The telecommunications industry seems to have its own language. There is so much jargon and so many acronyms you practically need a degree to understand a phone bill. With technology evolving at a rapid pace, it’s only going to get harder to decipher, which seems to work to the carrier’s advantage. You are less likely to question something that is foreign to you. Whether running a small business or managing an enterprise, here are a few basic, yet extremely common items to watch out for on your local phone bills:
- LEC billed long distance charges – You may have negotiated incredible rates with your carrier for your long distance calling, but if your local exchange carrier (LEC) is not using the correct PIC (Primary Interexchange Carrier) code, you won be getting those rates. Watch local bills for long distance charges. The local carrier should be informed of all PIC changes so they can route calls correctly.
- Cramming (placing unauthorized services on a phone bill) – Charges may show at the end of your local phone bill that appear legit, but what exactly are they? It could be a charge for identity theft protection, an email service, or credit repair. Do you remember signing up for these services? These cramming companies use sneaky ways to get you to unknowingly sign up, and you could be paying for them for months (even years!) Before they catch your attention. Your mobile phone is especially susceptible, as one inadvertent click is all it takes. There are laws to crack down on these practices, but they only go so far. Always scan your bill for any additional charges other than the actual service provided. If you are unsure about something, call the carrier and ask; it’s your money!
- Minimum Usage / Shortfall Charge – Most contracts require that you meet a certain dollar or use commitment each month / year, or receive a penalty. If your company has a calling plan like this, monitor to ensure you are meeting that minimum, as the penalties can add up. It may be time to take another look at your contract and ensure all eligible services are participating or renegotiate a lower monthly minimum.
- Inside Wire Maintenance / WirePro – Many carriers charge a monthly insurance fee to cover any phone wiring that is inside the business walls. A carrier will repair the wiring outside the building free of charge, but wiring inside is the customer’s responsibility. This monthly charge ensures that the carrier repairs the inside wiring with no charge should a problem arise. The catch is twofold; 1) The “insurance” is very costly and charged on a per line bases. Unless you pay for WirePro on every line you may have a problem and receive a charge for the only line you did not put the insurance on. 2) There is rarely a problem with inside wiring, and should one arise it is usually much less expensive to pay the one-time charge than the fees every month.