Don’t Swipe a Credit Card for a Pay Phone

Yes, that is the title of my post. This is all I really want to say. But it’s worth making an entire blog post on it. This is probably really obvious, and I probably made a really stupid mistake by doing this myself. It has got to be one of the most costly mistakes-about $23 for less than 7 minutes of calling.

The worst part about it is that it would have cost only 50 cents per 2 minutes if I had used coins. So that call would have only cost me $2. It makes you wonder how the company could get away with charging 11 times more than it would have cost had I just used coins. In fact, looking back, it’s almost ridiculous how cheap it is if you don’t use a credit card. Because I have no receipt of the transaction, I cannot know how much money they should have charged me. I can only assume that somehow in their little system of things they have something written somewhere that allowed them to charge that much.

I have always heard never to make phone calls from a hotel room. I just did not think clearly enough when I swiped my card for those calls. With all the alternatives to pay phones, it kind of makes sense that these companies are charging so much. With the birth of cell phones, it’s a wonder that they stay in business. I’ve seen pay phones slowly disappear around town, as a matter of fact.

Here’s a couple of resources and hints/tips. First, there is this website I found by the FCC:

http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/PhoneWise.html

Next, the best alternative to these outrageous charges I’ve found is Skype. With a computer, the Internet, and a microphone, you can call any number for just cents a minute to real cell phones or landline phones all over the world. I’ve made a two hour phone call to Japan for $3 (7 times less than what I paid for a 7 minute domestic phone call from that pay phone, just to put it in perspective) using this service. Some motels I’ve stayed in charge $10 for Internet service a night. But even that is more than twice as cheap as what it cost me to make that phone call.

So, bottom line-there are alternatives. Assuming there service should have only cost $2, $21 is a lot of money to throw down the drain. Do not swipe a credit card at a pay phone. Use coins. If you were like me and didn’t have any, buy a water for $2.50 and break some bills. Just don’t do what I did. I am praying that somebody will read this and not make the same foolish mistake I made. Nobody should ever have to pay that much just to call home.