On my July 9 home telephone bill from Aliant there was a $28 charge for a 9 minute call I made with my calling card from a Bed & Breakfast in New Hampshire to home. That’s about $3.00 a minute, which is crazy.
The call was noted on my bill as being processed by ZPDI.
I called Aliant (listen to the comical audio of my first try), and talked to one of their operators and learned, much to my surprise, that all “calling card” calls are not created equal, and that the actual rates charged are not necessarily Aliant’s rates.
The operator suggested that, when in doubt, I call 1-800-555-1111, which is a toll-free call that connects directly to Aliant’s long-distance network, and ensures that calls placed are billed at Aliant’s rates.
I just received the following email from ZPDI:
Thank you for your inquiry. You have reached ZPDI which is a billing clearinghouse that processes records on behalf of operator service providers and long distance carriers that provide service for hotels, motels, payphones, and correctional institutions. The operator service provider who processed the collect call is NCIC. The collect call was placed from a phone located at the Peterborough Manor on 50 Summer Street in Peterborough, New Hampshire.
Mr. Rukavina, I realize you were not aware of the rate, however, rates for carriers are designed to recover unique expenses associated with the telephone from which your call was placed. In addition, rates are available upon request and each carrier is required to identify them selves prior to connecting the call. Mr. Rukavina, I am able to offer you a one-time complimentary credit for $10.04 in American funds. The total amount of the calls is $19.50 in American funds. Please let us know if you would like this credit applied to your bill.
As much as a laud them for their quick turnaround, I am suspicious of the quick rush to offer me $10 American. I’ll take it, and be happy, but I wonder if they’re just trying to shut me up.