Telecom bills have been notorious for billing errors, ever since a 2005 Gartner study revealed up to 80% of invoices contained some kind of mistake.
Since then, better technology and automation have improved the situation, but telecom billing errors should still be taken seriously. Even today, that number is as high as 15%.
In this article, we look at the most common telecom billing errors, and how your business can take measures to prevent losing money to them.
How are you billed for telecom services?
Your business’ telecom invoice is likely made up of two main components; equipment rental and usage fees. If you own all your equipment outright, then you will only need to worry about billing errors in the usage portion.
Billing errors from the vendor.
Many billing errors are mistakes on the vendor’s end. It’s important to scrutinize – or have a professional audit – your telecom bills for these errors. They can include:
- Billed for disconnected services – sometimes, after cancelling a service such as an extra phone line or data add-on, a customer may still find themselves incurring charges for the extra service they did not receive.
- Billed for another customer’s services – these kinds of mistakes happen and can be quite costly if not flagged.
- Non-recurring errors – there can be many one-time mistakes, such as incorrect service or overage charges, that are easily resolved as long as they are noticed.
- Tax errors – if your business operates in multiple nations, states, or regions, multiple tax laws and processes may leave you susceptible to errors you don’t understand or know to look out for.
- Unfulfilled credits – if you’re promised a credit or discount from an agent, it is prudent to ensure this promise has been fulfilled.
You’re paying for the wrong plan.
Sometimes it’s less that there is a mistake on your bill, and more that you’re continuing to pay for the wrong service for your business. This can look like:
- Paying for excess usage – when your plan doesn’t cover the full scope of your needs, you will end up paying costly overage fees.
- Paying for a plan that’s more than you need – likewise, if you are only using a fraction of your plan’s allowances each pay period, you are likely paying for a plan that is more expensive than it needs to be.
- One size fits all plans or bundles – some vendors only offer bundles that aren’t customizable to each customer, meaning you’re likely not paying for optimized solutions.
- Outdated plans – in the ever-changing, competitive world of telecom, plans and market rates change quickly, meaning the length of your contract may mean you’re paying for an out-of-date plan, and therefore, not getting fair market prices.
What can you do to avoid overpaying?
The best strategy to avoid overpaying for billing errors is vigilance and attention to detail.
First, it’s important to know what you’ve agreed to pay for, so you know if you’re invoiced for a service incorrectly. This means taking the time to review your bills every payment period and asking questions about any charge you don’t recognize.
Likewise, when it comes time to reevaluate your contract, consider shopping around. Making a change to your services can be daunting, but your business’ needs are unique, and the provider that can best accommodate that individuality will likely optimize your cost.
If this all sounds overwhelming and time consuming, that’s because it can be. We highly recommend working alongside professionals, who have the expertise in reviewing bills and identifying errors.
While the rate of telecom billing errors has decreased in the past twenty years, they are still prevalent enough to be concerning. However, attention to detail and proactivity can save your business significantly in the face of incorrect invoices.