Hot Line Helps Seniors

November 14, 1990

A hot line that helps consumers with the complexities of telephone service has chosen Carroll County for a pilot campaign to alert senior citizens to the free advice.

The Tele-Consumer Hotline, based in Washington, serves all age groups at its hot line number -- (800) 332-1124. The non-profit group began in 1984 to help consumers after the breakup of AT & T and advent of a more complex telephone market, said executive director Sylvia Rosenthal.

The hot line gets questions such as where to get special equipment for people with impaired hearing or vision or how to understand the different long-distance services.

"Using the telephone is not as simple as it used to be, and that's why we're here," Rosenthal said.

The service is paid for by several telephone commercial telephone companies such as AT & T, Bell Atlantic (which includes C & P Telephone) and Nynex, but is independent of those companies, Rosenthal said.

Although the hot line is open to anyone, the new campaign will reach senior citizens who might need the help but not know it's out there, said Nancy T. Perry, con sumer affairs manager at C & P Telephone and a member of the hot line's advisory board.

Starting in February, the hot line plans to publicize its services through leaflets at Carroll senior centers, hospital waiting rooms and churches, Perry said.

She said the hot line chose Carroll County and San Antonio, Texas, for pilot projects to learn how to reach seniors before going nationwide.

Carroll was chosen for its rural/suburban demographics and San Antonio for its large number of Spanish-speaking seniors, she said.

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