Monday, July 04, 2011

American/European phone companies

Normally we Europeans feel we are being price-gouged rather more than Americans. But at least in one area it seems to be reversed: telephone companies.
When I phone American, it's normally me calling, because of this difference. So I was called by a friend who asked me to call back. Because of some confusion, we then called each other at the same time, and both picked up without the phone having rung, very confusing. Against my better judgment, I decided it had been me calling her, very normal, so we chatted on, for over an hour.

But now it turns out it was actually her calling me, and here comes the biter: instead of the less than five dollars that normally costs me, she was charged for $215! (We probably have no grounds for challenging it, so I'll pay it, since I was supposed to make sure I was the one calling.)


Hentai said...

You've not heard these stories of (EU) people going abroad with their fancy iphones and coming home with bills in the thousands then?

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Sure, roaming charges are criminal all over the world, it seems.

Bruce W. said...

We have family in Eastern Europe and have encountered this problem often. But there are ways around it. There are long distance providers (in the US you choose your provider) that specialize in very low rates to different countries "overseas." And they also have low rates for domestic long distance. IF you use the "default" long distance services, you will have the experience your friend experienced. It pays to shop.

But now, all our calls to Eastern Europe are via Skype (I have no attachment to Skype except as a user) and we get audio and video. Great to see the Grandkids live. And hard to beat free. (except for the computer and internet connection, which we and they have anyway).

CalgaryMark said...

I use Skype for all long distance calling, whether to a computer or to a phone. Quality is usually superior to telephony. However I do pay a flat rate subscription plan rather than one of the much advertised packages which would use much more money than we need.

kentg said...

I have a Tracfone prepay in U.S. West and buy 400 minutes which are doubled + bonus (1000 minutes and one year of service) for less than ten cents a minute. Roaming doesn't cost extra, and I can call many places overseas at the local rate. I don't use the phone very much so 1,000 minutes lasts more than a year.
My kids only reply to text messages these days and those cost 0.3 minutes.