Check Your Next BellSouth Bill For An Embarrassment And Apology Fee

from the well,-look-at-that dept

With plenty of people (including the FCC) noticing that BellSouth was being particularly ridiculous in continuing to collect the USF fee despite it no longer being required, it appears BellSouth is finally backing down. They've admitted that they will stop collecting the "regulatory recovery fee". They'll also credit the people they already charged. They don't give a reason for this, so we'll just assume it was embarrassment... and expect to see an "embarrassment and apology fee" on the next bill.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Josh, Aug 25th, 2006 @ 3:55pm

    like taxes....once the goal is reached that the tax was raised to help achieve, the tax does not lower.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    BillDivX, Aug 25th, 2006 @ 4:06pm

    huh?

    wait...are you saying that a governement has ever been effective at achieving a goal that a tax was created for? Cause, wouldn't that, like tear a hole in the universe or something?

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    M, Aug 25th, 2006 @ 4:28pm

    Bellsouth FCC Fee

    How long back should they credit the customer?

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    rahrens, Aug 25th, 2006 @ 4:53pm

    Re: huh?

    Oh, sure, that happens. The income tax was instituted in, I think, 1914 to collect money for WWI. In spite of the fact that the TAX is still with us, the war it was started to fund has been over for almost 90 years.

    Can I get my money back?

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 25th, 2006 @ 6:23pm

    Re: Bellsouth FCC Fee

    "How long back should they credit the customer?"

    Back to the point where it was no longer required of them of course.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    dorpus, Aug 25th, 2006 @ 6:23pm

    The Racket

    My apartment complex forces bundling of Cable TV with Cable Modem. I looked at the BellSouth DSL alternative, but it wouldn't have saved much -- the phone lines here are owned by some funny phone company and demand a surcharge for using someone else. I could probably win a court case if I was willing to invest sufficient time in that direction, but I'm a PhD student, so I caved in.

    So I was bullied into buying a new TV set. I braved the orcs and goblins of wal-mart to buy a $125 21" TV and a $35 DVD player. Oh well, now I've joined the conformist hordes....

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 25th, 2006 @ 7:02pm

    Re: The Racket

    like you said, wouldnt that be called extortion? so file a class action lawsuit "on the behalf of your fellow apartment dwellers" - get even more money, and either buy a house or at least a 60'' plasma tv :)

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Sohrab, Aug 25th, 2006 @ 8:13pm

    wow...continuing to charge, despite it being cut a long time ago. These companies are such bastards

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    dorpus, Aug 25th, 2006 @ 8:44pm

    Re: Re: The Racket

    Yeah, it is extortion. And I'll live with it. Are there any lawyers willing to work on such small stuff? My experience says no.

    Home ownership, that American middle class obsession. It means getting entangled in even bigger rackets, via neighborhood "laws" that tell you what you must or must not plant in your yard, what kind of fence you have to have, what color your house has to be. Sure, you could challenge this stuff in court, though you'll have to first become the outcast of the community, where the town council will vote to have the town garbage dump placed next to your house, turn the house nextdoor into a halfway house for drug addicts. That's aside from extortionate fees paid to garbage companies run by the mayor's cousin, "mandatory" sewage fees, $5,000 property tax bills to pay for the local ghetto magnet school, psychotic neighbors who put bullet holes in your wall (but have no proof), "required" home insurance that doesn't pay for natural disasters common to the area, .....

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 25th, 2006 @ 9:03pm

    I believe there was also a car-related tax instituted during WWII, as a temporary war measure, that's still around.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Oliver Wendell Jones, Aug 25th, 2006 @ 9:05pm

    Re: The Racket

    So I was bullied into buying a new TV set. I braved the orcs and goblins of wal-mart to buy a $125 21" TV and a $35 DVD player. Oh well, now I've joined the conformist hordes....

    How exactly did the lock in to Cable TV and Cable Modem in your building bully you into buying a new TV? Did you feel that if you paid for cable TV that you had to watch TV and thus had to go and buy a television?

    And if you did feel that way, what exactly forced you to buy a DVD player while you were there - an Orc or a Goblin?

    In one posting you managed to strike out at a) your building management, b) BellSouth and c) Wal-Mart, but you didn't really add anything to the conversation (not that I really did either...)

