Tips to avoid problems with prepaid calling cards
There have been persistent problems with prepaid calling cards, so the Federal Communications Commission and Consumer Reports offer the following tips to those who purchase them:
- Make sure you understand the instructions on how to use the card.
- Make sure you understand the rates for your particular phone card.
- Read the fine print to understand any conditions or limitations on the card.
- Check if the advertised minutes of the card apply only to a single call or can be used to make multiple calls.
- Check the expiration date to avoid losing unused minutes. Buy cards when you plan to use them -- and don't buy too many at once.
- Look for a toll-free customer service number provided with or on the card.
- Ask your friends and family to recommend cards they have used and liked.
- Consider Internet-based services such as Skype and other alternative services to phone cards, especially if you make a lot of international calls.
- Consider cards that advertise good rates to the one country or region you usually call, though those cards sometimes charge higher rates to other parts of the world.
Officials recommend these actions if you suspect that something is wrong with your prepaid phone card:
- First, contact the card issuer (a number is usually listed on the back of the card).
- If that doesn't work, call the Federal Trade Commission at 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357); or file a complaint with the FCC's Consumer Center by calling 888-CALL-FCC (888-225-5322) voice or 888-TELL-FCC (888-835-5322) TTY; faxing 866-418-0232; filing it online at FCC online form; or writing to:
Federal Communications Commission
Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau
Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, D.C. 20554
Published: May 11, 2012
- Charity gift cards let recipient donate to favorite cause – They make philanthropy easy, but our survey finds many have large fees ...
- 7 things you need to know about gift cards – Some things have changed about gift cards over the years. Here's what to know about the No. 1 requested present ...
- Payday lender prepaid cards: the worst plastic in the world? – Payday lender cards "feature" a slew of gotchas and fees -- even for on-time payments ...