Taxes and fees

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Beebes
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Jan 24, 2015 1:40 pm

Taxes and fees

Post by Beebes » Wed Feb 22, 2017 11:51 am

I'm confused about some details related to taxes and regulatory fees that Ooma collects.

I've had an Ooma Telo for a couple of years, and Ooma charges me monthly for taxes and regulatory fees. Those charges amount to a little less than $5 per month ($4.66 for my most recent monthly bill). These charges vary by a few cents from time to time; I expect that and understand why that happens.

Yesterday (2/21/17) I ordered an annual subscription to Ooma Premier and also ordered the free port of my landline phone number to Ooma that's available as a promotion together with the annual Premier subscription. I thought the total charge for annual Premier service plus porting would be $119.88 (or maybe $119.99, depending where on Ooma's web site you look). Instead, my credit card was charged $132.96. The billing details for this charge include the following:

Ooma Premier Annual Service: $119.88
Federal Universal Service Charge and Regulatory Fees: $4.84
City utility tax: $5.84
CA DDTP Surcharge: $0.17
CA High Cost Fund-A Surcharge: $0.12
CA Teleconnect Fund Surcharge: $0.35
State 911: $0.24
State USF: $1.52
Total: $132.96

So taxes and fees of $13.08 were added to my order for annual Premier. I don't understand whether these taxes and fees are one-time or recurring, or how they relate to the taxes/fees I have been paying every month for a couple years for my non-Premier Ooma account.

The Ooma tax calculator for my zip code shows these monthly taxes and fees:

Regulatory Compliance Fee: $1.98
911 Service Fee: $1.79
Federal Universal Service Charge and Regulatory Fees: $0.31
State and local taxes, fees and surcharges: $0.58
Total: $4.66

Some of the fee categories on my monthly bill appear to overlap with the categories on the new statement for annual Premier, though the wording is different in some cases. For example, is the "911 Service Fee" the same as "State 911"?

On http://support.ooma.com/home/taxes-and-fees, the last sentence is "Taxes and fees are paid on a monthly basis. There is no way to pay this fee annually." Based on that sentence, I assumed (perhaps incorrectly) that charges for my annual Premier subscription would *not* include any taxes or fees. I also assumed (perhaps incorrectly) that my monthly charges for taxes and fees would continue to be less than $5 when I switch to the annual Premier service.

Can someone clarify how taxes/fees are calculated and when and how often they are charged? I understand that tax rates and regulatory fees are set by agencies that are not controlled by Ooma and that those taxes and fees can change. But the information Ooma supplies about taxes and fees is incomplete and inconsistent. My specific questions include:

Why were $13.08 charges for taxes/fees included in my recent order for Premier annual service when Ooma's web site says that taxes/fees cannot be included in annual charges?

Is the $13.08 in taxes/fees applied to my recent Premier order a one-time charge, or is it recurring?

If recurring, is it a monthly charge? An annual charge? Or is it triggered only by changing service (e.g., starting Premier service or porting a phone number)?

Since I don't understand what event triggered the $13.08 in taxes added to my recent order, and also don't understand whether those taxes cover a specific period of time (month or year or something else), it's not clear whether I'm paying the same taxes twice. Do any of the taxes/fees applied to my recent Ooma Premier order duplicate the monthly fees I already paid (or will pay in the future)?

Will my monthly charges for taxes/fees change significantly under the terms of the Premier plan? If so, why? Is Ooma's tax calculator that shows $4.66 in estimated taxes/fees not relevant for Premier service? Are monthly taxes/fees significantly different for an Ooma Premier account than they are for a non-Premier account?

I just finished long telephone calls with two different Ooma customer support people, and neither of them gave me clear and consistent answers to these questions. One of them told me the $13.08 in taxes applied to my recent order for annual Premier service was sales tax based on the sales tax rate in Palo Alto, where Ooma is located. That assertion is inconsistent with the itemized statement I see for my transaction on Ooma's web site, which does not itemize any sales tax.

I don’t want to quibble about discrepancies of a few cents. But the discrepancies between what I expect to be charged, have been charged, and might be charged in the future are large, and it seems impossible to learn, even approximately, what my costs will be. Ooma’s web-based procedure for ordering annual Premier service should make it clear that taxes and fees will be added to the total charge and should clearly itemize the additional charges *before* the transaction is complete. Ooma’s web site and their CSRs should have clear, consistent, and complete information about whether and how transactions on Ooma’s web site can affect taxes and regulatory fees.

As I said above, I know that taxes and regulatory fees can change without notice, but assuming the rates stay about the same for a while, what will my approximate monthly charges for taxes and regulatory fees be for the Ooma Premier service that I just ordered?:

$0? (My monthly charges might be $0 if all annual taxes and regulatory fees are included in the recent charge for the annual Premier service plan.)
$4.66 (which is the amount of my most recent pre-Premier charge)?
$13.08 (the amount added to my annual Premier order for taxes and fees)?
$17.74 (my old $4.66 rate plus the new $13.08 rate)?
Something else?

Is it possible to learn the answers to these questions by referring to Ooma’s web site, either before or after placing an order for annual Premier service, or by talking to an Ooma CSR?

I have read complaints in Ooma’s forums concerning unexpected, confusing, and nontransparent charges. I thought those complaints must be misguided because the information I found on Ooma’s web site seemed clear and simple. Now it seems that information is not as clear, simple, or accurate as I thought it was.

