Knowing the fine print on pay phone chargesPosted: Updated:
MESA - You're warned about skateboarding, rollerblading and scooters at a Walgreens in Mesa.
You're also told about towing and taking shopping carts, but what you're not warned about is the extra fees when you use plastic in this payphone.
Greg Kenny found out the hard way.
"Came to the phone, dialed my home number, and it said to insert my card or insert coins," Kenny said.
With little more than a penny in his pocket, he inserted his debit card, dialed home and hung up.
"It doesn't say there are extra charges for a card or anything so I assumed it was $.50," Kenny said.
But it wasn't.
Days later, Kenny checked his bank statement and saw he'd been charged a whopping $11.27 for a 20 second local phone call. A call that would've cost $.50 if he'd had change.
"$.50 for a local call is still getting up there, I understand everyone has a cell phone, they gotta make their money but $12, $20 bucks for a phone call, that's a little ridiculous," Kenny said.
As it turns out, the extra fees may be completely legit.
Qwest's company logos may be all over the payphone, but Quest doesn't actually own it.
Qwest sold its payphone division to a company called FSH Communications back in May 2004.
FSH is a coin-only service, and uses a company called BBG, Inc to handle other payment methods.
BBG then uses other companies to process specific credit cards like Visa and Mastercard.
"The misconception here is that anybody regulates these businesses, they do not," Attorney General Terry Goddard said.
Attorney General Terry Goddard said while the rules against fraud may apply, there is no single agency responsible for overseeing fees tacked-on by secondary payphone companies.
FSH Communications said "It tries to post warning signs by each of its 5800 Arizona payphones, but that it's always an issue because of the very limited space on a payphone."
3 On Your Side couldn't find anything like it on that payphone in Mesa.
With no sign in sight, Kenny said he was mislead and should've been warned that he was going to be charged so much to connect.
Walgreens issued this statement, ""Walgreens does not set prices for calls made on pay phones outside of its stores. Prices must be displayed on each pay phone. This is an issue between the customer and the phone company involved. We've never heard any complaints about pay phones or their prices before this from anyone in the Phoenix area." Keep in mind you can get a rate quote for your phone call by dialing zero to reach an operator.
For more information on this story, including how to get some of your money back call FSH Communications at 312.269.9937 or BBG, Inc. at 858-997-0024 or visit .
For information on payphone costs, .