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Scottux, Aug 25th, 2006 @ 9:12pm

    Costs

    What kind of excuse is that? "Oh, we used the money to cover costs for this and costs for that." That means "We were turning a profit and as long as no one knew, we were milking it for all it was worth."

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 25th, 2006 @ 9:15pm

    wait... so bellsouth is down, what about verizon? i just got an e-mail notice telling me i don't have to pay and extra 1$+ on my bill but that they're charging me an extra 1$+ on my bill... so wtf?

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Krum303, Aug 26th, 2006 @ 2:53am

    Re: Re: huh?

    The USF was actually started earlier than 1914. It was instituted on telegraph service to fund the war against Mexico. Once the war was over, the fee stayed and we've all lived with it since. The Feds stopped charging it in July so customers will get credited back by their providers atleast that far. The government has stated that if you'd like, you can go to irs.gov and find out how to claim the USF on your upcoming tax-return.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Jon, Aug 26th, 2006 @ 6:30am

    The Racket

    Dorpus, grow up and quit whininng! No one forces you to live in those kind of communities. If you want to be like the rest of the sheeple, then pay up [seems like that's what you're doing anyway]. If not, there are plenty of places you can live w/o that kind of hassle.

    I live 20 min from UF [Gainesville FL] -- closer in time than a lot of people that live in town. I'm the last house on a dead-end road. I'M the psychotic that shoots, but not at your walls--I have a 100 yd range in my front yard. MAC-10s and AKs welcome. My dogs run free, my kids grew up with "home" as a place to get away from things, and my house on 5 acres is assessed at $125 000. [When I had 20 acres classed as a tree farm, I paid my property tax with a $5 bill--and got change back.] So if you want a house and freedom, you can have it. You just have to give up living in the places you described!

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    dorpus, Aug 26th, 2006 @ 8:22am

    Re: The Racket

    So what you're saying is that you live in a neighborhood that tolerates shooting machine guns in front yards. That has a price also -- stray bullets, trailer parks, broken beer bottles littering streets, anyone? "Farms" are also vulnerable to eminent domain, in which the city/state will decide to build a highway or shopping center on top of your farm and pay you $5 for it. Or farmers may have to fill out extensive environmental impact assessment forms, be subject to inspections, or a lot of other nonsense.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    PopeRatzo, Aug 26th, 2006 @ 10:19am

    Remember this..

    Remember this story when you think about "net neutrality".

    Unless we protect internet users, it will be telcos like this that will decide how the internet works. Do you want that?

    Say "YES" to Net Neutrality, and "NO" to a "free market" approach that is anything but free, but favors the telcos instead.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    nyralotep, Aug 26th, 2006 @ 11:52am

    The USF has not been around since 1914. The USF (universal service fund) was started in 1996. Maybe you're thinking of the income tax.

    http://www.fcc.gov/wcb/universal_service/welcome.html

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    ehrichweiss, Aug 26th, 2006 @ 12:00pm

    Jesus H. Christ, Dorpus, can you find anything more to complain about that is 99% guaranteed NOT to ever affect your life? I mean you make this shit up and then expect that someone wants to listen to you whine? At least find a single topic and stick with it rather than bitch, whine and moan about stray bullets that probably will never go stray if the person using the gun is knowledgeable, beer bottles and cans that you don't even know if they are a problem there, eminent domain - as though the gubment only wants YOUR land... What's next? I don't wanna buy chewing gum because it'll make it easier for the asteroid that's gonna hit the earth in 140 years to adhere to our atmosphere?

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    SG, Aug 26th, 2006 @ 3:51pm

    Qwest sucks even more.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    trollificus, Aug 26th, 2006 @ 6:06pm

    jebus, dorpus...

    ...your "vision" of what the world outside university is like is pretty damn warped Where did you get that crap?

    From the internal evidence of your posts, your parents were horrible proto-yuppies who lived in some kind of covenant-governed gated community and who filled your childish head with fears of the big boogy government coming to take away your playstation via eminent domain.

    Nor did they deign to give you a very clear idea of what semi-rural living is like.

    Or you you are just an idiot, PhD or not.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    antidorpus, Aug 26th, 2006 @ 8:03pm

    RE: Dorpus

    OK Dorpus, I understand your situation.
    You're stuck in a shithole and you don't have the self-initiative to do something about it.
    Well, about the Cable TV and Internet bundle, you can't really do much about that, but you actually could file a class-action lawsuit against the company who's monopolizing your section of the city/town.
    My opinion?
    Get a lawyer, get a life, get a goddamn woman (because if you spend all your time on Techdirt bitching at the world, you must be single) and get off of other peoples' backs!
    After all, you're the one bitching at them, not the other way around.
    :-)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    dorpus, Aug 26th, 2006 @ 8:13pm

    Re: jebus, dorpus...

