Making a wise choice when it comes to voice and data providers can be a daunting task. And no matter how careful you are, there always seems to be some fluke that make the experience less than smooth. While Telcos probably don’t set out to withhold information from customers, it is often the case that valuable information is either not communicated clearly or omitted for the sake of time and confusion. Either way, it can be very frustrating to find these things out after the fact.
Below is a list of items it may help you to know when making a buying decision:
- There will be taxes and fees beyond the price quoted to you. The Sales people don’t know what those are up front and it will differ based on the products you buy, your state and municipality. So unfortunately you won’t know what they will be until you get the first bill. The number one question carriers get about their billing is “What are all these taxes and fees for?” To get more insight you can go to this website to learn what most of the charges are: http://www.ucan.org/telecommunications/landline/telephone_taxes_fees_and_surcharges.
- Once you have placed your order with a new Telecom service provider, you should not make any changes on your existing account or services with your current provider. This will cause orders to collide and can prevent your services from being turned up.
- There is a lot of telecom and data jargon used that a lot of people don’t understand. Asking the person you’re speaking to explain the meaning of the term they’re using doesn’t make you ignorant. It’s a strange language and most people in the industry would be happy to explain it in layman terms. If you’d like to get more information on terms, you can go to : http://www.telecomdictionary.com and, of course, there is always www.Wikipedia.com.
- You will almost always need to have your phone or data vendor present for a change from one phone or data provider to another. This means you will incur at least one site fee from your vendor so they can be present to add the new circuit to your phone equipment or router and make any other changes needed to accommodate the new service. As soon as you elect to change providers, let your vendor know and have them included on any technical conversations so they can be ready on the day of turn up with all the information they need.
- While the Sales people may promise you that they can have services delivered by Monday, nine times out of ten, it will take longer. The length of time to deploy services will depend on the services you are purchasing and if you are moving numbers to your new provider. The best rule of thumb is to always make sure your order is submitted a minimum 30 days prior to your needing the services or be prepared to pay an expedite fee. This is especially important if you are moving. If you have a lot of bandwidth, give yourself 45-60 days to ensure things are working when the doors open.
- Ask for a first bill review with your account manager. Most billing issues occur on the very first bill and if they aren’t captured then, continue to bill incorrectly for months or even years. Carve out some time in your schedule for a conference call with your Account Manager to go through your first bill to make sure it’s correct.
- Make sure you look at the terms of your contract. It is important to note what will happen to the billing when the service term has expired. Here are a few of the common contract terms:
- At the end of the term you will continue on a month to month basis at the then current rates. This means your rates will go up since month to month terms are typically higher.
- The contract will auto renew for the same term at the same rates. This is known as the Evergreen contract and while the rates don’t go up, if you want to get out the contract because the rates are better with a different service provider, you will be charged early termination fees.
There are a few others out there but pay close attention to the Termination Liability section. It is suggested that you set a calendar reminder for yourself and one other person in the company for 60 days prior to expiration so you have time to determine your course of action. Most carriers require 30 days written notice of intent to disconnect or renew.
And lastly, you may not be able to avoid all Telecom catastrophes, but remember with any purchase, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.