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  1. #1
    September 18, 2006

    CANTON, OHIO -- A widow rented rotary dial telephones for 42 years,
    paying what her family calculates as thousands of dollars for now
    outdated phones.
    Ester Strogen, 82, of Canton, first leased two black rotary phones--the
    kind with a round dial--in the 1960s. At the time, the telephone
    business was monopolized by AT&T.
    Ma Bell was split into seven smaller companies in 1983. From 1985 to
    1986, customers who leased telephones were given the option to continue
    leasing, buy them or opt out of their agreements.
    Until two months ago, Strogen was still paying AT&T to use the phones
    -- $29.10 every three months, the phone company says. Strogen's
    granddaughters, Melissa Howell and Barb Gordon, ended the arrangement
    when they discovered the bills.

    The number of customers leasing phones dropped from 40 million
    nationwide to about 750,000 today, said John Skalko, spokesman for
    Lucent Technologies, which manages the residential leasing service.
    Strogen paid just under $2,000 to rent the two phones from 1985 until
    they were returned. Before 1985, the rental costs were part of basic
    phone service




    See More: LUcifer Shakes Down Widows




  2. #2
    Paul Hovnanian P.E.
    Guest

    Re: LUcifer Shakes Down Widows

    [email protected] wrote:
    >
    > September 18, 2006
    >
    > CANTON, OHIO -- A widow rented rotary dial telephones for 42 years,
    > paying what her family calculates as thousands of dollars for now
    > outdated phones.
    > Ester Strogen, 82, of Canton, first leased two black rotary phones--the
    > kind with a round dial--in the 1960s. At the time, the telephone
    > business was monopolized by AT&T.
    > Ma Bell was split into seven smaller companies in 1983. From 1985 to
    > 1986, customers who leased telephones were given the option to continue
    > leasing, buy them or opt out of their agreements.


    Back when AT&T first gave customers the option to use their own
    equipment, my folks jumped on the deal. They were offered the option of
    buying their dial wall phone (for over a hundred dollars, IIRC) or
    paying about a hundred dollars to have a technician come out and remove
    it.

    When my dad called the service department, he picked option #3, which
    was that he would remove it and bring it in himself. The service rep
    tried to pressure him into allowing a tech. to come out and remove it,
    as phones were far too complex for the average person to understand.

    We removed the phone ourselves and found an old piece of broken sheet
    rock in the garage (left over from some other project). We screwed the
    AT&T phone onto the sheet rock, with about 10' of old telco wire still
    attached. My dad brought it to the AT&T service center, plunked it down
    on the counter and the service rep didn't say a word.

    --
    Paul Hovnanian mailto:[email protected]
    ------------------------------------------------------------------
    There are only 10 kinds of people in this world,
    those who understand binary and those who don't.



  3. #3
    Larry
    Guest

    Re: LUcifer Shakes Down Widows

    [email protected] wrote in news:1158624682.511471.196010
    @i42g2000cwa.googlegroups.com:

    > CANTON, OHIO -- A widow rented rotary dial telephones for 42 years,
    > paying what her family calculates as thousands of dollars for now
    > outdated phones.
    >


    I didn't find out until pawing through his papers after his death last
    January that my 82 year old father was paying ATT long distance
    connection charges he never used, about $15 to $25/month over the years,
    added on by Bell$outh. My calls to ATT about them ripping him off, of
    course, fell on deaf ears.

    If anyone has an elderly parent, you need to go over their phone bills
    every month to prevent this. Telephone employees call them to sell them
    many services they don't need, slamming if you will. Dad paid Bell$outh
    for "maintenance" of his 32' long phone wire to one outlet, some god-
    awful monthly service fee to "guarantee good service". It's a goddamned
    pair of cheap wires and a cheap plastic socket screwed to the baseboard!
    More tech savvy children of the elderly can put a stop to it. Some of
    his telephone bills were over $190 just because he was still using Bell
    $outh long distance ripoffs, not some cheap 5c/min aftermarket company
    they made him believe would be intermittent and impossible to hear, which
    is bull****, of course.

    Ask your dad to see his phone bill. It's too late to ask mine.



    --
    There's amazing intelligence in the Universe.
    You can tell because none of them ever called Earth.



  4. #4
    nas
    Guest

    Re: LUcifer Shakes Down Widows

    So at 62 years of age the woman made the decision to keep renting her
    phones. She was obviously happy with her service and the quality of the
    phones as she CHOSE to continue doing what she was doing.

    While I agree that it was unwise financially, it did appear to be her choice
    and she obviously wasn't on her last legs. I don't see much difference
    beween this and people who chose to lease a car or buy a car on credit or
    buy insurance on depreciating consumer goods. I never do it, but that
    doesn't mean someone else thinks it's worth their money. It's easy to blame
    companies for providing a service and making a profit. In this case, Lucent
    Technologies.