    I'm not laughing, because at least some of the things I've talked about have happened to the homes we lived in. The problems were clearly happening to other homeowners also, but in the American macho culture, nobody likes to admit their problems -- you only hear their endless boasts about how great their home is. Add to it the five years I put into Silicon Valley, where the middle aged workers were always boasting about their semi-rural homes in Livermore or Stockton or wherever -- ignoring their two-hour commutes, anyway. I've been to the bbqs on their wooden porches with a view of the landslide-prone hills towering above them, and the brushfire-prone grass below them. The wealthier ones had their homes on tops of hills, with a view of the smoggy landscape, and the annoying network of cul-de-sacs that take 40 minutes to the nearest supermarket. Homeowners are owned by their homes -- they lose flexibility in many ways, starting with the ability to quickly relocate to better jobs in other cities.

    I'll stick to apartments in mixed-use neighborhoods and endure the small rip-offs.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    dorpus, Aug 26th, 2006 @ 8:28pm

    Re: RE: Dorpus

    Yeah ok, I might have sounded like a whiner, since I was only talking about the problems. My new apartment is actually great otherwise -- it's the nicest I've ever lived in, by a wide margin. If I tried to get a place as nice in California, it would cost about 3 times what I pay here.

    fyi, I do have women in my life.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    charlie potatoes, Aug 26th, 2006 @ 9:31pm

    Re: jebus, dorpus...

    DEIGN ??? lmao... oooooookay

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 27th, 2006 @ 1:04am

    deign  /deɪn/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[deyn] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
    –verb (used without object)
    1. to think fit or in accordance with one's dignity; condescend: He would not deign to discuss the matter with us.
    –verb (used with object)
    2. to condescend to give or grant: He deigned no reply.
    3. Obsolete. to condescend to accept.
    [Origin: 1250–1300; ME deinen

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 27th, 2006 @ 1:59am

    Re: Bellsouth FCC Fee

    Actually it was started during the Civil War to help fund the war effort and was continued after the civil war to help with the recovery.

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    DreadedOne509, Aug 27th, 2006 @ 4:02am

    FCC Fee

    Actually it was started during the reign of Emperor Maximus Taxus during the height of the Holy Roman Empire in 1669 B.C. To help augment the ticket prices for the colliseum. Do you realize how damn expensive it is to bring in outside talent to fight the lions, tigers and bears?!?!?!?!

    Holy crap batman! I will gladly continue to pay this small fee in order that my fellow man may seek entertainment...

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    stfu, Aug 27th, 2006 @ 11:05pm

    Holy crap!

    Stop your frigging whining and find something useful to do with your time. Nobody cares about your problems (dorbus) or what the Roman Empire had in their circuis (DreadenOne509), or even changing the outcome of that bloody meteor (ehrichweiss).

    Get a life!

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    MadMex2K, Aug 27th, 2006 @ 11:39pm

    Midol, Anyone?

    I want the last 5 minutes back that I spent reading this thread of comments.
    Back on the subject...I just hope the refund applies to former customers as well.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    MadMex2K, Aug 27th, 2006 @ 11:47pm

    5 dollar coupons

    They will probably do like other big businesses and give you a five dollar coupon towards some other useless service they charge too much for. I think it was SW Bell that pulled that one in the past. It won't amount to much anyway.
    We will all 'take one for the team' on this one. lol

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    efergus3, Sep 3rd, 2006 @ 4:07am

    Joy

    My apologies - I live in Florida, you don't. I'm sorry for you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    JW, Dec 4th, 2006 @ 4:46am

    Re: Re: The Racket

    Ignorance shows through here.... MAc and AK is not the same as machine gun...

    There re many semi-automatic sporterized versions of these mechanisms...
    what you sre saying is that all cars are race cars because they both have piston engines

     

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  34.  
    identicon
    RTN, Feb 12th, 2007 @ 5:06pm

    Bellsouth Rips Customers Off

    Bellsouth is one of the most corrupt companies I've ever dealt with; every Bellsouth customer needs to scrutinize their bills every month!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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