A snippet in this week's Beacon Hill roll call caught our eye when it mentioned leased telephones. In this age of cell-phones, perhaps many folks don't even know that at one time, all telephones were leased from the telephone company.

A bill on Beacon Hill (H 2624) would require phone companies to specify on all bills the exact charge to a customer who is still leasing his or her telephone. Once the customer's cumulative payments for the leased equipment equal or exceed its fair market value, the customer owns the phone at no additional cost.

The customer would have the option to refuse ownership of the phone in writing and continue to lease it.

Supporters of the bill say that many elderly customers have continued leasing phones -- a carryover from decades ago when all phones were leased.

They note that many don't even know there's an option to buy and over the years have paid thousands of dollars to continue to rent the phones.

This sounds like a very good bill. Someone is making LOTS of money here, and it's not the customer.


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