I am not recommending this, I have not tried this, and I apologize if you already got this e-mail solicitation yourself. But if you haven’t, and you have a hefty phone bill, this could actually make sense.
Sure, there is a grammatical error in the very first word — always a bit off-putting (and sure, they misspelled “interstate” and Israel).
And sure, they round UP to the nearest minute (so a 2-second phone call counts as a full minute), and they charge seven cents, not five, after the first couple of months — plus a $4.95 access fee in any month when you’ve used the service.
And sure, intrastate calls are nine cents, not seven or five cents.
And you have to dial those stupid extra digits each time you want to make a call. Sure.
But with the various memory speed-dial functions a lot of phones have now, the extra digits may be no trouble. And “canceling” this service is supposedly as simple as not using it. So what’s to lose?
And if you do make a lot of calls, you could save some real money. Say you now get one of those dime-a-minute rates yet still rack up $100 a month in out-of-state calls. With the plan these folks offer, you’d save $300 a year. (And the truth is, some of you continue to pay a lot more than 10 cents a minute, in which case the savings would be greater still.) That may not sound like much — $300 a year. But putting it into a Roth IRA, say, if you’re 28 today and could compound it at 10% a year, would enhance your resources by $132,000 by age 68. (Never underestimate the value of a little scrimping and saving.)
So — with that background — here is the e-mail I got:
19-Dec-98 04:11 EST
Sb: Long Distance for 5 cents per minute anywhere in the USA!
Fm: “5 Cents/Minute” > INTERNET:firstname.lastname@example.org
You’re [sic] name has been received as a person interested in money saving products. If you have received this e-mail in error, please e-mail us at mailto:email@example.com.
Please e-mail questions to mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO SAVE MONEY ON YOUR PHONE BILL?
Without changing carriers, you can NOW DIAL
10-10-629 +1+area code+number
First time users will be asked to enter a project code.
The project code for you to use is: 55355
You will now hear a recording announcing your rates.
5 cents per minute 24 hours a day 7 days a week!
NO signing up
NO minimum usage
NO switching carriers
Here are some 10-10 numbers advertised on TV or in print. Let’s see what you get:
Depending on the time of day you call, and how long you talk, rates vary from approximately 30 cents to 10 cents a minute. Rates vary according to the time of day, and whether it is a weekday or weekend.
99 cents up to 20 minutes, then 10 cents each minute there after [sic]. If you talk less than 20 minutes, you still pay for a FULL 20 minutes. The average phone call is 3-5 minutes. If you talked 5 minutes, you are now paying about 19.8 cents per minute.
The dime line. 10 cents a minute. [minimum 3 minutes] A one minute call is 30 cents.
5 cents per minute nationwide for all iterstate [sic] calls and 9 cents per minute for all intrastate calls. This is for BUSINESS & RESIDENTAL PHONES RIGHT NOW!
DIAL 10-10-629+001 + AREA CODE+ NUMBER.
FIRST TIME CALLERS WILL BE ASKED FOR YOUR CODE: 55355
Listed are examples of what you will pay per minute, no additional charges for international calls.
Argentina .45 Australia .14 Belgium .15 Brazil .46 Canada .07 Chile .29 Croatia .39 France .14 Germany .14 Guyana .77 Honduras .53 India .67 Isreal [sic] .22 Italy .23 Japan .26 S. Korea .35 Mexico .15 Myanmar 1.25 Netherlands .14 Nicaragua .49 Norway .17 Poland .35 Russia .43 Sierra Leone .95 Saudi Arabia .87 S. Africa .47 Thailand .69 Yugoslavia .68 United Kingdom .09
QUESTION: How will I be billed?
As you are now, through your local telephone company, on the same monthly phone bill that you receive now.
Question: Can I use this for both HOME OR BUSINESS:
YES, SAME RATE, 5 CENTS PER MINUTE 24 HOURS 7 DAYS A WEEK.
Please e-mail questions to mailto:email@example.com
10-10-629 is only available in the United States. When first using this service you will hear a recorded announcement confirming your rates. Calls are billed in 1 minute increments with partial minute usage rounded up to the next full minute. Make unlimited calls for 5 cents iterstate [sic] and 9 cents per minute for intrastate domestic calls for the low monthly payment of $4.95 access fee for the first 60 days of service. After the first 60 days, make unlimited calls for 7 cents iterstate [sic] and 9 cents per minute for intrastate domestic calls for the low monthly payment of $4.95 access fee. The monthly access fee is assessed per line. All fees and charges will be included on your local phone bill. If you do not use this service in any given month you will not be billed the 4.95 fee. This service may not be available in all areas and is subject to tariff. All rates are subject to change and right is reserved to limit or deny service in accordance with tariff conditions.
Even if this one doesn’t make sense for you, isn’t this a good time to haul out your phone bill, try to make sense of it, and find a way to cut it significantly?
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It turns out that advancing equal opportunity and economic empowerment is both morally right and good economics, because discrimination, poverty and ignorance restrict growth, while investments in education, infrastructure and scientific and technological research increase it, creating more good jobs and new wealth for all of us.~Bill Clinton
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