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Lobbyist Money Help  

Legislation would make consumers aware of long distance charges before they dial

February 5, 2001
By: Erin Guyer
State Capital Bureau

Unexpected long distance telephone charges may surprise consumers every month when they get their bill...but consumers may be even more surprised to hear that telephone companies say there's little they can do to prevent surprise billing. Erin Guyer has more from the State Capitol.

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While consumers get wrapped up trying to understand long distance charges...State Representative Phil Smith from eastern Missouri wants consumers to get a fair warning about call fees. Smith is sponsoring legislation that would require telephone service providers to disclose the cost of a call before consumers dial. Consumer David Byram says he cancelled his long distance service after being charged over 6-dollars to place a one minute phone call. Byram says telephone companies should take a consumer friendly approach and make customers aware of charges upfront.

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Contents: Byram compares phone companies to discount chain stores and emphasizes how Walmart's customer friendly approach to retail has driven competitors out of business. Byram suggests phone companies should follow suit.

Lobbyists from AT&T and MCI Worldcom say that they cannot warn consumers about long distance charges, because they would be out of compliance with F-C-C regulations.

From Jefferson City...I'm Erin Guyer, KMOX News.