Fed Universal Service Charge should be optional

taxedtoomuch
Member

  I am not a LIBERAL and do not believe in redistribution of wealth not do I believe in lazy people having the same "luxuries" as those who work or have worked all their lives!

  I called today to ask questions about my bill to see if I was being double-billed for services and I was told that the FUSC "makes cell phones available for low income families and other families that cannot otherwise afford them."  When I asked why that is not optional, I was told that it is a tax and that it is mandated by the government.  I do not recall this ever being mentioned by any politicians at any time. I guess I should start reading contracts in far more detail before ever signing them.

 I understand that to have a cell phone with any provider that I will be forced to pay this ridiculous tax but that will not prevent me from airing my opinion about it and I will fight to make this an optional charge. Why am I being FORCED TO PURCHASE something I do not support in order to have a cell phone.

  I will be contacting my congressperson and representatives to fight this if I cannot get Verizon to remove this from my bill.

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Re: Fed Universal Service Charge should be optional

budone
Sr. Leader

The fee was began in 1996 for the purpose you stated. It is a charge the Telcos have to pay, so they add it to our bill instead of paying it out of revenues they have collected from us.

 

Many call this the Obama Phone fee as they think the free phones we all see advertised were something Obama started, when in fact it started LONG before he became President.

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Re: Fed Universal Service Charge should be optional

Squallfyr
Novice
LOL @Obama Phone fee....change will never come XD
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Re: Fed Universal Service Charge should be optional

For the record, the Federal Universal Service fund does more than just provide subsidized cell phones for low-income individuals.  The fund helps to regulate and make affordable telecommunication services for people in rural areas, and for people in urban areas with an unusually high cost of service.  It also helps provide telecom access to hospitals, schools and libraries.  If you've ever stopped in a library to use a computer and check something on the internet, or if your doctor has called another doctor for a specialist consult via conference or web chat, or if your child has accessed the internet at school to help with a project, you've probably benefitted from the fund in some way.

 

Universal access to telecommunications has the potential to positively impact people's health and the US economy, but if you don't agree with that, you should contact your elected representatives and ask them to introduce legistation reducing or abolishing the fund.  I'm sure that once Congress does away with the fee, Verizon will be more than happy to remove it from your bill.

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Re: Fed Universal Service Charge should be optional

budone
Sr. Leader

spottedcatfish wrote:

For the record, the Federal Universal Service fund does more than just provide subsidized cell phones for low-income individuals.  The fund helps to regulate and make affordable telecommunication services for people in rural areas, and for people in urban areas with an unusually high cost of service.  It also helps provide telecom access to hospitals, schools and libraries.  If you've ever stopped in a library to use a computer and check something on the internet, or if your doctor has called another doctor for a specialist consult via conference or web chat, or if your child has accessed the internet at school to help with a project, you've probably benefitted from the fund in some way.

 

Universal access to telecommunications has the potential to positively impact people's health and the US economy, but if you don't agree with that, you should contact your elected representatives and ask them to introduce legistation reducing or abolishing the fund.  I'm sure that once Congress does away with the fee, Verizon will be more than happy to remove it from your bill.


But you can be sure if Congress was thinking of abolishing the fee, ATT and VZW would be up there with their lobbyists beating on doors with $100 bills in hand to make sure it does not go away.

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Re: Fed Universal Service Charge should be optional

Jax_Omen
Sr. Member
Why would AT&T/VzW care if the fee is there or not? They make the same amount of money either way: The FUSC doesn't line their pockets. As a matter of fact, removing it would help them remain competitive with the various prepaid options, by removing one source of the large pricing gap between those services and postpaid services.
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Re: Fed Universal Service Charge should be optional

budone
Sr. Leader

Why would they care??? They are constantly lobbying to get MORE of that money from the governemt. Then they do not need to spend their money to add towers in remote areas.

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Re: Fed Universal Service Charge should be optional

aimu518
Member

I CAN COMPLETELY RELATE TO YOUR FRUSTRATION, I HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING UP WITH VERIZON ABOUT THIS MATTER AND IT'S LIKE A NEVER ENDING BATTLE. THE CUSTOMER SERVICE REPS ON THE VERY FRONTLINE ARE VERY ILL-INFORMED, SO DONT BOTHER SPEAKING TO THEM BECAUSE THEY WILL GIVE YOU MISINFORMATIONS.  THESE FEES  ARE DEFINITELY NOT A FORM OF TAX, BUT RATHER & I QUOTE A VERIZON WIRELESS SUPERVISOR F.S. & ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR C.T., "A FEE THAT WE PASS ALONG" TO THE CUSTOMERS.  UNFORTUNATELY THE FCC HAS MADE IT TOO EASY FOR THESE COMPANIES TO EMPOSE SUCH FEES.  ACCORDING TO THE FCC REGULATION:

 

"Some consumers may notice a "Universal Service" line item on their telephone bills. This line item appears when a company chooses to recover its USF contributions directly from its customers by billing them this charge. The FCC does not require this charge to be passed on to customers. Each company makes a business decision about whether and how to assess charges to recover its Universal Service costs. These charges usually appear as a percentage of the consumer's phone bill. "

 

SO THE COMPANY THAT WE HAVE CHOSEN TO PAY TO PROVIDE SERVICE TO US HAVE IN RETURN "CHOSEN" THE ROUTE OF HAVING THEIR CUSTOMERS PAY FOR THESE SURCHARGES THAT THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR.  WE HAVE BECOME THEIR TAX PAYERS.......

 

THINK ABOUT...SO, IF YOU DO PLAN TO PURSUE THIS MATTER, MY RECCOMENDATIONS ARE TO SPEAK TO A SUPERVISOR, THEN SPEAK TO A SUPERVISOR'S DIRECTOR AND REQUEST AN "ESCALATION" OF THE MATTER.  I AM ON THE WAITING LINE TO HEAR BACK ABOUT MY ESCALATION...

 

I HAVE STOOD MY GROUND AND HAVE REFUSED THEIR OFFER OF WAIVER OF THE FEE FOR THE REMAINDER OF MY CONTRACT AS THE FEES WILL JUST CONTINUE TO COME....

 

SO STAND YOUR GROUND................

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Re: Fed Universal Service Charge should be optional

budone
Sr. Leader

ahhhhhhhhhhh that one lone beacon of change in a sea of 94,800,000 customers..... That will get change. I say take the credit if they are offering it.

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Re: Fed Universal Service Charge should be optional

 

aimu58, do you realize that it doesn't matter whether Verizon chooses to "pass along" the charge directly to customers as an itemized charge on the bill or not?  You'll be paying the fee either way.

 

Verizon HAS to contribute to the Universal Service Fund, so they will build that cost into the total cost of their services.  I can guarentee you that if Verizon removed the USF charge from every account tomorrow, their plan prices would go up accordingly to cover the cost.  Verizon isn't going to operate at a loss.

 

So, the question is: Would you prefer that Verizon "hide" the cost of the USF fund inside their plan prices or would you prefer that they itemize the charge so that customers have a better idea of what they are paying for?

 

Personally, as a consumer, I appreciate the extra information about where my money goes.  If you want your money to stop contributing to the USF, you're either going to have to convince Congress to get rid of the mandatory contribution or stop using services from companies that are required to make a contribution.

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