Automatic Connection Charge: Isn't
This One of the Biggest Penny Ante Corporate Rip-offs?
August 11, 2001
Do you share my bewilderment
at what has got to be one of the worst penny ante corporate rip-offs?
After you dial local
information and -- without the involvement of a live human -- the recording
gives you the requested telephone number, a different recorded voice comes
on the line and sweetly asks if you would like to be connected automatically
for 45 cents.
Every time I hear this
recording, I shake my head in wonder. The directory and local calls
are free (or rather, there are no additional charges, the costs of these two
automated services being subsumed in your monthly fee). But for the
software to automatically connect you, the phone company wants 45 cents.
If it were 5 cents, I say to
myself, sometimes I would, if in a real rush, do it. A dime, and
I'd hesitate. Twenty-five cents, and I'd laugh at the thought.
But when I hear 45 cents requested, I wonder what the phone company is
They offer long-distance for
5 cents a minute, but want you to pay 45 cents to be automatically connected
on a free local call?
Who would do this, especially
on a regular basis? Even were I quite wealthy, I still wouldn't take
advantage of their kind offer, given the blatantly rip-off nature of the
What makes it sad is, I bet
the reason the phone company has continued to offer this service is because
a lot of (non-rich) people really do utilize this automatic connection