TARGET 8: Residents raise questions over increased cell phone bills

4 years 2 months 3 weeks ago Tuesday, June 28 2016 Jun 28, 2016 Tuesday, June 28, 2016 1:51:00 PM CDT June 28, 2016 in Target 8
By: Megan Kelly, KOMU 8 Reporter

COLUMBIA – Some Columbia residents found peculiar charges on their cell phone bills in April and are warning others to take a closer look at their bills.

Resident Sara Whiting noticed a “Columbia city sales tax” and a “Columbia local business license surcharge” on her cell phone bill in April.

“We closely watch the bills in our house, and I noticed between March and April on our Verizon Wireless bill there was about a $4 increase in the cost of the bill.”

Whiting has lived in Columbia since May 2014 and said this is the first time she has noticed these charges. She said she was alarmed when her tax rate went from 9.0 percent in March to 14.3 percent in April.

“This is the first step in getting answers, and I know there are other people out there who are in a similar situation,” Whiting said.

Whiting said her coworkers also starting noticing these charges on their bills and were not sure where they came from. 

However according to Columbia’s Assistant Director of Finance Lynn Cannon, Columbia charges a seven percent tax on utility companies each month, according to city code. The local business surcharge on cell phone bills do not come directly from the city.

“That comes from the companies. We charge the company the seven percent gross receipt tax,” Cannon said.

In 2005, House Bill 209 authorized telecommunication companies to pass that 7 percent tax on to the consumer. How much the company pays to the city fluctuates each month based on how well the company is doing. 

“That’s going to depend on their consumer base, the number of customers they have at the time, the amount of receipts for the prior month. So that’s going to fluctuate. It’s not going to be the same dollar every month,” Cannon said.

The 7 percent tax on telecommunication companies then goes to the city’s general revenue fund, where the city council determines what this money is used for.

According to Whiting, she called the national Verizon Wireless customer service, and a representative said they didn’t know what the charges where, other than they were Verizon Wireless surcharges.

“I called the local office. And they also just said it was the government’s surcharges, and they were unsure of where they came from,” Whiting said. 

“Verizon is obligated to pay the Columbia local business license tax that is imposed by the locality on Verizon. This is passed through to Columbia customers, independent of any state or local sales taxes,” said Meagan Dorsch, Verizon Wireless External Communications.

Additionally, representatives from Sprint and AT&T said they also pass on this tax to their customers as well.

“There’s a lot of hidden charges. It’s just important to be vigilant and ask questions about it,” Whiting said.

More News

Grid
List
JEFFERSON CITY - Police are investigating a shooting incident that left four people injured. According to the Jefferson City... More >>
8 hours ago Sunday, September 20 2020 Sep 20, 2020 Sunday, September 20, 2020 7:00:00 AM CDT September 20, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A driver has been taken to hospital after a single vehicle crash on Saturday night. The... More >>
9 hours ago Sunday, September 20 2020 Sep 20, 2020 Sunday, September 20, 2020 5:40:00 AM CDT September 20, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA – While high school football has been happening so far this season in the wake of COVID-19, one part... More >>
20 hours ago Saturday, September 19 2020 Sep 19, 2020 Saturday, September 19, 2020 6:47:00 PM CDT September 19, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA – Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg left lifelong impressions on two Columbia students. The students, a high... More >>
20 hours ago Saturday, September 19 2020 Sep 19, 2020 Saturday, September 19, 2020 6:47:00 PM CDT September 19, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Monday night will likely be a long one for the Columbia City Council as it gets another... More >>
20 hours ago Saturday, September 19 2020 Sep 19, 2020 Saturday, September 19, 2020 6:14:00 PM CDT September 19, 2020 in News
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — Authorities say a 19-year-old was fatally shot near the Missouri State University campus in Springfield. ... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, September 19 2020 Sep 19, 2020 Saturday, September 19, 2020 2:46:00 PM CDT September 19, 2020 in News
As COVID-19 continues to spread, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about impacts in the community. Previous coverage: ... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, September 19 2020 Sep 19, 2020 Saturday, September 19, 2020 2:14:00 PM CDT September 19, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - No one was injured in an RV fire in southwest Columbia on Saturday. No injuries have been... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, September 19 2020 Sep 19, 2020 Saturday, September 19, 2020 12:48:00 PM CDT September 19, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A fire at a Jefferson City home displaced two people early Saturday morning. According to a... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, September 19 2020 Sep 19, 2020 Saturday, September 19, 2020 9:43:00 AM CDT September 19, 2020 in News
(CNN) -- President Donald Trump hailed Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as a "brilliant mind" in a statement Friday... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, September 19 2020 Sep 19, 2020 Saturday, September 19, 2020 5:00:00 AM CDT September 19, 2020 in News
(CNN) -- Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on Friday , the court announced. She was 87. Ginsburg... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 18 2020 Sep 18, 2020 Friday, September 18, 2020 6:43:00 PM CDT September 18, 2020 in News
(CNN) -- For a father and son, a hug before the first game of football season is a special moment.... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 18 2020 Sep 18, 2020 Friday, September 18, 2020 6:23:00 PM CDT September 18, 2020 in News
Week four of Friday Night Fever has arrived. Before you head out to your team's game or tune in to... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 18 2020 Sep 18, 2020 Friday, September 18, 2020 5:56:00 PM CDT September 18, 2020 in Friday Night Fever
Games for high school football games will become available below. Final scores are in bold and home teams are on... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 18 2020 Sep 18, 2020 Friday, September 18, 2020 5:44:00 PM CDT September 18, 2020 in Friday Night Fever
Welcome to Week 4 of Friday Night Fever! Our game of the week features the Marshall Owls taking on the... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 18 2020 Sep 18, 2020 Friday, September 18, 2020 5:43:00 PM CDT September 18, 2020 in Friday Night Fever
STOVER - COVID-19 is affecting young and old alike in Morgan County. According to the Morgan County Health Center... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 18 2020 Sep 18, 2020 Friday, September 18, 2020 5:03:00 PM CDT September 18, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA — Battle High School canceled its game set for Friday against the Hickman High School Kewpies. Battle announced... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 18 2020 Sep 18, 2020 Friday, September 18, 2020 3:14:00 PM CDT September 18, 2020 in Sports
NEAR CRANE, Mo. (KY3) - The Missouri Water Patrol is investigating a deadly crash killing a father and son from... More >>
2 days ago Friday, September 18 2020 Sep 18, 2020 Friday, September 18, 2020 2:00:00 PM CDT September 18, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 72°
4pm 75°
5pm 74°
6pm 71°
7pm 67°