Hotels' Holdup: Phone Fees

from the extortion-for-travelers dept

Like most mobile phone users, the idea of using the room phone at a hotel just doesn’t make sense any more. However, as more people are doing so, it sounds like hotels are trying to compensate by pushing up the in-room phone prices even higher – forcing those who don’t have mobile phones to pay insane rates for phone calls. SF Gate took a look at the phone call rate card in several San Francisco hotels, and found that you’re better off not communicating at all. As an example, they listed a 10 minute phone call from one hotel – within the same area code – that would run $31.64. International calls are much worse. A six minute call to Tokyo: $77.71, which they compare to a basic AT&T rate, where the same call would be $0.96. The hotels claim that they need to earn money somehow, but they’re basically encouraging people to not use their phones at all. I guess, if they can find one or two suckers willing to pay $100 for a simple phone call, then they come out even, but it’s only going to make most people go in search of more reasonable rates – or alternatives like mobile phones. For international travelers, it’s probably cheaper to simply rent a local mobile phone than to pay such rates.

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Comments on “Hotels' Holdup: Phone Fees”

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anonymous wimp says:

Re: Mobile phones cannot make international calls

You can make international calls with cingular and Verizon. I believe the other ones will let you do it too. With verizon, you have to call them and ask them to activate international calls (activation process is free). I believe this is to alleviate liability on verizon’s part.

Cingular, you are able to make international calls as soon as you get the phone.

August Jackson (user link) says:

Re: Re: Mobile phones cannot make international calls

Ditto. I make international calls from my mobile all the time. If your wireless provider won’t activate that feature of your service, an international calling card with an in-country access number can open up international calling for you (and is likely cheaper than the sometimes pricey rates wireless carriers charge for direct-dial international calls).

Oliver Wendell Jones (profile) says:


I was in Vegas on business and ran into an issue with my credit card not having enough credit to cover the one week stay (turned out that the rental car place was holding 3x the final amount of the car rental as a reserve) and I had only enough credit to cover the first two nights.

The morning after check-in I tried to call the 1-800 number for my credit card company to figure out what was going on and every time I dialed, I got the front desk. I finally asked what was going on and they told me that I had to place a $20 deposit to use the phone. I told them that if I had the $20 I wouldn’t need to be making the phone call and that it was a toll-free call, but apparently they charge even for toll-free calls at that hotel.

I walked out of my room, walked about 65 feet to a payphone, picked it up and made a free long distance call to the 1-800 number and got it resolved. Very, very aggravating…

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