Saturday, February 02, 2008

A rant about usurious long-distance pricing

I realise complaining about extortionate phone company pricing is like complaining about the sun rising each day, but -- ARUGH. I just got bit by pricing that has me very cranky at Verizon.

So, David is from Australia. At home, we have Verizon's international calling plan, where we pay $3 or whatnot a month and get a flat rate to call Australia of 14-cents-a-minute or thereabouts. Calling his mum's cell is slightly more expensive, 33 cents or so. Fine.

For Christmas, we went home to my Dad's. Dad has your standard no-frills Verizon package. I suggested David call his family to say hi, and told Dad we'd reimburse the cost. I figured it would be more than our discounted rate, but didn't think much about what it would actually be.

Just got the bill. 28 minute call. $105.56.


Are they @^&%@^%@ kidding?

I am horked off, cranky as hell ... and realise I have no recourse. We made the call. I didn't ask about the rate. It is what it is. But RAR. Even more infuriatingly, there would have been no real way to find the rate in advance. I just spent half an hour banging on Verizon's website. If there's a way to find international calling costs, I can't excavate it. I eventually found a customer service number, and planned to call them and ask about the rate. Except they're closed weekends.

This sort of blatently abusive shit pisses me off. I am totally fine with paying a higher-per minute rate than I get under my discounted plan -- but I would like that rate to have some sane basis. It obviously does not cost Verzion $3 more per minute to provide me service. If I'd known that was the rate, I would have gone out and bought a damn prepaid card and saved $100 or so.

Grr. I guess there's nothing really I can do except remember from now on to never, ever, ever make an international call without a prepaid card, but does anyone know if there's a regulatory body I can at least send off a complaint at? BBB? FCC?

Sigh. I guess $100 is the price I pay to be reminded that phone companies are heinous bastions of usurious pricing that one must be ever-vigilant about.