Choosing to switch to a VoIP provider for your small business is a smart investment that allows you to make phone calls over the internet instead of using a traditional phone system. However, before you choose to partner with a managed VoIP provider, it is important to read through your existing contract to understand the various requirements and restrictions in place. CompassMSP is an IT provider that specializes in managed VoIP phone services for small businesses and is one of the leading managed service providers located in North and South Florida and Eastern Pennsylvania.
Interested in learning more? Here are just a couple of things to look out when signing a VoIP telephone contract.
If a provider needs to perform installation services in order to get your telecom system up and running, pay attention to the timeframe. It's not uncommon for some providers to require three to five months to complete this process. When entering the initial stages of an agreement with a VoIP provider, establish a time frame early on, before signing anything. This ensures both parties understand the expectation of when a service will officially be up and running and prevent costly delays to your business operations.
Auto-Renew Clauses & Cancellation Fees
One of the first things that you need to consider in your telephone contract is if it contains an auto-renewal clause. Typically, these auto-renew clauses automatically extend your subscription for at least 12 months - sometimes even longer. While these terms are specifically laid out in the initial contract you sign, sales associates often do not bring any attention to this clause, meaning you're signing up for an automatic extension you may have missed.
If you've already signed a contract with an auto-renewal clause included, your provider won't let you out easily. Oftentimes, customers will be hit with an "early termination" fee, costing you large sums of money just to cancel your service. If an early termination fee isn't applied, providers will often use an "early deactivation" fee for opting out of your extended contract. This additional fee is also designed to sway you from canceling your plan prematurely by tacking on a high cost to leave the provider.
It is always a good idea to ask to get these auto-renewal clauses removed from any agreement before signing, as you do not want to be locked into a long-term contract with an IT company that doesn't meet the needs of your business. Some providers require up to 90 days advance notice to terminate an auto-renew clause, so make sure to read the fine print and have any language your not comfortable with removed. You can also contact your account manager and discuss the possibility of your next provider, like CompassMSP, absorbing your deactivation fee.
Earned Credit Expiration
Oftentimes, telecom contracts will provide certain credits to offset the cost of their services. Pay attention to where these credits apply, and when they expire. It's not uncommon for these credits to not be applied at all, resulting in extra unplanned charges for your company. Providers then use the all-too-common "expiration" tactic to excuse not applying the credits you were promised in the original contract signing. It's imperative to pay attention to any expiration guidelines or dates credits will be applied. Make note of these specifics and monitor these promised credits to make sure they are applied correctly.
If you've been hit with the credit expiration excuse, ask to speak with an account supervisor within the provider's billing department to get credits applied. A billing dispute window of time is usually short, often only 90 to 120 days. So act quickly if you notice any issues!
Unclear Monthly Bills
It is vitally important to make sure a provider's monthly charge reports are clearly labeled and easy to understand. You and your team need a provider that clearly outlines charges and explains when there are any additions to your normal bill. There's nothing worse than trying to play phone tag with a billing department to get clarification on a mystery fee. When negotiating a contract at the outset, make sure to ask a sales associate for a sample of a monthly client bill. You'll be able to ensure the details you require in reporting are to your liking.
Most Important Tip: Select a Trusted Provider!
Understanding contract stipulations is essential to any small business that is considering signing a contract with a company that offers managed VoIP services. CompassMSP is a managed service provider that has many years of experience in the IT industry and offers managed VoIP services for a wide range of businesses. Our managed VoIP service uses cloud technology and gives your company the flexibility to grow at its own rate. We offer many different features, such as help desk support, automatic updates, proactive monitoring, capacity planning, security management, and many other services.
If you wish to learn more about the things to look out for in a VoIP managed services contract, please reach out to us at any time for a free consultation. CompassMSP is happy to assess your current contract to identify any costs or considerations that may affect your ability to switch to VoIP today.