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Saturday, August 02, 2003
In Las Vegas last week. First time. Had to use payphone to call mechanic back in Santa Ana to check on car, authorize repairs if necessary. Kelly's cell phone was dead. I didn't have any change. But I had a credit card. And the payphones in the third floor hallway in the Flamingo where I found myself accepted credit cards. They even had a slot where you could insert them. The rates weren't listed -- as I suppose they couldn't be since they must vary. Rather, there were instruction to check rates with the operator. So I followed the instructions and dialed 0 + the number. I got a recorded AT&T message prompting me for my inquiry. I said I wanted to know the rates on this call. A live operator came on and asked me for my credit card number. I hesitated for a moment then, not wanting to disrupt the normal procedure, provided it. Ring. Ring. "Car Aid, this is Lou." My call had been put through! I spent a few minutes on the phone with my mechanic, found out that I have a leak in the manifold gasket and that my brake rotors need to be resurfaced and was told to call back tomorrow. Hung up, called AT&T customer service and asked what the rate on my call had been. $6.80 for the first minute, $0.89 for each additional minute.

"Six dollars!?"

"Yes, sir, $6.80."

Six-fucking-eighty for a one minute phone call! Their WorldNet service is only $16.95 a month. I just spent that much on a ten minute phone call. Obviously I would have never made the call had I known the rates. I explained the situation and requested a refund. The operator passed me along to her supervisor who said that she couldn't reverse the charge. I would have to call the number that appeared with the charge on my credit card bill. Pissed off but outmaneuvered by the genius of the system, I thanked the manager, made a note in my pocket PC, and hung up. Shortly thereafter came up with the idea of this site -- with acknowledgements to Richard Nixon. AT&T -- you're on the shit list. At least until I'm refunded for that call.

Quick & Reilly is also on the shit list. That story next time.