FTC Hangs Up on Deceptive Phone Cards

By Holly Doering/ Communications

How would you like to buy a phone card that delivered, on average, just 40 percent of the minutes it promised? If you bought prepaid overseas phone cards like “Beautiful Asia” and “Pearls of Africa” from DR Phone Communications, this may have happened to you.

The Federal Trade Commission is now suing the company for deceptive advertising. It’s my understanding that, as always, if they win the suit, consumers may get some of their money back. According to the FTC, DR Phone printed posters stating “No fees,” “No connection fee,” and “No maintenance fee,” while failing to adequately disclose extra fees. Small print stated “international calls made to cellular phones and calls via toll-free numbers are billed at higher rate” without saying what that rate was.

And when the FTC tested 169 of the company’s cards, they say they found that 100 percent delivered fewer than the minutes advertised, with the average providing only 40.42 percent of the promised time. The worst-performing card delivered less than one percent of the advertising minutes.

The company has agreed to temporarily stop its misleading claims pending a trial. For more information please visit the FTC webpage.

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