The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 17, 1997 · Page 2
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 2

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Salina, Kansas
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Saturday, May 17, 1997
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Page 2
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THE SALINA JOURNAL GREAT PLAINS SATURDAY, MAY 17, 1997 A3 T TELEPHONE SERVICE Competition closing on Southwestern Bell Valu-Line, Feist move into local phone market; Bell eyes long distance By ALF ABUHAJLEH The Saltna Journal Southwestern Bell claims its 116-year-old monopoly on the Kansas local telephone service market is broken and that competition has begun. But rival phone companies say Southwestern Bell hasn't done enough to spur real competition. "It isn't a competitive market until Southwestern Bell's services are functioning better," said Steve Sauder, owner of Valu-Line, an Emporia-based long-distance carrier that in March began offering local phone services. "It takes too long for us to connect new customers to our system," he said. "It needs to happen quickly and without any problems." Todd Feist, president of Wichita- based Feist Long Distance, said that until someone other than Southwestern Bell has a statewide telephone network, there won't be real competition in the local telephone service market. Southwestern Bell has signed agreements with 13 Kansas companies allowing them to provide local T CONSUMER CORNER State law protects consumers Credit-card users should know the right times to give out account number Dear Attorney General Stovall: Recently I became the holder of my first credit card. I have many concerns about credit cards and the possibility that someone could misuse my account number for unauthorized purchases. One Of my biggest concerns is the use of the account number as identification on my checks. It would appear that this practice would provide easy access to my account number for any employee who handled my check — from the clerk to the accountant. Before I had my credit card, some * businesses were reluctant to accept my checks as payment when I told them I did not have a major credit card. How much information are they allowed to take from the credit card now that I have one? Attorney General Stovall, is there any way to r.void this practice or do I just take my chances? : Dear Kansas Consumer: There is a section of the Kansas Consumer Protection Act which specifically addresses your questions. You and every other consumer who holds a credit card have the right to be concerned about the misuse of your account number, so the KCPA provides some protection. The act states that a person who is presented a check shall not require, as a condition of acceptance or a means of identification, a credit card num- tier or expiration date, unless such credit is issued by the person requesting the information. ; For example, if you have a credit card for a major department store, the clerk may record the number of Ijie store's credit card on your Check as a condition of acceptance. Tfhe act does not prohibit the clerk from asking the purchaser to display a credit card as an indication of their credit worthiness and fi- dancial responsibility or as addi- tyonal identification. However, the qnly information the person may record is the type of credit card displayed and the issuer of the credit card. Further, the act does not prohibit a person from requesting or receiving a credit card number or expiration date and recording that iriformation in lieu of a security deposit or to assure payment in the qvent of default, loss or damage, for example, this is a commonly accepted practice with most automobile rentals and hotels. The act does not prohibit a person from recording a credit card number and Expiration date as a condition for cashing a check where that person lias agreed with the credit card issuer to cash checks as a service to that issuer's cardholders. ', In summary, a supplier may ask tp view a credit card to assure that a check writer is financially responsible. However, only the type of card &id the issurer of the card may be recorded. A supplier may use a cred- i| card number in lieu of a security deposit, or if there is an arrangement to cash checks as a courtesy for the card issuer's cardholders. I phone services over its network, which covers Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas. Under the agreement, Feist Long Distance and Valu-Line receive a 14.9 percent discount on the access charges they pay Southwestern Bell to use phona lines and switchboards. "They show you the contract and say 'here's what we offer,' " Feist said. "There's no other company that we can negotiate with. The margin we operate under is set by someone else." Valu-Line was the first phone company to compete for a share of Southwestern Bell's 1.2 million residential and business customers in Kansas. Sauder said the company in two months has added 1,500 customers, bringing the total count to 14,500 customers. About 3,700 of them have consolidated their local and long-distance telephone bills with the company, he said. It takes two days for the company to connect new customers with long-distance services and about a week for the local services to go through, he said. Sauder said the company needs to be able to connect local services in two days to be competitive. "We have really exceeded .our projections and are a little bit ahead in our timeline in order for South- "I truly think (Southwestern Bell) is willing to cooperate and that the problem is technology." Steve Sauder owner of Valu-Line western Bell to keep up," Sauder said. "I truly think (Southwestern Bell) is willing to cooperate and that the problem is technology." Larry Pfautsch, spokesman for Southwestern Bell, said the company is eager to open the market to competition so it can offer long-distance services. Under last year's telecommunication act, Southwestern Bell can't enter the long-distance market until the Federal Communications Commission is convinced there is sufficient competition in the local market. "We hope to begin offering long- distance services in the second part of this year," Pfautsch said. "The big money can be made in the long- distance arena, not in the local service where basic rates have