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Avoid Pre-Paid Phone Card Scams

December 21st, 2007 by flanews

Pre-paid telephone cards may seem like a great deal, or even a good gift idea this holiday season.  But the Florida Public Service Commission is warning against scams.  As Chris Casquejo explains, you need to look closely at the back of the cards to make sure you’re getting what you pay for.

Hear it here: Avoid Pre-Paid Phone Card Scams

Pre-paid phone cards are a hot item at Hispanic market La Tiendita, which sells 50 to 100 of the cards a day.

“Most of them come here just to buy them and call for two hours to their families,” said Rafael Marte, the store’s co-owner.  “It costs them $2 some of them.  It costs them $5 some of them.  They go up to 12 hours some of the cards.”

But the Florida Public Service Commission warns that some of the cards might not deliver what they advertise.  The agency conducted a random check of 10 different brands.

“We found some of them didn’t even work at all,” said Kirsten Olsen, with the PSC.  “Some of them, the access number was continually busy.  Some of them had additional fees that weren’t disclosed.  Or they had different fees than what the consumer could expect.”

When you buy a pre-paid phone card, make sure that it has a working toll-free number on the back.  That way, you have somebody to call if you have any problems.

Another tip, check closely for any connection or disconnection fees.  Also, find out what it costs to call different countries.  Rafael Marte is confident the phone cards that he stocks are reliable.

“I buy the cards because people are asking for specific names,” he said.  “They are loyal.”

The bottom line, taking a few minutes out of your time to read the fine print could save you a lot of money.

For more tips on using pre-paid phone cards, go the Public Service Commission’s website at www.floridapsc.com.  Or you can call the consumer line at 1-800-342-3552. 

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