Consumer Advocate: Cell Phone Users Unaware Of Overcharging
Last Updated: 1735 days ago
Many cell phone users might not be getting the deals they think they are, according to the Utility Consumer Action Network.After reviewing 700 San Diego-area phone bills, UCAN said cell phone customers are paying as much as $3 per minute.The majority of landline long distance customers pay over 10 cents per minute, with 20 percent of people paying more than 50 cents per minute and 10 percent paying more than $1 per minute.Michael Shames of UCAN said, "The phone companies aren't really playing it straight with the customers. The regulators don't really know what's going on out there and the customers are clearly confused."Shames said phone companies have been systematically overcharging customers."They count on they base their rates on the expectation and the facts that customers don't use the full allocation of minutes that they're paying for," said Shames.Not all plans offer rollover minutes, meaning customers are still paying for those unused minutes."Wireless companies will rarely say, 'We'll switch you to pre-paid service. That might work better for you.' They won't do that. They say, 'We'll put you on a different amount of minutes, we'll change the minutes,' and then you run the risk of paying a rather hefty premium if you go over that allocation," said Shames.10News forwarded a copy of the study to AT&T and they responded in part: "While AT&T is still reviewing this report, our initial assessment is that it is significantly flawed and fails to recognize how consumers utilize today's technology ..."Shames urged consumers to pay close attention to any and all bills they receive, and to review their plans on a regular basis.