Do you need yet another reason to dump the three monopoly phone companies — Verizon, AT&T and Qwest — and their outdated landlines? Well, here it is: Verizon is playing dirty pool by getting into the AT&T game of charging customers a fee for long distance even if you don’t use long distance. The Verizon fee is a couple of bucks a month, but AT&T had been charging people between three and five dollars to not use long distance! So unless you absolutely need a landline, why not liberate yourself? Here’s the problem the phone companies are facing: They fought very hard to be able to sell long distance, but then people started using their cell phones, pre-paid cards, the Internet and/or cable phone companies to make their long distance calls. In fact, the cable companies usually offer unlimited long distance. So now the monopoly phone companies are fighting a losing battle.
Clark advises anyone who has older parents to go through their phone bill and see if you can save them money by enrolling them in Lifeline, which is a much more affordable tariff-rated service that seniors can get. Also be aware that if your parents have been in same residence since the early ’80s, they may be paying a lease for telephones they had back then. Those fees could cumulatively amount to thousands of dollars, so be on the lookout on your folks’ behalf.
Finally, one last tip for saving money when it comes to your landline: If you pay for an unlisted number, why not just change it to a listed number and make up the name in the listing? Clark doesn’t care if you call yourself Abraham Lincoln, the point is just to stop paying extra and unnecessary fees!