Collect Call Complaints

The predawn silence was shattered by the shrill sound of the phone ringing.�¯�¿�½ My heart was pounding so hard that it felt like it was doing a drum solo at a rock concert.

I grabbed the phone and my voice trembled as I asked, “Hello?”

I waited for what seemed hours-but was only seconds-before I heard my husband’s voice and I also heard an annoying voice that sounded like a computer.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ I kept saying my husband’s name but the computer kept talking.

Finally, I heard the words: To accept the call, press one.�¯�¿�½ My finger trembled as I pressed 1.

My husband was OK, but his truck had died.�¯�¿�½ I was relieved, until I received my phone bill.

The simple 4-minute collect call cost us in total, $10.52.

I called my local phone company and they told me since they were not the carrier for the pay phone used there was nothing they could do about the charge.

However, if I wanted to try to get the carrier of the pay phone to rerate the charge I would need to call them.�¯�¿�½ She gave me the phone number of the company I needed to contact.

Before I made the call, I decided to do some research.

In my research, I found out that a consumer can ask for rate quotes from operators to avoid using pay phones that charge excessive fees for calls.

Armed with this info my next step was to call the number I received from my local phone company.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ When I dialed the number I was put on hold – I worried that I’d be charged for this call too – and waited.

When I spoke with one of the company’s operators, I was told that although the call was automated to find out the rates, I needed to let the recording finish the message to give me all the options:

1.�¯�¿�½ To accept
2.�¯�¿�½ To deny
3.�¯�¿�½ To hear the charges

After I hung up the phone I remembered that predawn morning and my heart pounding fear and I admit I didn’t wait to hear all of the options.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ I didn’t know that I would have been given a chance to hear the charges.

In my heart had I known to press #3 and heard the cost, I’m sure I would have accepted the call anyway.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ I believe most people would accept a collect call from a loved one, despite the cost.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ But, consumers need to know that have the option to find out the cost, before they do accept a collect call.

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