In the middle of last year I changed to QWEST and a plan that reduced my monthly charges to about $33. Now in March it's up to > $50. Even a simple phone line with no features is apparently $28 per month ... that's only twice what QWEST advertises (i.e., before fine print).
One of the tricky changes was to start charging a monthly fee for long distance that had been bundled in the plan. No notice, just a few dollars more. I asked the customer service representative why and all she could say was that they didn't know that there was going to be a charge for long distance with that plan.[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: That's a problem (one of several) I had with SBC: I'd call to complain the bill had gone up, they would review it and say "if we do thus and so, the bill will go down to be X dollars." I'd say okay, then the next month the bill would arrive and be higher still. I'd have to talk to two or three different people (with a wait on hold for each of them) to get the promised adjustment. None of them knew anything about what the others had said or promised.
Once they transferred me to a man 'in Topeka, who is our employee but he deals with state regulatory matters'. The man talked to me for about thirty minutes, detirmined I was 'eligible for lifeline service' (a program of reduced rates for handicapped/elderly people) and told me absolutely what my new monthly rate would be after he had audited my entire bill. Guess what? When the next bill arrived it was **no where close** to that amount. Bell said the reason the bill was 25 pages long that month was because they had to prorate it since the 'guy in Topeka' had re-rated me. The next month's bill _was_ a few pages (not many!) smaller, but the bottom line total was still higher. Then, according to the service rep they had detirmined I was not eligible for lifeline rates unless I would send them once again send them notes from doctor, SRS (Kansas medicaid public assistance) and some other paperwork. When I finally fled to Prairie Stream and Cable One (since SBC would not allow Prairie Stream to handle my DSL), they had me up to $140 per month; I was choking on the phone bill. And the lies they tell about their various service offerings ... their claims ... just incredible. I was so happy to get out of their noose. PAT]