Pre-Paid Phone Cards
Almost any newsstand, post office, travel agency, retail store, grocery or convenience store has them - pre-paid phone cards. Pre-paid phone cards represent telephone time you buy in advance. You pay from $5 to $15 or more up-front for local or long-distance phone time; the amount of time you buy depends on the rate per minute you'rre charged.
A pre-paid card means convenience but common consumer complaints are:
- access numbers that don't work;
- issuers who go out of business;
- toll-free access numbers that are busy or simply don't work;
- rates that are higher than advertised;
- hidden charges; and
- poor quality connections.
Protect yourself by looking for the rate, disclosures about any charges, expiration dates, a toll-free customer service number, and that the card comes in a sealed envelope or has a sticker covering the PIN.
Source: Facts for Consumers: "Buying Time: The Facts About Pre-Paid Phone Cards," Federal Trade Commission, Bureau of Consumer Protection, Feb. 1997.
For more information: www.ftc.gov
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