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jim28277
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Joined: Feb 09, 2005
Posts: 37

PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2006 9:00 am    Post subject: Another Tax! Reply with quote Back to top

My invoice from Vonange has been steadily climbing since I joined on in February 2005.

My monthly bill back in in Feb'05 was $27.24
Unlimited Plan -----$24.99
Regulatory recovery Fee----- $1.50
FET ----- $0.75

My bill jumped around a little during 2005 as more taxes were added, then removed or reduced.

My current bill in Sept 2006 is $30.29
Unlimited Plan -----$24.99
Reg Recovery Fee ----- $0.99
Emerg 911 Fee ----- $0.99
State Tel Tax (NC) ----- $1.89
Fed Universal Serv tax ----- $1.43

Is there anywhere we can find out what services these fees and taxes are meant to cover? Is there any recourse to these charges? Its not so much that I find these charges untenable, its more a case of where will it stop!

I originally signed on with Voip to get away from the taxman's grasp (firmly attached to hind-end of the public telcos) but now I'm starting to feel that the almighty taxman has found another avenue to feed at the public trough.

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rgnok
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Joined: Jun 12, 2006
Posts: 174

PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2006 9:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Interesting . . . the rest of my bill matches yours pretty closely, except for differences between your NC tax and my OK tax, which is to be expected in different states, but I have no Fed Universal Serv Tax on my last bill dated September 13, 2006 (or on any of my other bills, for that matter).

Is that one new for you, or has it been there before?
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turbo53
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Joined: Jun 24, 2005
Posts: 192
Location: Virginia, USA

PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2006 9:44 am    Post subject: Re: Another Tax! Reply with quote Back to top

jim28277 wrote:
I originally signed on with Voip to get away from the taxman's grasp (firmly attached to hind-end of the public telcos) but now I'm starting to feel that the almighty taxman has found another avenue to feed at the public trough.


Yep...the Feds have discovered Voip. Did you really think they were going to let all that tax revenue slip away as people migrated from traditional POTS?

From a comparison shopping point of view, the taxes on POTS and Voip cancel out and Voip still wins on lower cost. But if it bothers you that much, the only thing you can do is vote your pocketbook this November. Don't get your hopes up, however. Taxes are one of the two certain things in life.

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jim28277
Vonage Forum Junior
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Joined: Feb 09, 2005
Posts: 37

PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2006 10:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

The Fed Universal Serv Tax is new this month. I rec'd the bill October 4 so I am guessing you will se it on your next bill.

rgnok wrote:
Interesting . . . the rest of my bill matches yours pretty closely, except for differences between your NC tax and my OK tax, which is to be expected in different states, but I have no Fed Universal Serv Tax on my last bill dated September 13, 2006 (or on any of my other bills, for that matter).

Is that one new for you, or has it been there before?

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jim28277
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Joined: Feb 09, 2005
Posts: 37

PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2006 10:18 am    Post subject: Re: Another Tax! Reply with quote Back to top

turbo53 wrote:


Yep...the Feds have discovered Voip. Did you really think they were going to let all that tax revenue slip away as people migrated from traditional POTS?

From a comparison shopping point of view, the taxes on POTS and Voip cancel out and Voip still wins on lower cost. But if it bothers you that much, the only thing you can do is vote your pocketbook this November. Don't get your hopes up, however. Taxes are one of the two certain things in life.


I agree that taxes on POTS and Voip cancel each other and Voip wins on lower net cost. I guess I was just venting. You are absolutely on the mark about taxes being a certainty in life. I've given up on the notion of voting in better choices in November. The list of political miscreants on both sides of the house is endless. They should move Washington to Orlando and let the government become another park attraction at Disneyland Razz! It would be funny if it weren't so sad.

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Last edited by jim28277 on Wed Oct 04, 2006 12:48 pm; edited 2 times in total
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sirkism
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Joined: Aug 14, 2006
Posts: 51

PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2006 11:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Why is Vonage contributing the Universal Service Fund (USF)?

