As a business owner, you receive many invoices that need to be paid on a regular basis. Some of them are easy to understand, so you pay them without question. This is NOT the case with the telecom bill. Telecom bills rank consistently as one of the most difficult invoices to understand, leaving many people asking themselves, “WHY is my telecom bill so confusing?” Here are some of the main factors that contribute to the telecom confusion:
Multiple Telecom Billing Systems
One of the main reasons for difficulty in understanding a telecom invoice is that telecom carriers have different billing systems for their different services. Local calls, long distance calls, data, wireless…each individual service can be billed at different rates, with different terms and different discounts. You probably require many telecom services to effectively run your business, but it is tough to keep track of the billing rules that apply to each one. Frequent mergers and acquisitions within the telecom industry contribute to the multiple billing systems, as your current provider may be going through a transitional period.
A Variety of Telecom Billing Rates
Many telecom service providers charge a list price or “base rate” for services. That would be simple enough if the base rate was actually the amount that you ended up paying, but there are usually discounts applied, which result in the “net effective rate” which is the rate that the sales rep quotes you to get you to agree to the contract. Application of the discounts can be tricky and hard to follow. It is difficult to tell if discounts are applied correctly or if there are billing errors because of inaccurate or forgotten discounts.
Telecommunications Contract Terms for Charges vs. Discounts
Often the discount is fixed for the term of the contract, but the monthly charges are NOT fixed. Most clients do not realize this when they agree to the contract terms, because the nature of charges vs. discounts is not easy to understand. If the base rate is increased, then the net rate also rises, despite the discounts. Fluctuating rates add to the confusion to the already convoluted telecom billing situation.
“Other” Telecom Charges
As if the charges for services were not complicated enough, lets consider the “other” telecommunications charges that are tacked on to the bill. These are typically charges for taxes and regulatory fees. Though the contract covers prices for services, it does not cover taxes and regulatory fees. Because the “other” fees are not part of the contract, it is hard to question their accuracy and validity, so most customers just pay these telecom fees on blind faith.
These four factors combine to create a very confusing invoice for most telecom customers. The service providers count on confusion tactics so that their customers will not take the time necessary to understand and question their bill. Over 80 percent of telecom invoices contain errors, but because it takes so much time to get a clear understanding of an invoice, errors frequently go unnoticed. If your telecom bill is leaving you confused and wondering if you are overpaying for services, contact PAG. As the telecom experts, we can cut through the confusion, find and correct any errors, and uncover opportunities for savings.