I’m not sure I have to convince anyone reading this blog of this, especially if they live in the US. What, you ask, prompted now as a time to blog about it?
Had a look at the details of my most recent Cingular bill and was amazed at the amount of things considered taxes, surcharges, etc. It’s a stretch to regard regulatory fees for operating your business as a special tax. What blows my mind is that Cingular is passing through their Washington State “B and O” tax that are assessed to the BUSINESS and making it sound like some regulatory surcharge. The “B and O” surcharge. The Washington State “B and O” charge is the “Business and Occupation” tax; Washington state has NO income tax (business or personal) and the B and O is really just a unique “income” tax for business (based on gross receipts). In other words, in Washington, B and O is rougly equivalent in practice to corporate income tax.
So, here is a company passing through the cost of operating their business (renting airwaves) AND their taxes (B and O) and we have no choice but to accept this deceptive pricing scheme because of the oligopoly of mobile carriers.
Consider this: Would Amazon.com be in business today if when ordering, customers were to have the following “taxes” added to their orders?
USD 01.25 Sales Tax (1.5%) (yeah… ok, I get this)
USD 02.25 Amazon Utility Manddatory Surcharges (water, electric, and coffee delivery service to headquarters)
USD 01.72 Regulatory and Compliance Surcharge (we don’t want to pay taxes so we’ll pass our tax bill on to you so our prices look lower)
What is the net net? Companies that have to actually compete can’t get away with crappy, deceptive pricing and billing. Companies that don’t, do not (usually).