Sorry about your telephone experience. We had a similar problem two years ago in the Bahamas. We made a short phone call from our hotel, using a credit card, and it cost us around $36.00. I phoned the company to complain about the excessive fee and was promised a partial refund, but it was never credited to our account. I sent a complaint to the FCC but never heard back from them – guess it was too small an issue. I chalked it up to experience and didn’t think about it again until I saw your posting.
We were in Caye Caulker last week and noticed that several of the regular BTL phones were replaced with blue international phone units. They look very similar to the phone we used in Bahamas. For that matter, the phone at the C.C. hotel we stayed at also had one of those phones. If the phones are the same, they’re probably owned by NCIC (www.NCIC.com
), a Texas-based telecommunications firm that specializes in operator-assisted international calls and inmate telecom services. You can see their rate structure here: http://www.ncic.com/FLASH/PDF/International.pdf
It’s a legitimized scam, since they have their exorbitant rates for everyone to see. I’m not sure how they determine which of the 12 calling plans applies to you, but the rates range from $17.50 to $32.50 for a 5-minute call. All international calls have a $10.00/call surcharge.
These are some of their company’s selling points (from their web page):
“CIC has developed a comprehensive package for the hospitality/tourism industry that allows hotels and tour providers to gain back revenues lost to mobile provider and international calling card providers.” “Whether the service is provided from a hotel room, your public phones or even distributed to your clientele directly, we provide the services and the accounting tools that help you realize the gains from our products.”
We bought a BTL calling card and that’s what we used for all of our international calls from Caye Caulker (just punch in the numbers on the blue phones like any other phone). It cost us a fraction of what it would have had we used the phone company’s “service.” Please spread the word on this.