It’s the Halloween season and unfortunately business telecom can be more trick than treat. The following four items are common misconceptions that exist in business telecommunications. Carriers and their sales reps can take advantage of a customer’s misunderstanding or lack of knowledge and use it to their favor.
Myth No. 1: Carriers are required to collect taxes and surcharges. Telecom carriers are required to pay taxes and surcharges to Federal, state and local agencies but not required to pass those fees on to their customers. Taxes and surcharges differ from carrier to carrier. Some providers artificially lower their service charges and inflate the taxes and surcharges they collect. Salespeople don’t include taxes and surcharges when they quote rates because those figures can only be estimated. By inflating the taxes and surcharges and suppressing monthly service charges, the offending provider’s prices might seem lower than a competitor’s but its total price could be higher.
Myth No. 2: You can’t lower your corporate wireless expenses if you’re under contract. With wireless contracts, time of service is what’s contracted, not monthly service fees. Providers, like Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile, aren’t required to produce the agreed upon dollar amounts. It’s up to their customers to review their bills and check their pricing. The flip side of all that is that businesses can take advantage of any pricing the provider has available in the marketplace. A third party optimizing company can help a business locate the lowest pricing and implement it, contract or no contract, without requiring a carrier change.
Myth No. 3: A business is free to shop when its contract expires. Not necessarily. Most providers’ contracts include auto renews that are never favorable to the customer. Usually they require 60-days notice. Without notice the contracts renew for the same term that was originally contracted. So if your business has 45 days left on a 36 month contract, but your contract includes an auto renew and no one notified your provider, you might actually have 36 months and 45 days left on your contract. A business can prevent an auto renew from occurring anytime before the 60 day window, even at the time of signing. Auto renews are never a good thing. It’s much better for a business to eliminate the clause and keep its options open.
Myth No. 4: All VoIP is created equal. If your business has had a bad experience with Voice over IP, it probably had more to do with its setup or your network than a defect in the technology. First off, almost every phone call made today is transported over the internet at one point or another. Problems arise with VoIP when it is delivered over another provider’s internet or if real time traffic, like voice and video, is not prioritized on your network. If a business’s hosted VoIP is delivered by one provider and its internet by another, Quality of Service (the VoIP call quality standard) can’t be delivered and the business could be caught in a finger pointing situation. If the business is experiencing poor call quality and attempts to resolve the issue with its hosted VoIP provider, that provider might claim that the business’s internet connection is to blame but the internet service provider will be powerless to help.