Educational Consumer Tips

Long Distance Telephone Service

Author: Better Business Bureau

When choosing a long distance service, there are many factors to consider besides rate charges. First determine the amount of your average monthly long distance bill. Compare several companies' services including any initial fees, monthly fees, rates per minute and areas of service. Equal access will be in effect nationwide by 1986. In areas currently WITHOUT equal access, if you are considering tone service and wish to purchase equipment for such service, such as a push-button, tone telephone or tone adapter, how much extra will you be charged per month for tone service? And, if you do not install the telephone equipment yourself, what is the installation charge? When will equal access become effective in your area? How are charges calculated--when does the "clock state ticking"? Can you get a refund if you are charged for an unanswered call? Are you charged for calls under one minute long? Are calls rounded up to a certain amount of time? Do you have to have a credit card to be billed? Ask if a trail period is available to see if there are difficulties placing calls and to check the quality of service. Find out who handles complaints, billing errors, or service problems.