Hundreds of Thousands of People Are Still Renting Home Phones

While many of us are ditching our landlines in favor of wireless, a large portion of the country still has some sort of terrestrial home phone. What’s surprising is just how many folks out there are still paying $7.00 every month to lease their phones. Leased phones are a hold-over from the Ma Bell days of telephone service, when getting a new phone didn’t just mean going to the store and buying one for a few bucks. Some customers, mostly elderly, have never gotten around to upgrading their lines — or checking to make sure they aren’t paying for leased phones they no longer have. One woman happened to glance at her parents’ phone bill and saw they were paying $21 a month for three leased phones, which meant $253 a year for phones they could have purchased at the store for a fraction of that cost. She figured her folks spent more than $6,000 leasing the phones in the mid-1980s. It’s not known how widespread this issue is, but the company that does the leasing for this particular phone company says they have 300,000 leasing customers. So, if you have an elderly loved one who hasn’t updated their phone in a long time, you may want to suggest they take a look at their monthly bill to see if they’ve been paying for a device whose only worth is to phone historians.