Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Friday, March 27, 1998

MCI fields complaint
on monthly access fee

MCI is now charging a $1.07 monthly national access fee. They say the FCC requires all long-distance companies to pay a fee to local companies, beginning January 1998.

This was never presented to me by MCI. It's impossible to get through to MCI to speak to a human being. What is going on?

MCI did advise customers of the fee before it was instituted, said MCI spokesman Brad Burns.

"The last thing we want to do is blindside our customers."

However, the Federal Communications Commission is investigating the fees being charged by MCI, AT&T and Sprint after customers like you began complaining.

Some background: The FCC last year changed the method by which long-distance carriers paid local phone companies for connecting long-distance calls. A per-line charge was imposed in place of a per-minute charge.

The FCC said the new fees were supposed to be offset by reductions in other fees paid by long-distance companies. Instead, the FCC says, the carriers are overcharging customers and blaming new federal fees for the problem.

The flat line fee is $2.75 a month for businesses with multiple phone lines, 53 cents a month for those with one line and $1.50 a month for homes with more than one line.

But the long-distance companies said they can't get accurate information from local phone companies about the type and number of lines a customer has.

The carriers are upset at having to "play fee collector" for the local phone companies, MCI's Burns said. For one thing, he said, the local companies, such as GTE Hawaiian Telephone, present MCI with an overall monthly charge, "without any substantiation" as to how many lines there are in each home or small business.

"So basically, we have to account for multiple-line homes, which increases the fee," Burns said in explaining the average $1.07 a month charge.

He said MCI is charged even if you make no long distance calls in a month, but that MCI itself will not bill you that month.

If you call 1-800-444-3333, MCI's customer service number, you should be able to "speak to a real human being," MCI said.


Since when did the Hawaiian Humane Society start charging $10 for stray pickups? I called them to pick up a stray cat we caught and they wanted to charge us $10. Our option is to turn it loose, which will only make it breed more.

The humane society has been charging for pickups "for some time," said spokeswoman Eve Holt.

The fee initially was $5, but was doubled a couple of years ago.

The society, at 2700 Waialae Ave., is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, "which certainly makes us accessible," Holt said.

If you want the society to pick up animals, "someone has to pay for the service, either the individual asking or by us asking for donations," Holt said. It was decided the pickup fee was the most fair.

"We hope (you) don't release the cat into the wild because obviously, (you) want to do the right thing," Holt said.


Free fabric

Someone has large pieces of scrap fabric that could be used for crafts. Call Kokua Line, 525-8686, and we'll pass on your name.



To the woman driving the gray Buick and other motorists who illegally turn right from the straight-ahead-only lane coming out of Waikele on Lumiauau Street. When traffic backs up on Kamehameha Highway many mornings, you steal the limited space meant for vehicles exiting Seaview. No wonder it takes 30 minutes to get onto the highway! Be considerate and show your children the proper way to drive.

Need help with problems? Call Kokua Line at 525-8686,
fax 525-6711, or write to P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu 96802.
Email to kokualine@starbulletin.com

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor] [Stylebook] [Feedback]

© 1998 Honolulu Star-Bulletin