MrPink
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2018 11:41 am

Re: Taxes and fees

Post by MrPink » Sat Oct 20, 2018 1:51 pm

Those are EXACTLY the same questions I had. I just did the same thing you did and am confused in the same way you are. I'm surprised that no one ever answered this. Maybe since you've had this setup in place for a while, you've been able to answer your own question. Can you report what your results ended up being?

User avatar
focuspuller
Posts: 168
Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2009 2:45 pm
Location: Third Planet From The Sun

Re: Taxes and fees

Post by focuspuller » Sat Oct 20, 2018 5:14 pm

I questioned the sales tax on the fees.

Never got an answer.
One if by Land
Two if by Sea
Three if by Limo

Beebes
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Jan 24, 2015 1:40 pm

Re: Taxes and fees

Post by Beebes » Sun Oct 21, 2018 7:15 am

Nobody responded to the questions I raised on 2/22/17, and those questions remain unanswered.

After my annual subscription to the Premier service began in 2017, Ooma continued to charge me about $5 monthly for taxes and fees. These monthly charges for taxes/fees were (and continue to be) about the same as they were before I signed up for the annual Premier service subscription.

On 2/28/18 Ooma charged me for my annual Premier service renewal. Like last year, that invoice included the $119.88 charge for Premier service and additional charges for taxes and fees, which totaled $21.65 ($8.57 more than last year, and about 400% higher than the usual monthly charge for taxes/fees).

This year, unlike last year, Ooma did *not* issue an additional, separate statement charging me (possibly redundantly) for my usual monthly taxes/fees during the same month they collected the charges for the Premier service renewal.

Ooma's Taxes and Fees Q&A page still states "Taxes and fees are paid on a monthly basis. There is no way to pay this fee annually." I still don't understand how this remark is consistent with Ooma's charges for taxes and fees on their annual Premier service invoices.

jake20
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue May 07, 2019 1:08 pm

Re: Taxes and fees

Post by jake20 » Tue May 07, 2019 1:13 pm

is this still unanswered?
I am thinking about paying for annual Premiere also, but wondering if its maybe cheaper to just go monthly.

thanks

lmacmil
Posts: 41
Joined: Tue Nov 03, 2015 7:07 am

Re: Taxes and fees

Post by lmacmil » Tue May 07, 2019 3:15 pm

I just signed up for Ooma Premier and paid for 1 year to get a free HD3 handset. I was not charged anything but the $119.88 plus $8.99 shipping for the HD3.

My current monthly charge looks like this:
911 Service Fee: $1.00
Regulatory Compliance Fee: $1.60
Local Interconnection Recovery Fee: $1.65
In Telecom Relays Sys Surcharge: $0.03
In Utility Receipts Tax: $0.05
In State 911 Fee: $1.00
In Universal Service Fund: $0.02
State Sales Tax: $0.19
Total: $5.54

One year ago it looked like this:
911 Service Fee: $1.00
Regulatory Compliance Fee: $1.49
Local Interconnection Recovery Fee: $1.60
Total: $4.09

So the monthly charge went up 35% but that's only $1.45. Not worth my time to look for something cheaper.

Beebes
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Jan 24, 2015 1:40 pm

Re: Taxes and fees

Post by Beebes » Tue May 07, 2019 4:52 pm

Imacmil's 5/7/19 report surprises me because it's so different from my experience.

Since 2017 I've paid annually for the Premier plan three times, and each time the annual charge has included taxes and fees. My most recent statement for annual renewal of the Premier plan, in February 2019, included $22.53 in taxes and fees. Adding that to the $119.88 annual charge for Premier service, the total for annual Premier service was $142.41. That's in addition to the average $5.24 for taxes and fees I pay the other 11 months of the year.

On Ooma's web site, I can no longer find the statement that used to be there asserting that it was impossible to pay taxes and fees together with the annual payment for the Premiere plan. Regardless of whether that policy still exists, I don't understand why my annual bill for Premier service includes taxes and fees around 400% higher than my usual monthly charge for taxes and fees.

I haven't tried to do the math to determine whether paying for Premier monthly is better than paying annually. If Ooma includes random, inconsistent, and unexplained charges in their monthly bills, like they do in their annual bills, it could be impossible to know which plan is more economical.

lmacmil
Posts: 41
Joined: Tue Nov 03, 2015 7:07 am

Re: Taxes and fees

Post by lmacmil » Sat May 11, 2019 1:20 pm

I didn't look closely enough at my bill. I was charged $.85 for state utility fee and $.06 for federal regulatory fee for a total of $.91 on top of the $119.88. Still way less than you were charged.

jake20
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue May 07, 2019 1:08 pm

Re: Taxes and fees

Post by jake20 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 9:35 am

I just also paid the annual $119 to get a free HD3 handset. Its not clear to me either how they are determining the annual fees.

My current monthly premiere trial fees
911 Service Fee: $1.00
Regulatory Compliance Fee: $1.60
Local Interconnection Recovery Fee: $1.65
State Communications Services Tax: $0.10
Local Communications Svc Tax: $0.25
Local 911 Surcharge: $0.40
Total: $5.00


My annual premiere charges
Ooma Premier Annual Service 1 $119.88 $119.88
Subtotal: $119.88
Taxes and fees
State Communications Services Tax: $2.84
Local Communications Svc Tax: $6.98
Federal Regulatory Fee - Interstate Telephone Service: $0.06
Total: $129.76

lmacmil
Posts: 41
Joined: Tue Nov 03, 2015 7:07 am

Re: Taxes and fees

Post by lmacmil » Fri Jun 14, 2019 3:33 am

It would appear that the differences are due to different charges by the states.

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