BY ARIEL HERNANDEZ
State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Elmhurst) and the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) released a study showing that international prepaid calling cards on which many New Yorkers rely to speak with family outside of the United States offer poor quality and hidden fees.
The report, titled “Calling Home? Senator Peralta Takes a Hard Look at Prepaid Calling,” included a prepaid card consumer survey, which found that 61 percent of people who used the cards had experienced bad reception, while 80 percent experienced dropped calls and 72 percent used prepaid calling cards that had fewer minutes available than advertised.
“My constituents are being ripped off when using prepaid calling cards to get in touch with their loved ones back home, with very poor quality communication and calls cutting out,” said Peralta, who is the vice chairman of the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee. “We must ensure that we end these bad practices, which mainly affect our hard working immigrant families. We tested some of the most popular prepaid calling card brands and they are providing consumers with deficient service. We have an obligation to protect consumers from unfair business practices. The current political climate, sadly, disregards the protection of the consumer rights of immigrants and we need to step in and make sure they get the services they pay for.”
In an effort to combat prepaid calling card scams, Peralta introduced a bill that would require companies to guarantee quality service, expand disclosure requirements and require companies to list the contact information for government agencies.
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