  5. #5
    Larry
    Guest

    Re: LUcifer Shakes Down Widows

    "Paul Hovnanian P.E." <[email protected]> wrote in
    news:[email protected]:

    > We removed the phone ourselves and found an old piece of broken sheet
    > rock in the garage (left over from some other project). We screwed the
    > AT&T phone onto the sheet rock, with about 10' of old telco wire still
    > attached. My dad brought it to the AT&T service center, plunked it down
    > on the counter and the service rep didn't say a word.
    >
    >


    When I dumped Comcrap Broadband, I bought a 99c 1200 baud modem from the
    thrift shop whos case was the same color as the real cable modem I rented
    from them. I took it out on the concrete and put a big hammer to it,
    beating it into unrecognizable pieces. I swept the pieces into an old
    paper bag, the worst looking one I could find.

    At the Comcrap office's service desk, I dumped the pieces out in front of
    them and said, "Here's your ****ty modem on your ****ty cable internet
    service."...the pieces going everywhere off onto the floor.

    The look on their faces?.......PRICELESS.

    After leaving, I got their modem out of the car and took it back in,
    having achieved my objectives....(c;

    Try it...feels GREAT after you've been lied to all that time.....(c;



    --
    There's amazing intelligence in the Universe.
    You can tell because none of them ever called Earth.



  6. #6
    Jer
    Guest

    Re: LUcifer Shakes Down Widows

    nas wrote:
    > So at 62 years of age the woman made the decision to keep renting her
    > phones. She was obviously happy with her service and the quality of the
    > phones as she CHOSE to continue doing what she was doing.
    >
    > While I agree that it was unwise financially, it did appear to be her choice
    > and she obviously wasn't on her last legs. I don't see much difference
    > beween this and people who chose to lease a car or buy a car on credit or
    > buy insurance on depreciating consumer goods. I never do it, but that
    > doesn't mean someone else thinks it's worth their money. It's easy to blame
    > companies for providing a service and making a profit. In this case, Lucent
    > Technologies.
    >
    >



    I don't have a problem with adults making their own decisions, so long
    as those decisions are made from an informed perspective. That doesn't
    happen if the consumer doesn't know what questions deserve an
    informative answer, and you don't usually get that from the same company
    offering the service that creates the need for questions. Companies
    that intentionally take advantage of this "info gap" are the scourge of
    business and have earned the privilege of being obliterated from
    existence regardless of any other benefits they provide to the economy -
    their replacement will be offered the same opportunities to conduct
    themselves in an honest manner - or they're next.

    --
    jer
    email reply - I am not a 'ten'



  7. #7
    Joel Kolstad
    Guest

    Re: LUcifer Shakes Down Widows

    "Jer" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > I don't have a problem with adults making their own decisions, so long as
    > those decisions are made from an informed perspective. That doesn't happen
    > if the consumer doesn't know what questions deserve an informative answer,
    > and you don't usually get that from the same company offering the service
    > that creates the need for questions.


    Good point, although I rather feel that "caveat emptor" does still apply to
    some degree -- until demonstrated otherwise, the smart consumer should
    *presume* any company that they'll engage in business with may try to take
    advantage of their naivete.

    > Companies that intentionally take advantage of this "info gap" are the
    > scourge of business and have earned the privilege of being obliterated from
    > existence regardless of any other benefits they provide to the economy -
    > their replacement will be offered the same opportunities to conduct
    > themselves in an honest manner - or they're next.


    That's more wishful thinking than reality, I think.






  8. #8

    Re: LUcifer Shakes Down Widows

    nas wrote:
    > So at 62 years of age the woman made the decision to keep renting her
    > phones. She was obviously happy with her service and the quality of the
    > phones as she CHOSE to continue doing what she was doing.
    >
    > While I agree that it was unwise financially, it did appear to be her choice
    > and she obviously wasn't on her last legs. I don't see much difference
    > beween this and people who chose to lease a car or buy a car on credit or
    > buy insurance on depreciating consumer goods. I never do it, but that
    > doesn't mean someone else thinks it's worth their money. It's easy to blame
    > companies for providing a service and making a profit. In this case, Lucent
    > Technologies.


    Kind of like when gypsies go house to house offering to seal driveways
    with used motor oil.

    For that kind of money, Carmela should have stopped by semi-annually
    and cleaned the widow's home.

    JG




  9. #9
    Larry
    Guest

    Re: LUcifer Shakes Down Widows

    [email protected] wrote in
    news:[email protected]:

    > It's easy to blame
    >> companies for providing a service and making a profit. In this case,
    >> Lucent Technologies.

    >
    > Kind of like when gypsies go house to house offering to seal driveways
    > with used motor oil.
    >


    EXcellent analogy....Just look at any cellphone company...(c;



    --
    There's amazing intelligence in the Universe.
    You can tell because none of them ever called Earth.



  10. #10
    The Ghost of General Lee
    Guest

    Re: LUcifer Shakes Down Widows

    On 19 Sep 2006 16:01:00 -0700, [email protected] wrote:

    >nas wrote:
    >> So at 62 years of age the woman made the decision to keep renting her
    >> phones. She was obviously happy with her service and the quality of the
    >> phones as she CHOSE to continue doing what she was doing.
    >>
    >> While I agree that it was unwise financially, it did appear to be her choice
    >> and she obviously wasn't on her last legs. I don't see much difference
    >> beween this and people who chose to lease a car or buy a car on credit or
    >> buy insurance on depreciating consumer goods. I never do it, but that
    >> doesn't mean someone else thinks it's worth their money. It's easy to blame
    >> companies for providing a service and making a profit. In this case, Lucent
    >> Technologies.