been steady in well over a decade." "We have done what we can to open up the market," he said. "Now it's up to them to begin providing the services." Feist Long Distance is the latest company to offer local telephone services in Kansas. Like Valu-Line, Feist Long Distance's services are available to Kansans eligible for Southwestern Bell services. The company started taking orders for local telephone services Wednesday and is expected to begin the service by the end of May, Feist, said. Feist Long Distance has added 1,000 customers to its pool of 13,000. While telephone customers can pick their carriers, the basic rate for local phone calls are mainly the same. Southwestern Bell's average monthly base rate is $16.56 for residential accounts and $24.25 a month for business accounts, depending on where customers are located. Valu-Line charges the same rate, but offers a discount on long-distance services to customers who consolidate local and long-distance telephone services. Valu-Line customers pay a flat rate of 9.9 cents a minute for calls within the 48 contiguous states. Customers who buy only the long-distance service pay 10.7 cents a minute. "The benefit of switching to Valu-Line is that you pay one bill to one company," Sauder said. "If you have inquiries or problems with any of your phone services, we take care of them." Valu-Line charges a $5 fee to switch to its services. Feist Long Distance doesn't charge customers for switching companies, but requires local telephone customers to use their long- distance telephone services. Also, Feist Long Distance's monthly basic rates are 10 percent less than Southwestern Bell, averaging about $15.10 a month for residential customers and $22 a month for businesses. Residential customers pay a flat rate of 12 cents a minute for long- distance calls within the lower 48 states, and businesses pay 10 cents a minute. "The reason we ask customers to buy both our services is so that they can enjoy the benefits of bundled services," he said. "In the future, we might offer local and long- distance services separately." MAURE WEIGH Auto - Home Insurance Phone 827-2906 115 East Iron CARLA STOVALL Kansas Attorney General Come Help Us Celebrate the Grand Opening of Our New Super-Store In Oklahoma Cltyl Save Bio While MidWest TV Grows, Bringing You the Largest Selection on Top Name Brand Appliances & Electronics! All Stores are Joining In the Celebration and Passing the Savings on to You, because...What We Do Best...Is Save You Money! 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Must pay entire balance in lull within 6 months to receive no interest. 6 Months No Interests No Payments ate available on selected items only with credit approval Must pay entire balance within 6 Months to receive noinlerest. Payments are 1/30th ol Highest Average Daily Balance, with credit approval at 23.88% APR. Lifetime Price Guarantee Is excluded on mail orders. For every product we sell, we'll beat any legitimate price from a local store stocking the same new item in a factory-sealed box. Even alter you purchase. If you find a lower price during the lifetime of the product, we'll refund the difference our lile-time Price Guarantee is excluded on cellular phones. DSS/DBS product and pagers. Not responsible for typograplical errors. Some items have limited quanlities. , ated warranty $ 399 TV & APPLIANCE I i n o When you need to know. 825-6OOO Using a touch-tone phone, call Community Line at 825-6000. Then, enter one of the 4-digit categories listed below. /* CATEGORY MENU ........ 1000 f ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT Salina & Region ............ (ARTS)2787 »- ADVENTURE/TRIVIA GAMES Adventure Arcade ...................... 6942 Outer Space Adventures ............ 6872 Ghost Hunters ........................... 6874 Treasure Seekers ......................... 6875 Wizard World ...... . ............... 6873 The Weekly "Arcade Gaitte,..».. 6947 Trivia Arcade. , ........... ! 6902 Interactive Trivia .«, ...... .... 6903 Entertammentlfavtt,.!.....,.. 6904 Sports Trivi* ...... .' ..... ».* ........ 6906 History Trivia ........ ,.. l ..«6907 ' Really 'Hard trivja ....... '..: ..... 6905 ' Really keallyHafatrWfl... ..... 6908 Newspaper Trm».,...r«%»»«. ' 6940: Weekly Expert Trivia .................. 6941 •r COMEDY Joke of the DijU.^..».».., * " 6865 •rEDUCHWfAL \*'','?} •'• Salina Public School Infb.J......,6050' KS Wesleyan Info Un«",..«.A.^ 5984 Brown Mackie College Info 5466 __ •^EMPLOYMENT . :' job Talk...'.,.,..: i.:..... (JOB$5627 • i t ^ 'i *• FINANCIAL Commodities Hotline 9270 Stock QUQ,W, Hotline ,...* 9000 Stock Mafljeif Update-,..,*.,^ 6730 vn/r-r* TTf'ii-- 1 s /^73S 6740 6745 4 6755 Ul/llu IT^^VB^Igr *ry—~*-m1TI*tvf*'f*1F*<H "/ -> -> Precious Metals Update.*,,i»,»i^6760 Wall StreetjHeadhnes JA!.«. 6731 - - v -^ - *'6736 6739 NYSE U AMEX OTC Bond •r HOROSCOPES Aquarius .................................... 6850 Aries .......................................... 6851 Taurus ....................................... 6852 Gemini ...................................... 6853, Cancer ....................................... 6854, Leo ............................................ 6855' Virgo ............ ';. rt i:..:f...i. ............ 6856' Libra ............ .L.f..;,:.'.'..$, ........... 6857. Scorpio ................. ........i ............ 6858' Sagittarius .................................. 6859 Capricorn .................................. 6860 Pisces ......................................... 6861' Today s Birthday ........................ 6862, -r KID'S RACf <£,' " ........ 4866' ~ MOVIES, TV. MUSK: Top 10 Movie Grosses ............... 6918 Top 10 Television Shows ............ 6917' Top 10 Records ......................... 6927 TVTonighr|||; % , ...... 6973 Opini Salina Nation World Current Events 6006 I 6705 , 6700 : 5463 *• RELIGION Daily Dev<j|jon, ,.*,„., 7772 Local Qunii Directory., 7729 ~so^iBffRAFEWJ*l$ AllMyCt>il4r«n Anot As The Bold& Days o General Hospi Loving Melrose Place 6890 One Life The Gui Young || 90210|* Soap 6896 .^ Of\O " V t - SP Ski Sports Major League Baseball ............... 6770 NFL Football Storecard ............. 6775 NHL Hockey Scorecard ............ 6780 NBA Basketball Scorecard ......... 6785 College Sports Scorecard ............ 6790 V* WEATHER. ..0927

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