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Frugal Friday Week 37

If you are old enough, you remember when long distance cost a small fortune. It was that way growing up in New York in the 70’s and Long Island (part of NY State, but not the city) was a long distance call, and about 15 cents a minute, if memory serves me. And somehow it was the home of my first girlfriend, whom I met at a Star Trek convention. But I digress.

The cost of telephone has dropped over time, but not quite where it should be, given the competition. This is when I admit I’ve made a mistake over the last 10 years or so, keeping Verizon for my landline phone. Now that my daughter has her own cell, and we’re all on Verizon Wireless, it seemed there should be some kind of deal for the landline, anything less than the $50 we were paying. Yes, there’s a $12 service. But it then adds nearly $11 in taxes, including a $6.39 federal access recovery charge. It seems this charge is “a way to recover a portion of the costs incurred by providing other carriers access to the network.” No, it’s a way for you to extract money from me.

I’d have quit at $23, but that service didn’t have caller ID. $10.50 extra for that. I like Caller ID. I can let the machine take it if I don’t recognize the number or if it’s my mother. I’m kidding, mom, I always grab the phone when I see it’s you. Really. So, we are pushing $34, and that’s with no long distance. On this plan, just to be able to dial long distance costs $6 per month minimum. There’s no option to just pay whatever rate per minute but with no monthly minimum. I hadn’t yet checked to see what it would cost to add phone to my Comcast TV/Internet plan, so I went online to check. While on the page of services to add, a popup screen came up, offering a chat.


When it first came up, I thought that the use of ‘live’ was redundant, but then I recalled that Verizon’s site actually had an automated system. A system that couldn’t any any questions at all, by the way. So you can see, I was eager to ask the live specialist the simplest question he’d ever get, “What would it cost to add phone 9to my account)?” Whoa! That’s beyond a specialist, I needed someone on the customer service team.  I looked at this answer for a moment, and figuring ‘in for a penny,’ I asked, “What kind of question would you actually be able to answer, if not this?”  He politely disconnected.

The customer service team member I called told me $14. I asked how much for the crazy taxes. He said the real price was just over $12, and the $14 included tax. He also warned me that there was a $50 fee from somewhere to transfer my phone number. So I break even in 2-1/2 months, and save $20/mo after that. And I get unlimited long distance for free. By coincidence, Verizon happened to call me later that day, telling me they wanted to visit to switch my phone from the copper wire to fiber. I told him I wasn’t home, and would have to get back to him. Comcast is visiting next week to switch my phone over to their service. If Verizon wanted, they could offer a deal for their multi-cell-phoned customers, but it seems they keep both sides of the business separate.

Do you still have a landline or have you cut the cord completely? What’s that landline costing you, if you still have it?

  • Mike@WeOnlyDoThisOnce April 19, 2013, 10:22 pm

    We still have a landline for security purposes in case of emergencies, such as when cell service was shoddy in lieu of the Boston bombings.

  • Jeremy April 20, 2013, 1:23 pm

    Keep in mind that a “home phone” is sometimes VOIP and carried over the home’s internet service, as opposed to a true analog phone line. Not sure which one Joe was offered, but if it’s VOIP and the internet goes down, so does your phone.

    We do not have a home phone, although I would consider paying a reasonable amount of money ($20 or so) for a true analog land line as an emergency back up only. I’d think of it as another insurance payment.

  • Financial Independence April 23, 2013, 11:22 am

    I would gladly cut the landline completely, if not for Internet and TV.

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