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Rip-off pre-paid phone cards

I recently bought a prepaid phone card. I have had mixed experiences with prepaid phone cards, some seem to deliver the minutes as expected while some seem to deliver a little less.

But what happened in January 2008 was the worst case.
I bought a prepaid phone card called 'Euro One - by Popi' on a reseller's web site www.phonecardquick.com
Phonecardquick is a legitimate business - I have bought about a dozen of cards from them.
My Euro One card cost me $20 and offered over 4000 minutes of talk time from the USA to Germany. Their toll-free number is 1-800-434-3617.
Their customer service number is 1-800-440-6291.

For writing this little article, I googled the access phone number and noticed that this card sells under a couple of other names as well. STAY AWAY!

Because this deal was really good, I decided to keep a log. This log was going to be very short. Here it comes.

 $ balance       Min. left before call   Date/ Time
 $20		4081 minutes	        1/15/2008        12:41pm - 12:59pm	18 min phone call
 $11.56		2359 minutes	        1/16/2008        12:35am - 12:41am	6 min phone call
 $11.01		2246 minutes	        1/16/2008        immediately after the second call, no call performed.
 

At this point I saw that something was wrong. I had talked 6 minutes but they billed me 43 minutes? According to advertising, there is no connection fee.
I called their customer service but you can never talk to an actual person. I got an automated credit of 45 cents instead.

So my account balance was now:

credit of 45 cents ==> $11.46 balance (1/16/2008)

A few minutes ago (1/29/2008), I tried to make another call. The computer tells me that my balance is now $0 - I have insufficient funds remaining. (1/29/2008 12:37am)

In the gray box you can see their (PhonecardQuick's) fine print. No connection fee is mentioned. Even with the semi-monthly fee of 59 cents, my balance should not have gone from $11.46 to $0.

I am going to dispute this with phonecardquick.com and if no resolution (I expect $20 back to my credit card), I will talk to my credit-card company.

CALL TIME IS DEDUCTED IN 3 MINUTES TO CERTAIN DESTINATIONS. SERVICE FEES MAY APPLY. CALLS PLACED TO MOBILE 
 TELEPHONES MAY BE BILLED AT A HIGHER RATE. WHEN USING A TOLL FREE NUMBER FROM A PAY PHONE A $0.65 PER CALL 
 SURCHARGE WILL APPLY. A SEMI MONTHLY FEE OF $0.59 MAY APPLY. APPLICATION OF SURCHARGES AND FEES WILL HAVE THE
 EFFECT OF REDUCING TOTAL MINUTES ACTUALLY RECEIVED ON THE CARD FROM THE MINUTES ANNOUNCED. PRICES AND FEES
 ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE. FOR MORE DETAIL ON RATES AND OTHER CHARGES, PLEASE CONSULT THE CUSTOMER 
 SERVICE. PHONECARDQUICK.COM IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR LOST OR STOLEN PINS AND CHANGES IN THE RATES BY SERVICE 
 PROVIDER. SAFEGUARD YOUR PIN; YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY UNAUTHORIZED USE, LOSS OR THEFT. CARD IS NOT 
 RECHARGEABLE. CARD IS NOT REFUNDABLE OR EXCHANGEABLE (ALL SALES ARE FINAL) UNLESS DEFECTIVE. NEITHER CARD 
 PROVIDER, NETWORK PROVIDER NOR PHONECARDQUICK.COM (“DISTRIBUTOR”) MAKE ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, 
 REGARDING THE CONDITION OR FITNESS OF THE SERVICES OFFERED FOR ANY PARTICULAR USE OR PURPOSE. THE 
 DISTRIBUTOR’S LIABILITY SHALL BE LIMITED TO: DIRECT DAMAGES FOR PERSONAL OR PROPERTY INJURY, AND FOR ALL OTHER
  CLAIMS, AN AMOUNT EQUAL TO THE VALUE OF THIS CARD. IN NO EVENT WILL THE DISTRIBUTOR BE LIABLE FOR PUNITIVE, 
 SPECIAL, INDIRECT, RELIANCE, INCIDENTAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES. THE EXCLUSIVE REMEDY FOR ALL DISPUTES 
 AGAINST DISTRIBUTOR ARISING OUT OF PURCHASE OR USE OF CARD, EXCEPT FOR MATTERS TAKEN TO SMALL CLAIMS COURT, IS
  ARBITRATION BY A SINGLE ARBITRATOR UNDER THE CONSUMER ARBITRATION RULES OF THE AAA. DISPUTES AGAINST 
 DISTRIBUTOR WILL NOT BE HEARD BY A JURY OR IN A COURT AND MAY NOT BE MADE PART OF A CLASS ACTION. CARD MAY BE 
 DEACTIVATED WITHOUT NOTICE IF FRAUD IS REASONABLY SUSPECTED.

Generated 0:03:28 on Oct 23, 2014