Phone Line only Service

Scams of the telecoms trade

Telecom Scams
Almost everyone seems to be offering very attractive call Packages and bundles however nothing in life is free and It’s important to look at the detail as you could be paying more overall. Don't choose your telephone company just because you think it has the cheapest calls, line rental or Broadband.

Most people spend hours calling and looking around for the best car insurance, so why not for your telephone provider!

1.Not all telecom companies are the same - they all offer different levels of service, features, options, packages and contracts, all with different T&C's

2.Very cheap calls often mean bad calls – particularly to mobiles and international destinations. Operators have send calls over poor quality routes because there prices are so low they cannot use good quality carriers, normally the giveaway is the omission of CLI (Calling Line Identity), and drop calls; to name but a few.

3.You’re not being told the full story - telephone companies use all sorts of tricks to trap you into thinking that their calls are cheaper than everyone else’s. Usually they’re not; here’s why:

The Headline Prices
This is the one in big print shouting at you. It’s the draw, the hook, the snake oil, the scam.  It says something like, "mobile calls 5p per minute!”  Here’s what else you need to know to decide whether that’s a good deal or not.

The headline price shouting at you is often a loss leader, disguising the fact that other calls are very expensive, so you get one cheap call but 5 expensive ones. So check the other frequently called numbers too – 0845, 0870 and even 01 and 02. (I’m looking at a big name brand that’s advertising cheap mobile calls whilst charging 9p per minute to call an everyday local number!).

Contract Term
Almost all telecoms companies will try to get you to sign up for long contracts or upfront payments, and in return in doing so you are offered lower cost than if paying monthly  – HOWEVER they are not obliged to keep their prices constant over that period. 

Below is just one of the terms we found in one of the largest 
cable providers contacts:

" We may offer a number of different XXXX Calls packages and Line Rental packages and make variations to them from time to time (for example we may vary the number of international destinations in inclusive call tariffs or the times of day of free calls). We will give you at least one calendar months’ notice in writing if we make a change to your Calls package or your Line Rental service which could affect your XXXXX subscription charges.”

Call Set-up Charges
Telcos often want you to pay up front for something that actually costs them nothing and gives you nothing in return. This nothing is the call set-up charge. This is a BIG deal for all the major brands – BT, Virgin, Talk Talk etc - and can be as much as 15p, after which they add the pence per minute charge. One major brand advertises mobile calls at 12p per minute but has a call set-up charge of 15p, this means that your first 60 seconds costs you 25p, not the headline 12p. You can bet that they won’t explain this in clear sight, so go look for it.

Unlimited Calling Plans
There is no such thing as an unlimited calling plan – there can’t be because nothing in life is free, someone somewhere has had a cost! Also it would disproportionately attract customers that will use vast quantities of calls e.g outbound call centers

This is why all providers have an ‘abuse of service clause’ or "FUP" in their T&Cs to protect them so that if you regularly exceed a given number of call minutes which makes you uneconomic as a customer – a number they most of the time don't even define – you will be warned, bumped up to a ‘business use’ package or removed off the service 
altogether. They will also always exclude calls to mobiles and international destinations so they are in no way ‘unlimited.’

Capped Call Charges.
This is probably one of the best telecoms scam because it’s seems such a good deal, but at the same time being a rip-off. 
"Mobile calls cost only 10p per minute capped at 25p for up to an hour.”
This is clever because it seems great to have a hour for 25p. But we’re forgetting that the telecoms companies have studied their numbers; an average business call to a mobile phone is around 90 seconds, so on average, you’re not getting any value from the deal – it’s purely marketing hype.

Minimum Call Duration
This is the practice of charging per minute (or other duration) instead of per second or fraction of seconds.

It’s the sneakiest of sneaky hidden charge because it seems ok but if you call mobiles or exotic destinations it can be nothing but a huge rip-off. If you see call prices to UK mobiles that look very good value (ie are cheap) they may well be using this trick. It means that every time your call goes to voicemail you will pay them 10p – or whatever.

As the average duration of a business call is between 1 and 2 minutes (surprising isn’t it?) it means that a large proportion of your calls are going to be less than 1 minute – but you’ll be charged for a whole minute anyway! If your calls go over a minute, you’ll always pay for the next whole minute – a call lasting 61 seconds will be charged at 120 seconds. This makes that 5p per minute headline utterly misleading.