Pre-Paid Minutes Ripoff


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you use a pre-paid calling card, it’s likely you’re on a budget and can’t afford to waste your money. That’s why it’s particularly infuriating that a company was caught cheating users on minutes.  These are the cards that you buy in grocery stores and other quick stop places. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC)  tested pre-paid cards from DR Phone Communications and found the cards they sold contained on average only 40 percent of the minutes they advertised and some of the cards delivered only between 25 and 5 percent of the minutes advertised.

The company agreed to a settlement with the FTC that allows it to continue to sell pre-paid cards. But as part of the agreement, an order filed in Federal District Court in Northern California permanently bars the defendants from making any material misrepresentations in connection with the marketing and sale of prepaid calling cards.  It also requires DR Phone Communications to clearly and prominently disclose all material limitations of their prepaid calling cards, including:
  • The existence of all fees and when they will apply;
  • That the advertised calling minutes are available only on a single call, if applicable;
  • Any limit on the time during which the advertised rates or number of minutes are available; and
  • When the calling card expires, if it does.

The company was fined $61,597.

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Published by

Barbara Nevins Taylor

As the winner of 22 Emmy Awards and a slew of journalism honors and awards, I created ConsumerMojo.com to give you the straight story about complicated stuff. Tell us what you want to know and we'll get you the answers.