While a half dozen or more taxes, fees and surcharges on monthly telephone bills already irritate subscribers, other sneaky charges (without broad announcements) --- certainly spell BAD PR in capital letters --- irking people into looking at alternatives, observes Grumpy Editor.
New York Stock Exchange listed CenturyLink (CTL) provides the latest example of trickiness in squeezing $5 more monthly from many unknowing subscribers around the country.
First, starting tomorrow (March 1), the Monroe, La. communications and data services company hikes the monthly rate by $2 on all residential lines. Few subscribers are aware of this.
Then when it comes time to pay the monthly bill via the Web, CenturyLink this month quietly added a “convenience fee” of $3. (This compares with snail-mailing a payment, with higher costs to process, at 49 cents per envelope.)
Voilà: Up to $5 more a month per subscriber, just like that.
Perhaps the additional amount goes toward CenturyLink’s growing hefty printing/postage bills as it pitches customers up to three times a week with mailings touting its various services, including Prism TV. This is in addition to similar material e-mailed to customers.
Or maybe the added charges to customers are triggered by full-year 2015 operating revenues decreasing to $17.9 billion from $18 billion the prior year.
IN CASE YOUR FAVORITE NEWS OUTLETS MISSED THESE…
Other than in ads during the past week, George Washington’s birthday (Feb. 22), once widely recognized, escaped mention by most news outlets this year. The “father of our country” used to have his own birthdate widely celebrated but that was folded into President’s Day…Without too much eyebrow-raising by media, one of the strangest recent name-droppings is last week’s Obama Administration vetting of Nevada Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval to fill a U.S. Supreme Court vacancy. While the development received much media attention, a Sandoval spokeswoman says neither the governor nor his staff was contacted by the White House. So --- surprise --- news reports the next day mention Sandoval removed himself from consideration for the Supreme Court seat…With the lengthening crude oil downturn, Halliburton says it will cut another 5,000 jobs, or 8 percent of the company's global workforce…Also affected by declining oil and gas activity, Schlumberger in the past year cut 25,000 jobs, or one fifth of its work force…In other layoff activity, HP, Inc. executives told analysts that nearly 3,000 workers would leave the company by the end of the year, an acceleration from an original plan that would have spread the job cuts across a three-year period…Will Burger King alter its name now that it serves hot dogs? The new fare marks the burger chain’s biggest menu addition since it started selling chicken in the 1970s…In the ho-hum department: A Reuters story Friday notes “Senior U.S. defense officials voiced concern about North Korea's nuclear ambitions”…
One of the most irritating things on TV:
Commercials with doorbells on the sound track that sound exactly like your own.