Phone companies scamming millions from consumers

Hidden inside this CNN piece about cell phone company surcharges was a nano-expose of T-Mobile’s most recent quarter. Catherine Zeta Jones’ wily charms were not the only reason Germans were able to attract more customers in the last quarter and perform better than everyone else in the mobile phone business. Actually, the real reason why the “wireless company’s revenues were up $1 per customer compared with the previous quarter. That was because T-Mobile, for the first time, counted as revenues two fees it tacks onto customer bills. Without those surcharges, the average revenue per customer would have dropped. The surcharges certainly make T-Mobile more attractive to investors — they added $58 million in revenue during the quarter.” These are not government mandated taxes, but instead these are just a way phone company quietly add a buck-or-two to your bill, and try and recoup normal business expenses such as “property taxes and the cost of posting their rates on the Web.” Companies’ advertised rates don’t include extra fees. For a company like Verizon, this means about $173 million a year. Read the article for the complete lowdown.