When does $14.95 really mean $16.42?
- From: slvrmn@xxxxxxxxx (Albert Silverman)
- Date: 23 Oct 2005 23:30:48 -0400
The answer to the Subject question is:
"When SBC advertises its SBCYahoo! DSL residential service".
In case you have missed it, SBC has been agressively advertising its
"promotional" SBCYahoo! DSL broadband service for $14.95 per month for an
agreed-upon time period of 12 months. Just today, in our local Sunday
newspaper (the San Diego Union-Tribune), there was a large, colorful
2-page insert containing a 3"x3 1/2" ad with large red letters (in an area
of 2 1/8" by 13/16", 3/16" wide) shouting from the rooftops the figure of
$14.95 per month. Then, in black fine print, 1" long with a 1/16" type
size, in the lower right-hand corner of the 3"x3 1/2" area, is the
statement "Other monthly charges apply." Perhaps one out of 100 readers of
this ad will notice this fine-print reference to "other charges."
If one is dedicated to tracking down exactly what is meant by these "other
charges," he/she can go to page 2 (the back side), where the bottom *five
and one-half inches* of the page is devoted to fine print, which no one
(or so hopes SBC) will ever bother to read. This section begins, in bold
fine print, with a couple of lines and then proceeds to the following
statement, for SBCYahoo! DSL subscribers:
"You will also be charged a monthly FUSF (Federal Universal Service
Fund) cost recovery fee to help cover charges from our data transport
supplier pursuant to state and federal telecom regulations. *This fee
is not a tax or government-required charge* (emphasis mine).
I then called the accompanying toll-free telephone number in the ad to
find out exactly what this so-called "recovery fee" is. I reached an SBC
droid who tried to convince me that this fee is a *tax*! When I pointed
out the section of fine-print that says that it is *not* a tax, the droid
gave up and asked me if I wanted to speak with a supervisor. I answered
"yes" and was quickly transferred to a supervisor, who confirmed that this
fee is not a tax, but rather that it is just another charge of $1.47 per
month which is tacked onto the *advertised* charge of $14.95 per month.
When I asked him why the *total* charge for this service, $16.42 per
month, is not stated in the big come-on ad, the so-called "supervisor" had
Of course not. This is simply a blatant and misleading advertisement, the
purpose of which is to draw attention to a service which really costs
*more* than is stated in this part of the ad. Furthermore, even when you
get to the fine print on the other side, there is still no mention of a
fixed charge of $1.47, which is simply levied by SBC (i.e., not a
governmental or regulatory charge).
In summary, the *advertisement* of this service at $14.95 per month is
*FRAUDULENT*. This is par for the course for SBC. They can't take one
simple step without scamming their customers or would-be customers.
Just be advised that your $14.95 per month DSL will *really* be $16.42 per
I fully expect that there will be follow-up posts to mine which state:
"I'm not concerned with an extra $1.47". This is of course *not* the point
at all. What *is* the point (for those who have trouble reading) is that
the TRUE PRICE SHOULD BE ADVERTISED. Sorry if this is too much for some of
you in this group to comprehend; but I have been here before, and I know
well what to expect.
Next step is a formal, written complaint (by USPS mail) to the cognizant
governmental authority/authorities (FCC and/or FTC and/or CA attorney
general and/or CA Public Utilities Commission) about this fraudulent
advertising. Scammer's paradise......
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