Newspapers and TV stations reported the story, but in these days of overpacked schedules, the information escaped me. Why such a generous increase?
persuade phone companies to accept lower than maximum increases, I Omega Seamaster Golf Edition was told.
"This increase in basic rates alone will cost an estimated $150 million per year to the California consumer," Nusbaum said. "That is revenue to the company."
changes to service."
"I can't find any changes to your service," he said, after checking. "Let me credit your account."
Like many Californians, I recently experienced shock when I opened my telephone bill and found an increase in the amount due of almost $20.
Angry at the unnecessary overcharge, however small, I called the California Public Utilities Commission, the state agency that regulates privately owned telecommunications, to complain. Since AT serves about 8 million households in California, a charge of $1.56 per bill would result in revenue of nearly $13 million to the company. Who notices a charge of $1.56?
"They were explained to you in the fall," the agent said. On the bill, in small print.
It was not a mistake. AT had billed me a "rate change" fee for the privilege of paying them a higher rate. If I had not called, that Omega Speedmaster Professional Vs Coaxial
According to its Web site, the California Public Utilities Commission, made up of six people appointed by the governor for six year terms, "is responsible for assuring that customers have safe, reliable utility service at reasonable rates." It appears that "reasonable" is open to discussion.
Rates would have been even higher had it not been for efforts by the commission to Omega Watches Seamaster Professional
Even as the federal government in Washington tries to deal with the destructive fallout of shrinking regulation in the financial world, a similar battle in California telecommunications has yet to be waged.
Check your phone bill every month
Do not ignore your phone bill. Call the company for an explanation of charges you do not understand, however small. If not satisfied, call the commission and file a complaint. That makes it official, and wheels do turn. The process is easy much easier than reaching your phone company customer service.
She said she had found a similar charge on her bill and filed a complaint. "That's a problem. Starting in 2011 the companies may charge whatever they choose. The changes were implemented Jan. 1.
What about the higher rates?
A call could save California consumers millions of dollars and add much needed clout to statewide landline telephone users who see their bill increase regularly without understanding why.
The AT agent explained that my basic rates had increased starting in January. That, plus higher costs for individual calls, accounted for almost the entire increase except for a charge of $1.56 for "additions and Omega Watches Pictures
charge would have gone through, as it no doubt does on millions of Californians' phone bills.
"What changes?" I asked.
"Few consumers read their bills and question them," a woman with the commission said.
However, they need to use the power they have.
Unable to decipher the charges, I called AT customer service. So began a journey into the mist of so called telecommunications "consumer rights" in California. Lesson learned: Check your phone bill and report complaints. Nobody else will.
For 2009, AT raised its rates by "only" 23 percent, accounting for the extra $3.50 on my bill.
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