February 1, 2000
PhoneCard Services Assists Comerica Securities
PhoneCard Services Inc. (www.phonecardpromotions.com),
a Miami-based promotional phone card company, has developed a direct-mail campaign for
Comerica Securities, designed to entice attendees at an upcoming trade show to stop by the
financial firm’s booth to activate a prepaid phone card.
Booth visitors will be asked to complete demographic information that will help
Comerica build and update its databases.
"It contains all the key elements of a classic marketing campaign," says Paul
Sorota, president of PhoneCard Services. "It has the promotional sales pitch, an
invitation to come to the Comerica booth and a free gift for stopping by," he says,
adding that it also helps Comerica obtain prospecting information and leaves the prospect
with a Comerica logo in their wallet.
JDS, ITA Push for Full Disclosure of Prepaid
BY LIZ MONTALBANO
Amid complaints of misleading pricing practices in the prepaid card industry, at least
one company has taken action to eliminate the problem.
J D Services Inc. (JDS, www.jds-inc.com) has begun
a two-front campaign for industrywide disclosure of all charges on prepaid cards,
according to Ingrid Ricks, director of sales and marketing.
Ricks, who co-chairs the Standards Committee for the International Telecard Association
(ITA, www.telecard.org), says the ITA currently is
trying to "beef up" industry guidelines to ensure prepaid companies include a
clear list of all charges–including connection fees and taxes–on prepaid cards so
consumers know exactly for what they are paying.
"Some companies aren’t disclosing to customers all of the charges [included in the
price of the card]," Ricks says. "Not that most of them are doing it to be
devious–they will put the charges on their posters, but consumers don’t always see the
posters and there have been complaints to [state] attorneys general over this. It is
dirtying the industry . . . and we want to clean it up."
At press time, Ricks says the committee recently had sent out a survey to state
attorneys general, consumer groups and prepaid companies seeking input on guidelines it
has written. It also is working with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC, <ahref="http://www.ftc.gov">www.ftc.gov
) to educate consumers in what they should expect
from prepaid companies when buying cards–namely, full disclosure of all charges.
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