his phone company. But he was able to negotiate for a 40% total discount, including long-distance calls, directory assistance and calling card costs. “It comes down to haggling,” Golub says.
The bottom line: Don’t let all the sales hype confuse you. Learn more about your rights and what to look for in a telephone carrier by “letting your fingers do the walking.” Here are a number of consumer services you can “reach out and touch” for more information:
Telegroup’s online Call Cost Comparison chart (http://www.callcost.com) can give you a broader picture of price ranges.
The Federal Trade Commission offers an online consumer help line at gopher://consumer.ftc.gov:2416; or call their National Fraud Information Center at 800-876-7060.
The Tele-Consumer Hotline (http://www.teleconsumer.org/hotline) is a nonprofit consumer help organization that provides online advice and information about long distance.
For a free copy of the Consumer Action phone survey, send a self- addressed stamped envelope to: C.A. Long Distance Rate Survey, 116 New Montgomery St., Suite 233, San Francisco, CA 94105.
TRAC’s newsletter, Tele-Tips, can be purchased for $5 by sending a self-addressed stamped envelope to: TRAC, P.O. Box 27279, Washington, DC 20005.