When you place a long-distance call from a public phone – such as a payphone, hotel, or airport phone – using a calling card or access code for long-distance service you subscribe to, there’s a chance it may be routed to a distant call center before being handed off to your long-distance company. As a result, you might be billed as if your call originated from the distant call center rather than the actual location, with a higher long-distance rate than you expected.
This practice is known as “call splashing.”
Is it legal?
A telephone company is permitted to base charges on an alternative point of origination if you:
- Request a transfer to a different company's operator
- Are informed (before incurring any charges) that the call may be billed as if it originated elsewhere
- Consent to the transfer
Avoid being splashed
- Listen carefully to the telephone operator and don't consent to any call transfers unless you understand what the operator is asking.
- Carefully read your phone bill to ensure the origination and destination locations of your long-distance phone calls are correct.
- If your call has been billed at a higher rate without your consent, file a complaint with your long-distance company.
- If you are unable to resolve the matter with your long-distance company, you can file a complaint with the FCC.
Call Splashing: Long-Distance Calling from a Public Phone: Word | PDF