Ameritech Offers Solution to Calling Card Gouging at Pay Phones
1-800-AMERITECH Guarantees 7-Million Customers Low Rates Company Also Offers Pay Phone Tips for Holiday Travelers
CHICAGO, Nov. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- You're leaving town for the holidays but your flight is delayed. You run to a pay phone and place a calling card call to let relatives know you'll be late. The call: Three minutes. The charge: $12.00, $15.00...maybe more.
If this scenario sounds familiar, you know how easy it is to get gouged when making a calling card call, primarily from pay phones. Ameritech (NYSE: AIT) announced today that its seven-million calling card customers can eliminate that risk. The company is introducing 1-800-AMERITECH, which gives customers a way to avoid this problem by dialing around a pay phone's assigned carrier. Customers are guaranteed low local and long distance rates throughout the U.S. and Canada.
"Before 1-800-AMERITECH, our calling card customers had to dial '0' to begin a call and that left them vulnerable to being gouged by unscrupulous carriers," said Mitch Wienick, president of Ameritech Consumer Services. "With 1-800-AMERITECH, customers control who handles their calls. This is important at all times, but especially during the holiday season, when many customers will be traveling and using their cards at pay phones."
With Ameritech's new dial-around solution, customers dial 1-800-AMERITECH to start their call, rather than "0". They then dial the number they want to reach and their calling card number, just as they've always done with their Ameritech calling cards. Starting today, all Ameritech calling card customers can use 1-800-AMERITECH -- they don't have to sign-up, they don't need new cards and there are no extra fees.
The new calling card feature also means Ameritech customers won't have their calls blocked. "While some pay phone operators block '0+' calling card calls, they can't block "1-800" numbers like 1-800-AMERITECH," said Laurie Camp, calling card market manager at Ameritech.
Camp also offered some tips for consumers to help them avoid getting gouged on pay phones:
* If you're dialing "0" to start your call -- whether it's local or long distance -- you could be gouged.
* Look for the name and number of the local and long-distance provider for the phone before you make your call. Call the service provider and ask how much your call will cost.
* If you can't find the service provider's name and number, try dialing "00" to reach the provider.
* If you get gouged, contact the service provider. If that doesn't work, write to the FCC, Common Carrier Bureau, Consumer Complaints Division, Mail Stop 1600A2, Washington, D.C., 20554. Include your name, address and a number where you can be reached during the day; the name of the service provider for the pay phone; and the name, address and telephone number of the business where the pay phone is located.
* Also, if you're using a calling card at a pay phone in a public place, beware of "shoulder surfers." They can steal your number off the key pad while you're dialing. Stand in front of the keypad to block the view of potential "surfers." If you have to recite your card number to an operator, do it softly so people nearby can't hear the number.
Customers can order an Ameritech calling card by calling 1-800-614-CARD, or by calling the customer service number listed on their bill.
A worldwide leader in making communications easy, Ameritech serves millions of customers in 50 states and more than 40 countries. Ameritech provides a full range of communications services, including local and long distance telephone, cellular, paging, security monitoring, cable TV, electronic commerce, on-line services and more. One of the world's 100 largest companies, Ameritech (www.ameritech.com) has 66,000 employees, 1 million shareowners and $23 billion in assets.
/CONTACT: Rich Maganini of Ameritech, 847-248-8528, or firstname.lastname@example.org/
/The Ameritech logo is available via Wieck Photo Database, 214-392-0888./
CO: Ameritech ST: Illinois IN: TLS SU:
TC-BG -- CLMM015 -- 3595 11/25/96 10:01 EST http://www.prnewswire.com
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|Date:||Nov 25, 1996|
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