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Can you spot the hidden fees in prepaid phone cards?

Date: 9/4/2009 3:29:50 AM

Calling out of the country can be costly. So how about 3, 5 or 7 cents a minute?

That's what is promised with some prepaid phone cards.

But, once you find out you're not getting what you paid for, the money is gone.

Take the case of Diamond phone cards.

For just a few bucks, the card says you can call Mexico for 400 minutes.

The Federal Trade Commission says you really only get 106 minutes.

They also say the company's 50 minute card to Honduras, gave buyers just 20 minutes.

They say Diamond's $2 and $5 dollar cards also included a maintenance fee of 79 cents taken out of the total.

The FTC says it's something disclosed in nearly illegible print on the bottom of the ad.

This year, the FTC sued other prepaid phone card distributors Alternatel, Voice Prepaid, Mystic Prepaid and Clifton Telecard Alliance for deceiving consumers.

Those companies settled lawsuits with the FTC.

Diamond phone cards referred us to their former attorney who says the company is no longer in business and that they sold their brands to a different company.

The FTC wants Diamond's two principals to give back what they call money made from deceptive practices.

Protect yourself. Look for connection charges, monthly fees, minimum call lengths, quick expiration dates, activation or setup fees and large billing increments.

Some companies charge in five minute blocks, even if you used just one minute.

Also check the companies' reputation online.

Get all of your answers before you buy, because once you prepay, you say good-bye to your money.

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Source: http://www.abc15.com/content/news/investigators/consumeralerts/story/Can-you-spot-the-hidden-fees-in-prepaid-phone/uOswsZ1oGUSyhaosIV9osw.cspx


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