Originally, per-minute billing was provided by phone companies (in the U. There was, from some services, an attempt to keep the caller aroused but short of orgasm, so he would spend more money.
(This attitude still survives among some providers.) When public (mostly female) pressure forced the phone companies to stop providing this service to sex workers, a transition was made to a manual method: pre-paid blocks of time, 10, 30, 60 minutes, whatever the customer would pay for.
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The vast majority of modern services in the United States use toll-free numbers whereby clients can dial up to request a call with a particular performer using credit cards, Automated Clearing House systems, and a variety of other billing methods.
There are still some services that rely upon premium-rate telephone numbers (e.g., 976 and 900 numbers) for billing purposes, although this practice has been largely abandoned due to the high rate of fraud associated with these lines and the inability to dial 900 and 976 lines from cellular phones.
If a customer disputed a charge, the telephone company would usually “forgive” the charge but block the caller from calling any other chat lines.
By 2007 only Verizon, Sprint and AT&T remained in the chat line business in the U. By 2007 Verizon and MCI had merged and only a few chat line companies remained active as a result.
This is the world portrayed in Spike Lee's movie about phone sex, Girl 6.