Why Does A 10-Second Collect Call Cost $37.66?

When a Michigan man’s traveling parents called him collect from a payphone a couple hours away, he expected to see a couple bucks on his next bill for the call he says was anywhere from 10 to 30 seconds in duration. But he definitely wasn’t expecting to be hit with a charge for $37.66.

So he called the company listed on his phone bill, and then was directed to a second company. He was initially offered a 30% discount on the bill. He refused, and a few calls later they were offering him 60% off. But he still feels that more than $15 is too much to pay for such a short call.

A rep for the company tells AnnArbor.com that payphone service providers have had to raise their rates over the last decade as more people use cellphones. The number of payphones operating in the U.S. dropped a reported 80% between 2000 and 2010.

“One collect call that’s accepted from that pay phone can be the difference of that pay phone being there next month or not,” explained the rep, who adds that another reason for high charges is they also have to pay the phone service provider, the billing company and the local carrier who slaps the charge on your bill.

The rep says his company often gives discounts to those who are shocked when they see how much that collect call costs, but that they will then likely add that number to a list of people blocked from receiving collect calls in the future.

Ten-second call racks up $37.66 charge on Ann Arbor man’s phone bill [AnnArbor.com]

Thanks to Thunder for the tip!