I recently stayed at Courtyard by Marriott in Charlotte, NC.
I had to make a urgent phone call to China.
I used the hotel phone (landline) to call the destination (also landline).
I was charged over $10 /per minute!! for the call.
Anyone had similar experience?
The manager of the hotel showed me the bill but can not explain why the rate is so outrageously high (carrier ATT).
Since I have come across this 'long distance' fiasco many times (especially when we used to spend six months a year in St Maarten and needed to call back to the states or other islands frequently for work and/or pleasure calls.
I use this scenario when making those expensive long distance calls:
When in the USA I have a service I use where I call a phone line they gave to me after I set up my account. The system recognizes the number I am calling from (my phone numbers are registered in my account file) when I call the line and when it answers I am welcomed and asked to dial my destination number. They connect me thru their system. I pay their rates and get billed monthly.
When OUT of the USA. I have a different number to call. The system recognizes my number when I call and hangs up. I get a callback from that number about one minute later. It is just a dial tone when I answer. I input the number I am calling and get the rate for a call to the destination as though I am calling from the USA. They bill me monthly.
It's very inexpensive. I called Aruba this past month, talked for over an hour and my bill was $6.72. .
Can't beat those rates and the service can be used from everywhere and anywhere.
Actually, the better way to describe what happens when I callback to the States to their number is that it recognizes my number and disconnects. It doesn't answer and I don't get charged for a call to the States from wherever I am. If I am using a different phone than my registered phones (like my cell doesn't work in Europe)....I have another number I can call and that number will call me back if I hang up after 2 rings.
To simplify: I never use a hotel phone. I do not incur local charges when the service calls me back. The call never connects/answers. t just recognizes the number calling and calls that number back from the landline that is based out of Miami. I always use a personal phone when I call the service. It is not Skype and there are many services out there who do this type of thing. There are also many other options to take advantage of (such as International Calling cards etc that one can use when abroad).
The service I use is http://www.utwcallback.com/
But, as I said, there are many services out there that do this. This one just works best for me.
I have used the service for calls from the US to the Caribbean and Europe and from the Caribbean to the US. I have not used the service to call the US from Europe but I have friends from Holland who have and they say it works fine. They are actually the ones who suggested this service to me back in the mid 90's.
Skype has worked for me domestically and internationally. We finally gave the home phone the heave ho at the Pained household. Just set up MagicJack. I haven't used it anywhere yet, but it claims to be as easy and free as Skype. I'll give it a try next time out of the country.