Time Warner Cable has figured how to make customers pay more for a "service" that consists of doing absolutely nothing: it doubled its fee to not print customers' names in the phone book. Time Warner now charges $1.99 a month, or almost $24 a year, for an unlisted number. Verizon charges $1.75 a month not to list your name in its phone book, and AT&T charges $1.25 a month not to provide the same service. Why charge a fee every month, when the request is made once, carried out with a few keystrokes, and then is done? Jim Gordon, a spokesman for Time Warner, says "It's a recurring service that you're provided throughout the month." This means Time Warner charges customers for a service that consists of doing nothing, and since they don't do anything month after month, they keep charging you for a "recurring service." Even worse, Time Warner doesn't even print its own phone book. It pays Sprint to compile its customers' names and numbers, and then give them to companies that do print directories. So Time Warner is charging people $1.99 a month not to be in a book they don't even produce. In 2009, a California State Senator introduced legislation to prohibit telecom companies from charging fees for unlisted numbers, arguing that it should not cost customers more to protect their privacy, but the legislator abandoned the bill after phone and cable companies lobbied against it.
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