Truly free phone sex

Posted by / 02-Apr-2015 14:10

A Newington woman was surprised when her February telephone bill arrived last week with a .80 collect call from a phone sex talk line.She discovered that the collect call from the sex line had been requested by her 13-year-old son and his friend, who had first called a toll-free 800-number that appeared in an advertisement.She said the 800-number call-back service should be prohibited even though the sex line clearly instructed those under 18 years old to hang up, and made it clear that customers were agreeing to pay for a collect call-back.The operator of the sex line, American Telnet of Santa Clara, Calif., could not be reached. Spangler, deputy chief of an enforcement division at the FCC, said the agency has received at least one complaint about American Telnet and is seeking a response from the company.After the Newington woman complained to Southern New England Telephone and American Telnet's billing agency, the charge for the call was removed from her bill.Normally reserved for toll-free calls, 800-numbers now are being used by operators of sex lines and other controversial services.Despite being toll-free, 800-numbers can be used to charge callers' phone in several ways.As in the Newington case, the promoter can call back the customer collect.

The woman was angry not only with her son, but with the sex line operator, who she said is making deceptive use of toll-free numbers as an alternative to the infamous 900-number lines.

The Federal Communications Commission, concerned over the use of 800-numbers to place charges on callers' telephone bills, has proposed regulations that would ban the practice.

Those services began using 800-numbers after manytelephone companies, including SNET, gave customers the option of blocking 900-number calls from their phones.

The blocking option was offered in response to complaints from parents, businesses and others about exorbitant charges that appeared on their telephone bill as a result of calls to 900-number sex lines and other services.

The regulations are required under the federal Telephone Disclosure and Dispute Resolution Act, which became law last year.

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The Newington mother, whose name is not being used in this story in order to protect her son's privacy, says the restrictions are needed."Essentially, what [the companies] are selling is sex, and I don't think [my son] should be able to buy it over the phone, especially because he's a minor," the woman said.

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