What The Heck Is The "DC Cellular Surcharge Residential" Fee?

Kimberly writes:

My concern is over another fee that I get nailed with every month that I had never noticed… Not only do I have to pay a federal universal service charge, but the District of Columbia, where I live (obvs), charges me another time – to the tune of $8.90 a month. That seems exorbitant and arbitrary! Not a good combo! What the hell is this and who do we complain to?

While perhaps exorbitant, the fee isn’t arbitrary….

Even though you might think otherwise by the way one is plastered to everyone’s ear there, the District of Columbia considers a cellphone a luxury. So, they assess a luxury tax on it, determined as being 11% of your bill, pre-taxes and fees. Contact the Mayor’s office and ask to be directed to those in charge of local taxes so you can file a complaint.

We were about to get down on Kimberly for not calling customer service herself but she may not have had much luck if she tried. When we called AT&T, they weren’t very helpful. What is this tax? “It’s a telcom tax…it was decided by the representatives of the District of Columbia. All the carriers in the area charge it.” What is the tax for, where does the money go? “It’s a tax…AT&T doesn’t charge any taxes unless the government makes it.” Gee, thanks. When we called Verizon, we just gave a DC zip code and our rep was able to run down all the extra wireless taxes for the area and come up with the answer. In this customer service scrimmage, Verizon wineth.atntbill.jpg