State Sues Over Bogus Phone Fees

While paying my wireless phone bill last weekend, I was irritated over the number of bogus fees that Sprint Nextel charges.

Apparently the State of Texas thinks so too. Attorney General Greg Abbot is suing Sprint Nextel over the bogus "Texas Margin Fee", which is just a way of Sprint passing on a cost of business that should be reflected in product price.

This is wonderful—except this $0.30 fee is a drop in the bucket compared to the other bogus fees, many mandated by the state. There is the $0.40 TIF fee, which the state continues to collect, even though the Texas Infrastructure Fund has long since been disbanded. And then there are the various USF fees, which have taken a laudable goal (universal telephone service for all households) and turned it into one of the worst corporate welfare programs for phone carriers.

All in all, there are about $3.00 of bogus fees on my $35.00 bill. The Texas Margin Fee is only a small part of the problem. Maybe somebody needs to sue the Texas legislature to get them to remove the bogus USF and TIF fees from our phone bills.


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re: State Sues Over Bogus Phone Fees

Reminds me of the Federal Excise Tax that got repealed last year. I heard a story about it sometime in the last month or so. You'll be able to get a refund on it as part of your 2006 tax return, so keep it in mind as you do your taxes this year. As usual, if you have the bills from the past 3 years, you can use them for the refund. If you don't, you can claim a standard deduction.

re: State Sues Over Bogus Phone Fees

I believe these phone carriers got what's coming to them. They should not decieve their customers with bogus fees, I won't be surprised if many customers switched phone networks after they noticed these additional fees.