telecommunications contracts

Telecommunications contracts aren’t the most exciting things to read. They’re full of jargon, legalese and fine print. However, it’s important to fully understand what you and the telecommunications provider are committing to before signing on the dotted line. Unfortunately, a lot of dissatisfaction with telecommunications services stem from not fully knowing or understanding what is in the contract.

Here are a few things to look for when reviewing a telecommunications contracts:

  • What is the auto-renewal policy? Most telecommunications contracts have an auto-renewal policy, which states how the contract will be renewed at the end of the contract period. This is to ensure that there isn’t a break in service. However, it’s important to know what that policy is, in case you are not planning on renewing with the same company. Keep in mind that there may be a deadline by which you must tell your provider that you don’t want to renew services or a specific process by which to inform them.
  • What is the cancellation policy? When signing telecommunications contracts, both parties are agreeing to a set of services, for an amount of money, over a period of time. If the contract is cancelled before the agreed-upon period, there may be penalties and fees applied. This takes many customers by surprise when they switch from one provider to another mid-contract. Know what the cancellation policies and penalties are and take that into account when weighing your options to change providers.
  • How long do the discounts you’re receiving last? When you first sign the telecommunications contract, you may receive special rates or discounts. Those discounts are usually valid only for a limited time period. Sometimes customers are surprised when they receive an invoice and it’s higher than the previous billing periods. That’s because the discounted rates ended and services were being billed at the regular rate. Make sure you know what discounts you’re getting, when they end, but most importantly, what your rates and bills are going to look like once those lower rates end.
  • What will your first bill look like? Often times the first bill you receive from your telecommunications provider is for significantly more than you expect. That could because there are one-time set-up fees or charges that are typically incurred before the new period, so you have to cover two periods up front to get on schedule. Whatever the reason, the larger bill sometimes leaves customers unprepared for the expense, or feeling like perhaps they’re being charged more than what they signed up for. Before you sign your contract, take a look at what your costs are going to be on an ongoing basis and ask your sales representative what your first bill will look like. He or she should be able to provide you a good overview of what will be included and what the total will be.
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