Save money on 800 fees

The simplest strategy here is to switch your service to a carrier that does not bill fees per 800 number, or get your current carrier to waive the fees. Like the banking industry, the telecommunications industry earns a significant amount of fee income. If the customer has the right amount of leverage, the average long-distance carrier will waive the toll-free number fees. A customer who has just completed a term agreement with a carrier and is renegotiating a new contract probably has enough leverage to get these costly fees waived.

When negotiating contracts with carriers, it is of the utmost importance that the cost of fees be clarified before executing the agreement. During negotiations, long-distance carriers will usually steer the conversation to discuss discounts and rates. Too many customers have allowed the negotiations to end here. When they get their bill, they may be surprised to see miscellaneous fees increase the bill by as much as 30%.

As could be expected, carriers are never happy about losing business. Most carriers will fight to retain a customer once they receive a change of RESPORG form from a competing carrier. They are not allowed to refuse to give up the number, but they do not have to forfeit the business without a fight. The first tactic is to call the customer directly and try to retain the business. The incumbent carrier may offer lower pricing or other premiums such as a free month of service in an attempt to save the account. If the customer is switching due to poor service, the carrier will probably attempt to resolve the problem.

Beware of the name mismatch game

If none of the tactics mentioned works, the incumbent carrier will play the name mismatch game. Upon receipt of the change of RESPORG form from the new carrier, the old carrier will double-check the exact spelling of the customer’s name. If the names mismatch only slightly, the carrier will refuse to release the number. I have seen numerous cases in which the current carrier had misspelled the company name years ago, and now that the company wants to change carriers, the current carrier will not release the number because of a mismatch.

For example, a company called Dave’s Trucking and Transportation uses Sprint for its 800 service. Dave wants to switch to AT&T, so he fills out the proper forms with the AT&T representative. Sprint refuses to release the 800 numbers because it knows the account as “Dave’s Trucking and Transportation, Inc.”

In an era where mergers and acquisitions cause business names to change frequently, the name mismatch game can be a very effective way for a long-distance carrier to earn an additional 2 months’ worth of billing.

Save money (and hassles) when switching inbound long-distance carriers
When you fill out the RESPORG forms with your new carrier, give the company a copy of your current long-distance bill. This way, the carrier can ensure the name on the forms will match exactly. Better yet, have the company send the bill copy to the new carrier along with the RESPORG form. This may save you up to 2 or 3 months of extended billing with the old carrier, as well as the frustration associated with micromanaging your long-distance carriers.

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