Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Pascrell wants Ticketmaster to look like your Verizon bill

Have you taken a look at your Verizon bill lately? If not, you might want to take a peak because chances are that your bill looks similar to mine, with about $30 in charges for some taxes and fees that are government mandated. Here is a sample of a real Verizon bill (not from my bill, but close):
Tax & FeesState tax $5.60
Video Franchise Fee $11.91
CATV Universal Access Fund $1.70
Total Tax & Fees $19.21
Tax & Fees Federal excise tax $0.19
Federal excise tax # $0.16
State tax $0.49
State tax # $0.38
State tax ## $2.08
911 Tax $0.90
Federal Subscriber Line Charge $6.29
Federal Universal Service Fee $0.71
Federal Universal Service Fee - LD $0.74
Total Tax & Fees $11.94
For a total of ($19.21 + $11.94) = $31.15 in taxes and fees.

Sure I could call Verizon and ask about each of these taxes and fees, but it's hard to blame Verizon when reps like Mr. Pascrell (D-NJ08) are the types of congressmen who just want to add more fees and taxes to every private business.

This time, with the phone bill running our of room for more charges, Mr. Pascrell and company are targeting Ticketmaster, who already has several extra charges on the bill. For example, here is what ticketmaster charged me for tickets I purchased to a Broadway show just this week:
Ticket Charge US $XXX.XX
Convenience Charge US $7.25
Building Facility Charge US $1.50
I opted to have my tickets printed mailed to me "free of charge", otherwise I would have paid an extra $2.50 per ticket for the convenience of using my own ink and paper to print my own tickets on my own time, the irony.

And my complaint here is not that I want to continue seeing ticketmaster and the like ripping off consumers, it's that I want Congressman Pascrell, Pallone, Holt, Smith and everyone else down in DC to take a long hard look at all of the fees, taxes, surcharges and charges that consumers pay so that the government can meddle in the free market. Pascrell suggests that ticketmaster and the like purchase some "seal" from the FTC in order to be allowed to sell tickets, which means we can look forward to a "FTC Seal Charge Recovery Fee" on our future tickets.

To every politician who claims that they are going to "cut taxes" (Christie and Lonegan included) - getting the fees, taxes and other BS charges off of our phone bills might be a good way to start and build some faith in your claims.

Now don't forget to go vote today... and feel free to share what taxes, fees, etc you might be paying on your own bills...

1 comment:

Dylan said...

James, nice blog and sorry to hear about the primary results last year. I also hear you about the cell phone taxes. I'm sure you know that as a New Yorker, I'm paying the highest cell taxes in the nation. It's despicable. I did want to mention, however, that there are some key ways to significantly reduce your cell bill through the internet that you may know about. The end result here is to essentially offset the big taxes. One blog called http://www.fixmycellbill.blogspot.com/ constantly tracks new ways to cut wireless costs and exposes shady billing practices utilized by the cell phone companies. Also, take a look at the consumer advocacy website where I (admittedly) work, http://www.myValidas.com , that slashes the average cell bill by 28 percent. Through the site we have currently audited over 26,000 cell lines and have saved consumers over $5 million off their wireless bills. You can see myValidas.com in the national news media, most recently on Good Morning America at http://www.abcnews.go.com/GMA/MakeMoney/story?id=7640149&page=1.

Good luck to everyone reading on achieving the lowest possible wireless rates.