How Long-Distance Scams Work

Long Distance Fees and Taxes

Your long-distance carrier also has the option of passing on some fees to you. We talk about these fees later in this article, but here are some that are linked to your long-distance bill and are not regulated in the amount that can be charged to you. Make sure you check with the long-distance carrier to see what it charges its customers for these fees.

  • The Presubscribed Interexchange Carrier Charge (PICC) is a charge that the long-distance carrier has to pay the local telephone company for providing the phone systems to its customers. (PIC -- Presubscribed Interexchange Carrier -- is the term the industry uses to refer to a long-distance carrier.) The PICC is usually $1.04 per month, but there is no law about how much it should be, or if it has to be charged at all. Some long-distance carriers don't charge the fee to their customers at all, and some more than double the fee.

  • The Universal Service Fund Charge (USF) is another charge that you may or may not see on your long-distance bill. This charge, which is used to help provide phone service to rural areas, low-income customers and others, is usually a percentage of your out-of-state and international long-distance charges. The typical amount that long-distance carriers charge is 6 percent, but once again, they can charge anything they want.