Gripe sent to FCC about cancellation fee
October 31, 2005
Hardly a day goes by that I don't find what seems to me to be a legitimate thing to gripe about. If my Dad were alive, he'd be chiding me about my wasted efforts in "fighting city hall." He was a lawyer. He knew 99% of the time, I didn't have a fighting chance.

But, but...griping still seems to relieve some of the pressure over often being life's underdog. My latest complaint is with the FCC and the charge imposed on cancellation of long distance service.

It started when I noticed a charge on my SBC monthly statement. $2.25 appeared barely a one minute FAX call that a staffer had made. It was the first time that the phone had been used for long distance in quite some time. Afterall, when one wants to make a call, whether to here or to there, one picks up a cell phone with a generous calling plan.

Well, Marlene, the SBC rep to whom I spoke, had to admit that the company didn't clearly notify its customers that, effective August 2005, it was imposing a monthly fee on its Just Call plan. I must admit that I hadn't been calling to get the fee removed, which she did, but simply to cancel the long distance service altogether.

She then made it clear that even if I cancelled my phone service altogether...yes, I mouthed on to suggest that...that I would still have to pay the fee for the long distance cancellation. And why would I have to do that? Because it was an FCC rule.

After carefully placing the phone on the receiver,...yes, my irritation level had diminished somewhat...I opened up my email and dashed off a note to the FCC. How could they, I asked, penalize customers who cancelled plans whose rules had become unacceptable? Charging a fee, I said, for those people who switched from one long distance plan to another to take advantage of introductory rates was one thing, but.....

According to a new Center for Public Integrity analysis reported by John Dunbar, project manager for Well Connected, "telecommunications companies spent $60.3 million on political contributions over 6 years and a minimum of $83.4 million on lobbying over two years in an attempt to curry favor with elected officials in the states." And which company is on the top of the list of both lobbyists and contributors but SBC.

Yeah, right, Dad, who can compete with that? ...But I feel like getting it off my chest anyway.

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