THE FLIP SIDE OF FUNDING: UNDERSTANDING YOUR SERVICE BILL AND THE FEES THAT YOU’RE PAYING AND WHAT THEY ARE FOR

WE HAVE COVERED FUNDING THE ADVANCEMENTS OF UPGRADING TELECOMMUNICATION CAPABILITIES; BUT WHAT ABOUT THE FUNDING FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE CONSUMER? HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED WHY SERVICE IS EXPENSIVE REGARDLESS OF WHAT COMPANY YOU SIGNUP WITH?

UNDERSTANDING THE EXPENSE BEHIND YOUR SERVICE

Just like you I am a consumer; as a consumer I have questions, concerns, and I want to know exactly what I am paying for. A reasonable request for any of as to have as consumers regardless of what product or service we are purchasing; we simply want to know where our money is going.

The bill comes in the mail, you open it, and you see line after line after line of charges. Charges that you have to pay, yet no one has taken the time to explain. Not all those charges make sense and sometimes even seems like some of them are doubled up. There are taxes, surcharges, charges that don’t seem like they should be on a telephone and/or internet provider bill. And yet they are there and they have to be paid in order to maintain coverage. What do all these fees mean though, and where does the money paid for them go?

CONFUSION CAUSED BY VARIATIONS IN TERMINOLOGY BETWEEN COMPANIES

Depending on which service provider you’re with you will have certain charges that are affixed to your bill through government regulations. However, many charges that you may not see on another service providers invoice. This is due in part to the presentation of charges and in part to the description/names of charges. This is because some may change from company to company but where the money goes and why its affixed to your bill remains the same. For example one service provider may group their government regulated taxes and surcharges under one charge on the main bill and then include a page that breaks down those charges into itemized charges; whereas another company will itemize everything on the main portion of the bill you receive making it easier to read and to understand.

An example of the names of taxes and surcharges that can vary would be one company that lists their fee paid directly to the FCC as an “FCC Fee” whereas another company may list it as “FCC Regulatory Recovery Fee”. Compared to some of the examples I have seen in my research of this article that is a rather mild example.

Many years ago I worked for a large telecommunications company and one of the issues we dealt with frequently was consumers swearing they didn’t have to pay certain fees at other companies that they had to pay at the company I worked for. The reality is that there are some fees that a consumer must pay regardless of what company they are with but the name variation is so drastic that when a consumer changes companies and is reviewing their bill for the first time they’re left sitting there wondering what they are paying for because there’s a new title that they believed they didn’t have to pay with the previous company. And so part of my job was explaining a persons bill to them and what the various charges were for.

KNOWLEDGE IS EMPOWERMENT

As consumers it is important that you understand the terminology (regardless of what company you’re with) and exactly what the fee means to you as a consumer other than something that you’re stuck paying simply because its on your invoice. It is also important to understand what fees are affixed by a service provider vs which ones are regulated by the government. As such I have reviewed sample invoices from seven random service providers as a means to create a “Consumers’s Glossary of Terms” that you, as a consumer, need to understand I came across the “Broadband Bill Autopsy: The Origin and Purpose of Every Single Fee” article that provides a fabulous explanation of every fee you’ll encounter on your telecommunication bills.

Your telecommunication bills could be anything from a landline, to your cell phones, to your internet service and each of them brings with them their own set of regulatory fees and service company fees that you need to be informed of. Funding for upgrades and expansions doesn’t come solely from the government out of the goodness of their heart. They have to set aside money for those upgrades, and for expansion projects, but where does that money come from? The next article is going to hit on some of these fees and their necessity to funding progress of telecommunication capabilities.

Part 4 of 10 in the series: The Funding Of Advancements Made To The Telecommunication Capabilities. 

Written By: Crystal Lori-Ann Winkelman (July 2019) 

References and further reading material……

https://www.google.com/search?q=understanding+internet+bill&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en-us&client=safari

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About the Author: Crystal Lori-Ann Winkelman

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