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Letters of the Week

We don't know about you, but travel always makes us want to write long juicy letters to everyone we know. Maybe it's bragging rights, maybe it's a burst of poetic inspiration from seeing the Taj Mahal, but one way or another, suitcases and sunsets in strange places turn us into letter-writing fools. So, if it turns out you're the same way....be sure to include us in your list of people you just have to drop a line to. Don't worry, you will make us jealous...but hopefully we'll also be inspired by your adventures.

Want to see what other Savvy visitors have to say? Read our letters of the week, and be sure to tell us what you think. We'd love to hear from you!

July 27, 2001

Reach Out and GOUGE Someone: The Perils of Using Calling Cards Overseas

Dear Savvy Traveler:

In the past, you've warned us all against making long distance calls from hotels abroad using the hotel operator, due to the exorbitant charges you will incur. But I think you should also warn travelers to be careful about using calling cards provided by U.S. long-distance companies.

My daughter recently returned from an eight-week study abroad program in France. She returned just after our first bill arrived from MCI. In some cases, we were charged $7.73 per minute. What's scary is this is just the first bill - we're still waiting for the second month. Ultimately, the phone bill will end up costing more than the airline ticket!

I contacted MCI for an explanation, and the customer service rep told me that yes, the rates were correct - and to please continue using their services. I bet they want me to continue using their services. I got taken by this long-distance provider, but I don't want other travelers to learn the same lesson the hard way. The moral of the story: Be very wary of calling cards.



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