I just looked at this month's phone bill, and noticed it was a little higher than usual. The Qwest portion of the bill was normal, but they also included MCI's long distance charges, so I took a look at that.
Apparently last month I made two calls to Arizona. I don't recall why, and each call was only one minute, so if I spoke to someone at all it was only very briefly. My current long distance plan is $0.07/minute plus a $0.49 connection fee, so for one minute that's $0.56. Two of those calls is $1.12. Steep, but not completely insane. But then come the extra fees and taxes...
Long Distance . . . . . . . . . . . . $1.12 Federal Universal Service Fee . . . . $0.33 Billing Option Fee. . . . . . . . . . $2.50 Federal Excise Tax. . . . . . . . . . $0.04 Federal, State & Local Surcharges . . $0.04 OREGON PUC FEE AS REQUIRED BY LAW . . $0.01 OR Universal Service Fund Surcharge . $0.14 ----- Grand Total $4.18
Yes, the PUC fee is in all caps on the bill. As long as I just use my pre-paid calling card, I'm not charged any of these taxes or fees, and that only costs me $0.035/minute (even cheaper ones are available). Is it any wonder that pre-paid calling cards and cell phones have become so popular?