Life in the USA
Public Services I
Pay-per-minute calls are a very expensive way to make certain telephone calls and receive certain telephone services. Many information services such as sports scores are offered on “900” and other types of numbers. All will indicate a certain charge per minute. Most of these calls are “gimmicks,” often pornographic or sex call services. You can live without them. Even $1.00 a minute quickly adds up to many dollars for a simple telephone call. If you are billed for any of these calls and you know you haven't made them, call the telephone company business office and complain. Insist (politely) that the charges be taken off your telephone bill. You should also be aware that telephone companies can block all of some of the types of pay per minute calls from your telephone so that it will be impossible to make such calls from your telephone at all. This service is especially useful if you have children in the house. Just ask the telephone company.
Misleading Contests and Prizes. It is possible that you will receive a letter or postcard (or even a computerized telephone call) that tells you that you have won a prize. You'll be told to call a telephone number to find out what prize you've won. There will of course be a charge for the call. If you think the prize you will win will be worth more than this charge, go right ahead and call, but you'd do better to ignore these solicitations entirely.
Pay-Per-Call Services. Most communities also have pay per call services (not pay per minute) which cost a modest amount (perhaps 35 or 50 cents) to get information on tomorrow's weather, or the correct time. These can be useful, but the fees for them can also add up. Most of these services are will be listed and explained in the front of your local telephone directory.
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