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. icon
    Lonny Paul (profile), 25 Aug 2006 @ 9:36pm

    Re: Are you kidding me?

    Okay, Sorry to post again, but I went back and was writing about this terrible thing being done to consumers, and I got quite empassioned, ending up writing an empassioned exposé of this whole BellSouth scandal, starting with looking at my phone bill.

    What I found is this.

    First, they charge us for our service. Then they still collect the USF, but thats only about 70¢. But, what's this $6.50 charge (per line of course, all charges are) for network access? Isn't that what I pay for to start with in getting a phone line?

    Okay, so they are getting 69.5¢ per line they don't deserve.

    According to their current financial report for the period ending June 31st, this monthly revenue would equal $13,413,500 a month (they have 19.3 million total access lines).

    If they are collecting this on Cingular bills for wireless service, thats 57.3 million subscribers. That would bring their monthly bounty to $53,237,000!! This is CRAZY!

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