur charges, you now are subject to their reverse (gotcha) generosity. Either way, pay up.

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  • “So, this $1.99 charge gets boosted up to just under $5 by the time it’s due to be paid.”

    I doubt it. Many government fees (like the FCC-mandated subscriber line charge) are fixed, not a percentage of the bill. The state of Michigan has a 6% sales tax, and there’s a federal excise tax of 3%, so the $1.99 becomes $2.17, not $5.

    Fortunately, telephone service is a competitive market; if you don’t like AT&T, just switch.

  • “I doubt it.”

    I’m sorry, Steven, refresh my memory. When was it that you were at my home reviewing my phone bill so that you could validly respond to the fees on it?