Pay Phone Surcharges for Toll Free (800) Numbers Explained

A charge associated with toll-free calls placed from pay telephones or using a calling card. The surcharge is another way the local telephone company recovers its costs for allowing long distance companies to use its local service equipment.

When you make a toll-free call from a pay phone, just as with any other long distance call from any telephone, the local telephone company for the area where the pay phone is and the local company where the toll-free number is ringing to are both allowing your long distance company to use their local equipment.

The surcharge the long distance company pays to the local company, like portions of the Universal Service Fee and National Access Fee charges, goes toward reimbursing the local telephone companies for the use of their equipment.

Who pays this surcharge?

The long distance company that processes the toll-free call pays the local telephone companies involved. Then, typically, the owner of the toll free number pays it to the long distance carrier who provides his in-coming 1-800 call. The consumer who dials a toll free number from a pay phone using his long distance company calling card is also charged the surcharge by the long distance carrier that issued his calling card.

Where will this fee show on my bill for calls I make with my 1-800 calling card?

Whenever this fee applies, it will be included in the total amount of the call in the itemized call section of your bill.

What if I make more than one call after I've dialed into the 1-800 number for my calling card?

The fee will apply to the number of calls you make, not just to your initial 1-800 connection.