The Seven Deadly Sins of Telecom – Greed

Cheap headline tariffs do not always save you money


With many of the things you buy, the advertised price is not what you end up paying. We are all familiar with ‘from/to” pricing and know that the model we usually need is bound to be in the most expensive bracket, the ‘to’ bit. The same thing applies when selecting the provider for fixed or mobile telecom services; the advertised price is only the beginning.

With landlines in particular, call tariffs often look very attractive when advertised. However behind the cheap tariffs lurk hidden dangers. So always ask the following questions: –

1. Are call charges billed per second or per minute? The latter can add up to 20% to your bill.

2. To how many decimal places are calls billed or are they rounded up? Again the latter could increase the bill by 10%.

3. Get a full list of all call prices. Cheap calls to UK landlines and mobiles may be offset by higher prices to 0844, 0845 and 0870 numbers and to international destinations, if you make that type of call.

Also watch out for longer term deals whereby line rentals are cheaper or free. This means you are fixing your call prices for that period. Call costs generally fall, so saving a bit of money on line rentals may cost you more in the long term. The cost of calling mobiles from landlines has fallen almost 50% in the past 5 years, a long term deal would have prevented customers from benefiting from these.

With mobiles there are many low price deals, but check the cost of calls outside the inclusive destinations. Also ask what are the costs if you exceed the allowances and, even more so, roaming prices.

As always it is important to check anything before you sign it. We ensure the deals we negotiate for our clients are without any hidden nasty extras.

To read more of the 7 deadly sins of telecoms download the free guide


The Seven Deadly Sins of Telecoms – Sloth

slothSloth – Don’t be slothful – take time to check the contract

How many people take the time to read the small print before they sign a Telecoms contract? Everyone is busy these days and, after all, what can go wrong? In our experience a lot. Obviously much of the wording is legal jargon and has to be there, but one way round is to ask these specific questions and get a response in writing confirming that they apply to your contract.

1. How long is the contract for? A favourite trick is to leave the minimum term option box blank, with small print saying ‘if blank the contract is deemed to be 60 months’. Watch out for this and never lock yourself in long term. Some companies including BT have been known to have different durations for the lines themselves and the calls

2. What is the notice period? If you employ less than 10 people then automatic rollover contracts are illegal. But some companies try to get round it with opt out clauses. Some companies have 3-year notice periods, so effectively you have to give notice the day the contract starts.

3. How are penalties calculated if you do cancel? Watch out for any that want to charge remaining rentals in full and calls you would have made. This breaches Ofcom guidance. The best will charge 20% of remaining line rentals. Obviously if you have received a benefit eg free installation for a long term commitment and you cancel early it is reasonable this should be repaid

4. Have you got a full list of the call tariffs and terms and conditions? You should have but some companies just refer you to their website. Ask for a copy to be sent to you and state any changes must be sent to in full with the right to opt out.

5. Do you have a right to cancel if they raise their prices?

A little effort can save a lot of pain later. As brokers we ensure our clients only enter fair and reasonable contracts. We have also helped some clients get out of difficult contracts.

“Dave helped us when we had just about accepted that we were going to be stuck with an extortionate 5 year telecom contract (to the cost £10,000+) which we had unknowingly signed up for. We had realised we were being fleeced when the bills increased massively overnight. We spent the next 8 months trying to negotiate with our provider, who insisted that the contract was binding despite our argument that it was totally mis-sold. We had legal advice but no one was willing to help. Just when we were about to admit defeat we tweeted “can anyone help us with a telecom contract problem please”?

Dave replied straight away and has since sorted it all out for us. He spoke to our provider directly, had meetings with the customer service bosses, generally “kicked butt!” with the result that we are now on a 1year contract with massively reduced charges and have received a £700 refund. When the end of our one-year term approaches we will definitely contact Dave.

I would highly recommend anyone who is considering changing provider, or signing a new contract, to contact Dave first. He really does know what he’s talking about and will probably save you a lot of stress and money! We are eternally grateful for his help. He was never judgmental, always pleasant, kept us informed at every step and helped us out of what we had thought was an impossible situation.

Thanks so much.”

Eli Taylor

Callow Top


To read more of ‘The 7 Deadly Sins of Telecoms’ download the free guide