BellSouth Adds New Fee To Pay For The Non-Fee They No Longer Need To Collect

from the please-explain-this-one dept

Remember Verizon's doublespeak efforts in explaining their new extra fee for DSL subscribers this week? This was their new "supplier surcharge," which is almost exactly the same as the now ended Universal Service Fee (USF). It turns out the fact that the amounts are nearly the same and one ends just as the other begins is a mere coincidence. BellSouth, on the other hand, couldn't even be bothered to pretend that any new fee is unrelated to the end of the USF. They've announced that they'll just keep on charging the exact same amount on everyone's bill and will pocket it. It won't even be called a "supplier surcharge" either. They're not even trying to hide it. BellSouth is calling it a "regulatory cost recovery fee," which is what they used to call it as well. Of course, there's no more regulation, so there's no more regulatory cost to recover. So, how does BellSouth explain that? Well, you see, it's "to offset costs incurred in complying with regulatory obligations and other expenses. The fee also recovers costs associated with additional systems necessitated by federal regulation, as well as costs associated with monitoring, participating in and complying with regulatory proceedings, and other network and servicing requirements." I've read that twenty times already, and I still don't know what they're saying, other than they don't really care, they just want to keep the money. The article also notes that when the telcos lobbied to be let out from having to pay into the USF system on DSL, part of the argument was that it would benefit consumers -- when the reality is that these two telcos have used it as an opportunity to shaft consumers. The article does point out that neither AT&T nor Qwest are continuing the fee, but that could always change once they see what their friends are doing.

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  1. identicon
    Oliver Wendell Jones, 24 Aug 2006 @ 6:16am

    Re: advertising

    You're right, and that's what is wrong with the whole system.

    I feel that anything that you're required to pay every month, whether it's sales tax, universal service fee, regulatory recovery fee, etc., should all be included in advertised cost of the product being sold. I recently moved to Iowa and my home phone service is supposed to be $29.95 per month for local calls only - no long distance, no special features, just a phone number that works. My monthly bill is over $39 each month because of tacked-on fees and taxes that *have* to be paid, but they're not included in the advertised price.

    I called up the local cable company which offers their own VoIP offering for $29.95 per month which includes every possible calling feature *and* unlimited long distance and I asked how much it would be each month with all fees and taxes applied - $31.75 is what I was told which includes the local sales tax. They're going to switch me over on August 31, we'll see what happens...

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