Lisa, our Operations Manager, travels every summer to Montana for her annual visit with family. She grew up out West with the beautiful mountains and National Forests and let’s not forget that it is known as The Treasure State for its mining. I wonder if she’s ever found gold in them there hills?
All this talk of mining makes me want to explore the vastly forgotten world of the telecom bills.
You know, the world where we call to get service for our phone or internet needs for our business, and then pay it each month without question. The one where, perhaps, we even have it set-up on auto-pay for convenience and never review it again. Or, perhaps we just don’t want to review because the telecom companies have made it so confusing for us to figure out?
I would like to share with you a few tips that we use to help us mine through a telecom audit for our customers. Some TIPS that could potentially save you some GOLD!
TOP Billing Errors to look for:
- Disconnected Services. Did you request a disconnect of all or some of your services and are still being billed for it? Perhaps you moved and your old location never properly disconnected. Or, was there a modem attached to your account that was not returned and you were billed for unreturned equipment? Or, maybe you were leasing that modem and still billed monthly for it. If you have requested any such change on your account, you should review your invoice and make sure the carrier is not still billing you for any or all of those changes that should have been disconnected.
- Excessive Usage. Is it possible that your needs may have changed over the years and you may be paying for too much long distance (the unlimited long-distance plans)? Or, perhaps you are being billed per minute only to find out that an unlimited long-distance plan would be the best fit for you? Carriers are not going to audit your account and adjust your rates as your needs change. It is up to you to watch for those usages to fluctuate and then question if there is a better plan.
- Out of contract or old rates. How long has it been since you have reviewed your plan to the carrier’s current services and plans? Carriers are constantly updating their technology (allowing for more bandwidth for the Internet, bundled features with their phone lines, etc). Is what you subscribed to 5 years ago out of term and on month by month rates now? We worked with a business who acquired another business. One of the new locations had been leasing their phone equipment since 1996. They had spent over $20,000 over the years on equipment that they could have purchased for under $1000. This GOLDEN nugget of savings was found because of reviewing their telecom expenditures!
- Recurring Fees you didn’t ask for. Let’s face it, mistakes happen. Sometimes when keying an order, additional features (wire maintenance, pay-per-use fees like directory assistance, etc.) get added on to the account. You may or may not have asked to have these features added on the account. And, many of these are recurring on your bill each month. Many carriers have policies in place that only go back 3 months for credits on billing errors, so it is in your best interest to catch these fees early and get them corrected.
- Other Charges or Credits not properly applied. Were you promised a billing credit that wasn’t given? Were you charged installation or service order fees that you feel were not justified? We had a business that was charged a $47 installation fee for every phone line when they did a Change of Ownership on their account. Nothing changed with their service, just the company name, ownership and where to send the bill. The carrier inadvertently tacked on installation fees per line. Mining this bill saved them nearly $200 in charges!
- Correct Contracted Rates. Are the monthly fees billing at what you were quoted? Were you offered a term discount that is not being applied to your account? Keep in mind that your contracted rate is not the total amount due. There will be taxes, other fees and surcharges in addition to the contracted rates. Speaking of taxes, are you tax exempt and is this reflected on your bill?
We love to put on our mining hats and get out our pick axes to dig you out some telecom gold. If you would like us to review your bill, FREE to you, we would be happy to see if there are some nuggets we can find and save you some Cha-Ching!