5 Scammy Calling Card Fees

Some calling cards have all sorts of charges hidden in the fine print that like to play PacMan with your minutes. BusinessWeek has five to watch out for and what they really mean:

Connection Fee: Charged when call begins.

Maintenance Fee: Can be charged at the end of a call, or every week, or every month…

Communication Fee: A charge when the call is over.

Disconnection Fee: Yet another penalty for ending your call.

Long-Talking Fee: A fee for talking for more than 20 minutes.

Talk Isn’t So Cheap on a Phone Card [BusinessWeek] (Thanks to FMF!)
(Photo: NITEL)


Edit Your Comment

  1. CumaeanSibyl says:

    That ought to be “fees” in the headline, not “fess.” I’m trying to generate some kind of “‘fess up” pun, but it’s just not coming…

  2. Murph1908 says:

    I fell prey to this BS when I was newly out of college. I didn’t have a cell phone yet, and was doing a bit of driving around the Midwest on interviews and family visits. I bought a pre-paid card to use to call home and check the answering machine (yes, the answering machine) for calls from prospective employers. The connection fees chewed that card up like candy, especially since most of my calls were 1 minute long simply to check messages.

    I have only bought one prepaid card since that time, and that was when the wife and I went to Europe. I read all the fine print on my choices, and found one that fit our needs.

  3. chalicechick says:

    I was trying to think of Davy Crockett-esque Fess Parker puns, but that wasn’t coming either. Must be Monday.

  4. raybury says:

    Speaking of cards, my prepaid phone from Cingular has a shiny new fee that probably comes with being part of “the new AT&T”:

    “E911 Monthly Tax”

    Look, it’s only 75 cents, and I support the E911 concept, but I sure did like the idea that prepaid phone balances were only affected by actual usage.

  5. iMike says:

    “Long talking fee?” *puzzled*

  6. celyn says:

    Onesuite. Know it. Love it. 2.5 cents a minute and no fees (except when you call out from a pay phone, but that’s the phone company, not Onesuite doing that)

  7. Trai_Dep says:

    They missed the “Fee fee”. Amateurs.

  8. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    I really don’t understand the communication fee. I mean, the whole point of what you are doing is communicating. That is like paying for a toll road, and getting an extra fee on top of that.

    “I just paid a toll to us this road, why do you want more money?”
    “That was a toll to use the road, this fee is the ‘traveling fee’ for actually moving along the road.”

  9. sncreducer says:

    My god, the typos (and the attendant failure to fix them, even after readers point them out) are getting embarrassing around here. Gawker needs copyeditors.

  10. forever_knight says:

    @celyn: for the more technically inclined, pre-paid voip providers charge per minute rates of about ~1.3 cents a minute.

  11. wobudong says:

    What’s wrong with ‘Fess?”
    Let’s be broadminded.

  12. bonzombiekitty says:

    @raybury: You can, in part, blame my company for that one. We provide the E911 location services for cingular/at&t as well as other cell phone companies. We push for getting the cell phone companies abiding by the E911 guidelines, which in the end makes them get the tax. :p

  13. beyond says:

    I’m waiting for the “Fee Calculation Recovery Fee”.

  14. TechnoDestructo says:

    I’ve gotten so fed up with this shit. Occasionally I’ll find a good calling card (for calling Korea, Japan, and China), get it a couple times, and be happy, till they change something, they stop offering that card, or I can’t find it again, and I try another only to find that I end up getting about 40 minutes for 10 bucks after fees from 3 or 4 calls eat up all my time.

    Fuck it. It’s less trouble and often cheaper to direct dial.

  15. Michael Ray says:

    Check out Onesuite.com online prepaid calling card. No hidden charges nor extra fees. The only time you’ll have to pay more besides the advertised rates is when you use a public telephone which is 55 cents per call and goes to the public phone company.