Savings seminar

has familiar ring
Maine’s Public Advocate wants to help consumers cut their telephone bills.

AUBURN – Anyone who’s tired of paying whopping telephone bills may want to visit the Auburn Mall on Wednesday. That’s when the Public Advocate’s Office will visit the mall to go over telephone bills with consumers and spot ways of saving money on monthly phone bills.

Five Public Advocate Office personnel will be at the telephone bill workshop to review phone bills individually with customers. Each meeting will be conducted as a private matter between the Public Advocate staff person and the individual customer.

“Phone customers in Maine overpay every month for phone service they don’t need or for which there are less costly substitutes,” said Public Advocate Stephen Ward. “We hope as many Mainers as possible will come to the Auburn Mall on March 10 and find out about ways of saving on their phone bill each month.”

The office staff will check on savings opportunities such as cheaper long-distance services, terminating “inside wire” protection programs, relying on calling cards and not renting telephones.

The Public Advocate’s Office has just published its latest version of the semi-annual “Ratewatcher Telecom Guide” with comparisons for local, interstate long-distance, in-state long-distance, calling card, international calling, Internet and wireless services.

“Twenty-five thousand Mainers receive the Telecom Guide and a surprisingly large number of them contact our office in person to thank us for helping save money on their phone bills,” said Wayne Jortner, the guide’s editor and senior counsel to the public advocate.

Five staffers, including three lawyers, an economist and research associate will be at the Center Court at the Auburn Mall from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday.

The opportunity for central Maine residents to tune up their phone service is adapted from a similar effort at the Maine Mall last July.

“Come by and see if we can help you save money,” Ward said. Copies of the new “Ratewatcher Telecom Guide” will be available for free at the mall workshop. Besides picking up a copy of the phone guide, anyone attending the session can sign up on the office’s mailing list for future “Ratewatcher Telecom Guides.”

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