California Senator, Ted W. Lieu, introduced today a new plan to better protect consumers from payphone charges when using their credit card to make calls on public payphones.
According to a recent media study, between 500,000 and 800,000 U.S. troops were forced to pay extremely high fees during a short stop in Germany, when making a call to family members when they were either going or returning from Afghanistan.
At the center of these payphone charges are BBG Global AG and BBG Communications Inc., which are owned by Rafael and Gregorio Galicot. Two individuals who are American citizens and are the sons of José Galicot, who is known in Tijuana for promoting "Tijuana Innovadora" that is an event held every two years, and promotes the advances in education, science, culture, art and technology that has been launched from Tijuana to the rest of the world.
Video: BBG Communications Phone Charge
According to BBG Communications website, their lists of clients include Samsung, Panasonic, Marriott, and TelMex which is owned by the richest man in the world, Carlos Slim.
BBG Communications is based in San Diego and provides services in Mexico and North America like the operation of broadband kiosks, prepaid card services, and public telephones.
Lieu said about SB-50, "I was shocked to learn that federal deregulation of payphones opened a loophole where payphones are not required to provide information on what calls cost when paying with a credit card or debit card."
Senate Bill 50 would impose mandatory signage on payphones that warn credit and debit-card users of the possible costs and provide a toll-free number to learn exactly what fees they may incur for the usage.
The Public Utilities Commission can impose fines of between $500 and $50,000.
A hearing on SB-50 has not been officially set.