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'Clean' Calling Cards Are Better
Hidden fees and overstated minutes are big problems in the calling card industry. That's because not all card vendors fully or clearly disclose information on all applicable rates and fees. And because some overstate minutes or state minutes under a 'best case scenario' that few can achieve.
The problems are widespread enough that many consumers file complaints each year about deceptive or fraudulent pricing by calling card vendors. Sometimes these practices are so flagrant that lawsuits are filed and government agencies take action.
For instance, a prominent such case was resolved in June 2008 in Florida, USA when several companies were fined and ordered to cease deceptive marketing practices by the Florida Attorney General. Here's an article on case Florida calling card settlement - Sun-Sentinel.com.
Avoid Calling Cards with Hidden Fees
As you shop for a card, watch carefully to see which rates and fees apply. Just because a fee isn't shown, doesn't mean you aren't going to be charged for it - it may be stated in the fine print somewhere. For instance, it is not uncommon for fees to be disclosed in the details of lengthy contracts or terms of service which many people wouldn't even think to read.
Here is a perfect example from one well known calling card vendor (not one of our recommended vendors). The following text is taken from the terms and conditions for one of their cards:
Example of Hidden Calling Card Fees
As you can see, this paragraph is laden with additional fees and charges. Plus, in the last sentence we're told that this isn't even necessarily all the fees - that still more 'maintenance fees and service fees' may apply! This is ridiculous, but unfortunately, not uncommon.
Look for Full Disclosure of Rates & Fees
In our opinion, a very good indicator of a calling card vendor's trustworthiness is how clearly and prominently they display applicable rates and fees. Ideally, you want to buy from a vendor that provides an organized and complete listing of all possible fees - including ones they may not even charge for.
The graphic below from CallingCards.com is a good example of the kind of full disclosure we recommend you look for.
Rate and Fee Disclosure Example
If it your card vendor doesn't make it easy for you to see information like this, we suggest you look elsewhere for your phone cards.
These calling cards get our 'Best Buy' rating.
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