May 19, 2005

 

LD CONCESSION---PRE 1984 THOSE SERVED BY QWEST

 

 

A number of times in the past we have written articles about the telephone concession benefits.  As before, the concession programs cover a myriad of choices, depending upon when and where you retired.  Again, we will not attempt to speak to this “can of worms”, but will attempt to respond to a number of recent events and questions from retirees.

In December of 2003, Qwest notified retirees who were served by an Independent Co. that they would no longer have a concession on their local service.  In addition, they were advised, along with those pre ’84 retirees that they would be required to switch from AT&T Long Distance (the Concession benefit) to Qwest Long Distance.  After encountering several technical problems Qwest notified those retirees who had Qwest local service, I.E., Qwest Dial Tone, that they had to switch from AT&T LD to Qwest LD by March 10, 2005.  If they did not switch they would lose their LD concession.

In this article I will cover just this group of pre-divestiture retirees who have Qwest local service.  Coverage of this item for those who have Independent Co. local service will be reviewed in a later issue.

WE ARE AWARE OF A NUMBER OF RETIREES WHO DID NOT SWITCH BY THE MARCH-10 DATE....QWEST WILL NOT BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THOSE LD CHARGES  FROM AT&T BEYOND THE MARCH 10 DATE. (see below)

IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, REGARDING THIS, CALL YOUR QWEST BUSINESS OFFICE 1-800-244-1111 (CUSTOMER SERVICE)

ALL QWEST SERVICE REPS HAVE BEEN MADE AWARE OF THE ABOVE PROBLEM AND HAVE INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW ASSIST ANY AFFECTED RETIREE.

Some of the questions and activities that have resulted from this program are:

The switch from AT&T LD to Qwest must have been made by March 10, 2005.  

A number of retirees did not meet this date for various reasons.  Qwest did allow them to switch after this date BUT they were responsible for any AT&T Long Distance charges after this date.  In some instances the switch occurred prior to March 10, but the retiree was using an AT&T calling card, which was covered by the existing concession, and any call made after the switch to Qwest, using this card were the responsibility of the retiree.  Due to some areas of miscommunication, Qwest did reimburse these retirees as a gesture of good faith.  Qwest calling cards are not covered or provided under the Qwest concession plan.(Qwest sold their Calling Card business to an outside vendor quite some time ago).

The LD offering provided by Qwest to these retirees was, in general, a plan  which provided for 5 cents a minute for calls with a $20 cap on charges.  I.E.: You could place $100 worth of calls but only had to pay a Max of #20.  This $20 was covered by the LD concession ($25, NWB & Mtn. Bell & $35 PNB).

It should be noted that this LD offering has been withdrawn by Qwest in Mid-April and is no longer available to the general public.  They have, however, grandfathered this to this group of retirees. However, if a retiree moves they will have to choose one of the then available plans. Currently, the retiree’s LD concession would apply to the usage charges of any available Qwest Long Distance calling plan they select.

To clarify a misunderstanding.  There is a charge that the retiree must pay in association with their LD concession.  There is a $2 per line charge.and a 99 cent Interstate Service Fee charge. (see below). 

Interstate Services Fee. Retirees are responsible for monthly calling plan fees.  The long distance concession continues to apply toward usage charges and associated taxes.  Retirees from NWB & Mtn Bell are allowed concession on two lines at their primary residence.  PNB allows only one line with allowance for a second line in a summer/winter vacation home.  However, if the vacation home is served by an Independent Co. no local service is now covered by the concession plan.

If you have any questions regarding this item you should call either the Omaha based concession office...1-800-851-0134 or  1-800-521-0503. We called the concession # 1-800-851-0134 and were told that the $2 per line Domestic Plan Fee and the $.99 Interstate Service Fee was not covered by the concession charge off---only the actual toll call minute of usage charges were covered.

You can view the present Residence LD services available by accessing the Qwest web site…Qwest.com and selecting Residence, then Long Distance, under the Residence heading.  Presently only 3 offerings are shown but we have been told that there are two additional but they haven’t been added to the web site.

A pre-'84 retiree who is served by Qwest signed up for the 5 cent/$20 cap LD plan prior to the March 10 cutoff date.  I understand that this plan has been discontinued but has been grandfathered.  Now two scenarios:

Two questions that we posed to Qwest and their response follows::

Questions:

1. Retiree moves to another Qwest served location in another state.  Does he carry his LD plan with him?

 

2. Retiree moves to a location that is served by an Independent Company, does he continue with his LD plan as long as he chooses Qwest LD?

Answers:

Here’s your answer to both question #1 and #2:  The Choice Long Distance plan (5 cents/$20 cap) would NOT be available at any new address.  Basically, the calling plan becomes unavailable if the plan is removed or the telephone service is disconnected or moved.

Further clarification is available by calling the concession office numbers.

Again, the above only relates to those retirees who retired prior to Jan. 1, 1984 and are served by Qwest for their local service. 

Any additional questions will be served on a first come first served basis.

Howard Rickman

Pres. OrWash PEC

Note: A special thanks to Qwest for their help and assistance ir writing this article.  We couldn't have done it without them.

H