phone bill auditsAuto Renew Contracts:

This item bites you is when you’re unaware and your contract auto renews when you’re set to change service providers.  It’s an easy fix.  Either you can have the clause removed from the contract before you sign, or if you already signed, make sure to give notice before the contract is set to auto renew.  The key is to know the clause exists; find out if it’s in your contract and make the necessary steps.

3rd Party Billing:

If you have business analog phone lines (POTS) with an incumbent phone company, like Verizon or AT&T, scan your bills each month to see if charges from third parties exist.  These are like ticks on your dog; they’re annoying and can make you sick, but if you’re proactive they can’t do much damage.  Don’t waste time calling the phone company – they won’t help you and the call will just make you more upset.  Near the breakdown of the charge will be an 800 number to call.  When you call it will be clear that the only calls they receive are from people wanting to remove their charges – expect little resistance.  It’s a must to monitor your phone bills on a monthly basis.  Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to 3rd party billing.

Wire Maintenance Plans:

Inside wire maintenance plans on business phone lines (POTS).  Coverage for the wiring on your side of the phone company’s demarcation point (Demarc or MPOE).  It’s just dormant wiring that is mostly hidden in your office walls.  The phone company tries to scare you by informing you that if their tech is dispatched and the problem resides on your side of the demarc, you’ll be charged a trip charge.  A trip charge is typically $100.  Wire maintenance costs around six dollars a month, per phone line.  If you have 10 business lines, that’s potentially $60 a month.  Would you pay a $60 monthly premium to insure $100?  Of course not.  If your lines go down, see if your neighbors’ lines are down.  Call the phone company to see if there’s an outage in the area.  If you have a phone system, you’re probably already paying for maintenance, so have your phone vendor come out.  That person will be able to diagnose the problem and probably charges a lower hourly charge than the phone company does.

Calling Plan Charges:

There was a time when it made sense to pay ten to fifteen dollars a month to buy down your long distance per minute rate, but those days are long gone.  Sub six cents per minute rates are standard now and unless you’re operating a call center, with email and cell phones, the long distance portion of your bill should be less than $100 a month.  The key is to check your bill to make sure you’re not being charged for a plan and know your long distance rates.  Call your provider if you’re paying a monthly fee for a plan or you’re paying more than six cents per minute for long distance calls.

Unusual Long Distance Charges:

You should know if someone in your company has a reason to make an international long distance call.  If you do business in your general area and all your suppliers and customers are local, you shouldn’t see much long distance or any international long distance.  International long distance calls to wireless phones can be in the tens of cents per minute; it doesn’t take much for charges to pile up and you won’t know about them until it’s too late.  Your provider has no responsibility for the calls and won’t reverse the charges.  Monitor your bills and block calls to parts of the world your employees have no business calling.

Silly Surcharges:

I once worked for a CLEC (Competitive Local Exchange Carrier) (the Phone Company’s competition) that arbitrarily started charging all their customers a $25 a month administration charge.  It was nothing other than a money grab; they figured that few of their customers would notice it or fight it if they did.  These charges are almost exclusively used by CLECs.  They’re worth a customer service call; if you can’t get the charge removed, you can use it as a bargaining chip when your contract nears term.  If you’re considering moving to one of these providers, ask them if they have an administrative surcharge and ask to have it removed, while you still have negotiation leverage.

If your company has not been proactively monitoring your phone or internet service bills, contact CarrierBid Telecom Consulting today, for a complimentary bill audit.  We’ll analyze your bills and offer feedback.  We don’t charge a fee or ask for a split of the savings we uncover.  

CarrierBid Communications is a full service telecommunications consulting firm with agency relationships with over 100 leading phone and internet service providers.  CarrierBid simplifies the procurement process, saves you money, produces event free service installations and provides ongoing customer support.

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