a long distance service, there are many factors to consider besides rate
changes. Determine the amount of your current average monthly long distance
bill. Compare several companies' services including any initial fees, monthly
fees, rates per minute and areas of service.
around for a long distance carrier, ask the following:
- What is the cost per minute for long
distance calls, including state-to-state and international calls?
- Is it cheaper to enroll in a local
phone plan as well?
- Is there a monthly fee as well as a
cost-per-minute fee with the plan?
- Is there a minimum charge per month?
- Are there currently any ongoing
- How much will it cost you, as a
customer, to switch carriers?
- What extra charges are there (i.e.:
universal serial charge, carrier line charge, etc…)?
- Is there a time of day restriction on
calls? (Will it be cheaper to call after 8pm or before 7am?).
- Are there any charges for things such
as expanded area service or expanded metropolitan service?
- Who handles complaints, billing
errors or service problems?
To be certain
you are getting the best rates, you must also be sure you are enrolled in the
right calling plan. These plans are constantly changing. Periodically
conducting long distance "check-ups" can be done to save money. Call
your carrier's toll-free customer service number, and ask if you're on their
least expensive calling plan that meets your calling patterns.
To be sure
that your calling plan is right for you, ask yourself:
- Do I make enough calls to get the
best use of my money with this plan?
- Do I make too many calls and should I
consider switching plans?
- Will this plan offer me what I need
most (i.e. the better long distance plan or local package)?
- If I were to have trouble with my
phone service, would this company be able to help me promptly and
If you decide
to look into other plans, do your homework. Call the carriers to confirm the
rates, features and services and to see if you qualify for any of the plans'
- Choose a provider you can trust.
Don't be afraid to ask questions.
- Know the real and full costs of the
plan you choose before signing the contract.
- Consider the length of your long
distance calls. Many companies now have a flat rate after a certain amount
of time. (Usually, the rates changes to a "per minute" charge
after the first ten minutes).
- Check your monthly bill before paying
to make sure that it is correct. If not, contact the company about the
Federal Communications Commission
New York State Attorney General
New York State
information is general in nature and is not intended as a reliability report on
any company, product, or service.