"The FCC recently mandated that Voip providers, including Vonage, are required to contribute to the Federal Universal Service Fund (USF). Vonage is committed to complying with this mandate from the FCC. Accordingly, a 5.31% Federal Universal Service Fee will be added to your bill. Vonage does not profit nor benefit in any way from this contribution to the USF. This charge is passed directly to the United States government.

The goals of Universal Service, as mandated by the 1996 Telecommunications Act, are to promote the availability of quality services at just, reasonable, and affordable rates; increase access to advanced telecommunications services throughout the Nation and advance the availability of such services to all consumers. For more information please visit http://www.fcc.gov."
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skin06
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Joined: Aug 27, 2006
Posts: 120
Location: Cheshire, UK

PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2006 12:31 pm    Post subject: Tax Reply with quote Back to top

In the UK we dont seem to have this issue, I pay a straight £7.99/mo ($15.50/mo approx) for an unlimited plan,
I always thought the US was cheaper for these things, apparently not!
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EzCo
Vonage Forum Evangelist
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Joined: Jul 21, 2005
Posts: 533
Location: Southeastern PA

PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2006 12:54 pm    Post subject: Re: Tax Reply with quote Back to top

skin06 wrote:
In the UK we dont seem to have this issue, I pay a straight £7.99/mo ($15.50/mo approx) for an unlimited plan,
I always thought the US was cheaper for these things, apparently not!


Is VAT included in the 7.99?

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jim28277
Vonage Forum Junior
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Joined: Feb 09, 2005
Posts: 37

PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2006 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

sirkism wrote:
Why is Vonage contributing the Universal Service Fund (USF)?

"The FCC recently mandated that Voip providers, including Vonage, are required to contribute to the Federal Universal Service Fund (USF). Vonage is committed to complying with this mandate from the FCC. Accordingly, a 5.31% Federal Universal Service Fee will be added to your bill. Vonage does not profit nor benefit in any way from this contribution to the USF. This charge is passed directly to the United States government.

The goals of Universal Service, as mandated by the 1996 Telecommunications Act, are to promote the availability of quality services at just, reasonable, and affordable rates; increase access to advanced telecommunications services throughout the Nation and advance the availability of such services to all consumers. For more information please visit http://www.fcc.gov."


Thanks for the information about the Universal Service Act. I was not suggesting that Vonage was profiting from these additional fees and taxes, I was only questioning whether we (the consumer) actually received any measurable benefits in return for the fees and taxes. I recognize the goals that underpin the fees and taxes are lofty but the actual results of these efforts are often difficult to measure in practical terms. (I better get off my soap box....I haven't paid for the appropriate permit Boo hoo! )

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rebus
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Joined: Dec 04, 2004
Posts: 448
Location: Tampa Bay

PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2006 2:39 pm    Post subject: Re: Another Tax! Reply with quote Back to top

jim28277 wrote:
I agree that taxes on POTS and Voip cancel each other and Voip wins on lower net cost.

Yes, but the cost differential between POTS and Voip is quickly narrowing. Not counting long distance, which we don't do all that much of these days, the Vonage phone bill is now within $5 of my old Verizon bill.

I'm reasonably happy with Vonage, but even after nearly 2 years as a subscriber, my wife and I still find its quirks annoying-- occasionally sketchy sound quality (popping, echos, the screeching "touch tone" sound generated by certain female voices which has been discussed in this forum extensively, etc.) inbound callers getting "all circuits are busy" during peak talk hours, occasional phantom calls (phone rings, caller ID shows nothing, nothing but dead air or a weird tone upon answering), call waiting beep/click/clunk that is so intrusive that it cuts out the other party for 1-2 seconds... that kind of stuff. Not nearly as smooth as the old Verizon copper service.

I didn't mind so much putting up with service that had some quirks and was a few marks below PSTN quality in order to save money, but that savings is beginning to vanish.

 
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