Yep, Grandmom Is Still Renting Her Old Telephone!

July 6, 2010

By Terry Smiljanich:

It seems that the expensive leasing of inexpensive telephones is still good business for AT&T. A Consumer Warning Network reader reported to us that her elderly mom has been renting her old phone for nearly 30 years.

It doesn’t seem to ring true, but unfortunately it is. Read on.

Consumer Warning Network  has reported before that many longtime telephone users, mostly older citizens, are still renting telephones from their telephone company, paying rental fees many times higher than simply buying a new telephone from the local Radio Shack or computer store. AT&T’s leasing service, now called QLT Customer Lease Services, has an arrangement with an advertising service, allowing advertisers to make contact with its “mature audience . . . of long-standing consumer lease customers.”

Well, here we go again.

CWN reader Bobbie Bose, of Speedway, Indiana, discovered her mom who’s in her 70’s, has been renting her old push button telephone from AT&T for at least the past 27 years.  She has been billed $20 every quarter, $80 per year, for the privilege of renting a telephone from the phone company. That comes to $2,160 in rental charges to Ms. Bose.

She does, however, get free maintenance on her telephone. Of course, nothing ever goes wrong with the telephone, and in 27 years she has never once had to call for maintenance on this expensive piece of leased equipment.

Cost of a NEW phone

Radio Shack sells a push button telephone, with last number redial, for $10.99. Ms. Bose could have bought 196 telephones over the past 27 years, enough to start her own telephone network. Or, for the $2,160 she has paid, she could be the proud owner of a gold-plated telephone.

If Ms. Bose ever had to call upon AT&T for telephone maintenance, do you think the company would send a technician out to work on her old phone? It’s more likely the company would just send her another cheap telephone to replace her old one.

Needless to say, her daughter has convinced Ms. Bose to cancel her lease.