Dial on a telephone. Photo: Henrik Hemrin

 

I had a summer job at Televerket, the Swedish PTT. Summer 1982. At that time a telephone typically had a dial like the one on the photo. And owned by Televerket, you could not own one yourself.

It happened that customer claimed the phone bill was too high; "I have absolutely not made so many phone calls!"

Televerket had a machine, I recall it was a wooden box approx. 30x40x10 cm including a printer typing e.g. phone number and time. I haven't find a photo of the machine, happy if you can find one.

The machine was connected to the subscriber who claimed for a period, maybe a few weeks. The machine logged all calls. Then they could compare how much calls were made now and compare with the calls on the bills.

By that, Televerket had facts if the bill was reasonable or not. Not facts of the actual period, but the current facts helped to make a reasonable assumption of bills were correct or not. The result could be presented for the subscriber.

As I recall (I do not have facts on this), my more experienced colleagues at Televerket said the bill was normally correct. They said that one scenario was that other person in family had made calls the bill payer was not aware of. And this could lead to unpleasant disputes in the family.

Back at this time, there was no Caller ID for a subscriber available. The subscriber didn't have access to the facts.

Facts is not the only base for decisions. But indeed facts can help and be essential for the right decision, or to avoid the wrong decision.

Henrik Hemrin

24 September 2017

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