    >
    >Kind of like when gypsies go house to house offering to seal driveways
    >with used motor oil.


    No, not at all. The gypsies lie about what they are doing. They
    don't send you a bill each month with their charge itemized. Apples
    and oranges.

    >For that kind of money, Carmela should have stopped by semi-annually
    >and cleaned the widow's home.
    >


    From the article:

    "From 1985 to 1986, customers who leased telephones were given the
    option to continue leasing, buy them or opt out of their agreements."

    So she chose to continue leasing the phones. Not a choice I would
    make, but she either made the conscious choice to continue leasing or
    paid the bills for all those years without looking at them and asking
    questions. Hard to fault Lucent for that, since they provided those
    "outdated" phones that still worked after 42 years. If there is any
    blame to be placed, I put it on the family for not recognizing the
    issue before now. Surely someone had to have visited her home and saw
    the rotary dial phones. I know it would have caught my eye. Then
    they put granny's name in the paper and try to make it look like a
    phone company shook her down because of a decision she made.

    Quite shameful.




  11. #11
    The Ghost of General Lee
    Guest

    Re: LUcifer Shakes Down Widows

    On Tue, 19 Sep 2006 09:01:33 -0400, Larry <[email protected]> wrote:

    >After leaving, I got their modem out of the car and took it back in,
    >having achieved my objectives....(c;


    What was that? Making yourself look like a psychopath?




  12. #12
    Ange1o DePa1ma
    Guest

    Re: LUcifer Shakes Down Widows

    "Jer" <[email protected]> wrote

    > Companies that intentionally take advantage of this "info gap" are the
    > scourge of business and have earned the privilege of being obliterated
    > from existence regardless of any other benefits they provide to the
    > economy - their replacement will be offered the same opportunities to
    > conduct themselves in an honest manner - or they're next.


    What on earth do you think advertising is? It's a technique for exploiting
    the information gap as you call it. "Zipco is the best garbage bag because
    it uses PhenortnerGuard(tm) plastic..." How many people go out and test
    their favorite garbage bags against others? How about TVs? Computers? cars?
    For expensive items we might read reviews, but even then if consumers
    performed due diligence on every purchase over $200, that is all we'd do.
    Lying about products and taking advantage of misinformed or uninformed
    consumers is part of business.





  13. #13
    DanR
    Guest

    Re: LUcifer Shakes Down Widows

    Ange1o DePa1ma wrote:
    > "Jer" <[email protected]> wrote
    >
    >> Companies that intentionally take advantage of this "info gap" are
    >> the scourge of business and have earned the privilege of being
    >> obliterated from existence regardless of any other benefits they
    >> provide to the economy - their replacement will be offered the same
    >> opportunities to conduct themselves in an honest manner - or they're
    >> next.

    >
    > What on earth do you think advertising is? It's a technique for
    > exploiting the information gap as you call it. "Zipco is the best
    > garbage bag because it uses PhenortnerGuard(tm) plastic..." How many
    > people go out and test their favorite garbage bags against others?
    > How about TVs? Computers? cars? For expensive items we might read
    > reviews, but even then if consumers performed due diligence on every
    > purchase over $200, that is all we'd do. Lying about products and
    > taking advantage of misinformed or uninformed consumers is part of
    > business.


    HEADON APPLY DIRECTLY TO YOUR HEAD!!!!!





  14. #14
    Larry
    Guest

    Re: LUcifer Shakes Down Widows

    "Ange1o DePa1ma" <[email protected]> wrote in
    news:[email protected]:

    > Lying about products and taking advantage of misinformed or uninformed
    > consumers is part of business.
    >
    >


    Er, ah, and which carrier do YOU work for??....



    --
    There's amazing intelligence in the Universe.
    You can tell because none of them ever called Earth.



  15. #15
    Quick
    Guest

    Re: LUcifer Shakes Down Widows

    The Ghost of General Lee wrote:
    > On Tue, 19 Sep 2006 09:01:33 -0400, Larry
    > <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    >> After leaving, I got their modem out of the car and took
    >> it back in, having achieved my objectives....(c;

    >
    > What was that? Making yourself look like a psychopath?


    Larry gets his jollies trying to impress minimum wage
    workers behind the help desks. You know, captive audience.
    The "priceless look" on the workers face?

    Worker: This scumbag just dumped garbage on my counter.
    They're paying me minimum wage to have to talk
    to the scum of the earth and they'll probably expect
    me to pick up that crap too.

    Larry: That college kid just had a heart attack because they
    thought I actually destroyed one of the millions of
    precious company modems. hahahahaha I've got
    to rush back and tell the usenet group about this one!!!

    -Quick





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