RALEIGH, N.C. — The ads are flashy. The rates are cheap. And for many, calling cards are the rave.
"Everyone has one I think," said Oscar Garcia, who uses calling cards to stay in contact with his family.
But the N.C. Attorney General's Office has a warning for consumers: Behind the eye-catching colors is the fine print, and the fine print is full of extra charges.
"Sometimes it didn't give me the minutes I thought it was going to give me," Garcia said. "It can be tricky."
N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper said the trick is "being smart to avoid getting ripped off."
So far this year, the consumer division in the Attorney General's Office has received 27 complaints.
"A lot of the [calling card companies] go out of business, don't provide the service they say they will provide," Cooper said. "A lot of the complaints we get are that the toll free number you're supposed to call is busy or the connection is bad."
Cooper said consumers also should be aware of people who buy calling cards in bulk and then re- sell them.
Cooper added that anyone who buys a calling card, from anywhere in the world, should read the fine print before purchasing one.