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Track the Status of the "Calling Card Consumer Protection Act"

We've just found a handy page on the website for tracking the status of the "Calling Card Consumer Protection Act". This is a bill introduced in the House of Representatives that would establish more rigorous consumer protections in the calling card industry.

There is companion bill in the Senate on this page: Prepaid Calling Card Consumer Protection Act of 2009. The House version has been passed, but the Senate version has not come up for vote.

Given other priorities in Congress these days, neither of these bills are likely to be going anywhere, but we thought the pages might be of interest. One nice feature of the site is that you can track these bills if you register.

For those who are interested, provides a summary of the legislation as follows:

Requires providers or distributors of prepaid calling cards, including cards that use interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) or a successor protocol, to accurately disclose in a clear and conspicuous manner information about:

  1. the provider's name, customer service number, and hours of service;
  2. the card's number of minutes or dollar value;
  3. per minute rates or a toll-free number to obtain rates;
  4. fees and charges;
  5. time period limits, any predetermined decrease in value over a period of time, and expiration dates; and
  6. refund and recharge policies. Treats a violation as an unfair or deceptive act or practice under the Federal Trade Commission Act and requires the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to enforce this Act. Requires the Comptroller General to report to Congress on the effectiveness of this Act and its required disclosures.

This is all very good stuff in our opinion and should work very nicely with online calling cards. However, this is a large amount of information to convey and it may be difficult to include with physical cards sold at retail stores.

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