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Tips for Lowering Your Long Distance Telephone Bill

If you believe your long distance company is charging you too much - in flat fees, monthly minimums, and per-minute charges, there are several options that may lower your bill.

Option 1:

  • Call your long distance telephone company.
  • Ask about calling plans.
  • Ask if changing your calling plan will lower your bill, based on your calling history.
  • Ask for details - are there any monthly flat fees on the plans that your company recommends? What about other charges for federal and state programs and taxes?

Option 2:

  • Switch long distance companies.
  • There are many competitors in today's long distance market.
  • Consumer-oriented websites and publications are great places to begin your search. See, for example, www.fcc.gov and www.trac.org on the Web, and Consumer Reports Magazine.
  • Know your calling pattern. Do you make most of your calls on the weekend? Or are most of your calls during weekdays? Gathering some old long distance bills can help.
  • Call some competitors to ask about monthly flat fees and per-minute rates. What is their best plan, based on your calling pattern?
  • Don't forget the details - are there any monthly flat fees? What about other charges for federal and state programs and taxes? You may be surprised to find out that companies don't all have the same charges for federal programs - shop around!

Option 3:

  • Consider dropping your long distance company.
  • You can drop your current long distance company without switching to another company.
  • If you make very few long distance calls each month (or no calls at all), you may be able to save money by dropping your long distance company.
  • If you do this, you will have no presubscribed long-distance company, so you will not be able to make long distance calls by dialing "1" plus the area code and phone number.
  • However, you can still make long distance calls by using dial-around companies.
  • Be a savvy shopper if you plan to use dial-around. Consumer-oriented websites and publications can help.
  • Before using a dial-around company, ask about whether any flat monthly charges apply. Also, what are the per-minute rates? Are any charges for federal or state programs added? What about taxes?
  • How do you drop your long-distance phone company? Call your local phone company and tell them that you no longer wish to have a presubscribed long distance carrier for your phone line. Your local phone company may charge you a small fee to drop your long distance company, the same fee it charges customers who switch long distance companies and it may charge you a "Presubscribed Interexchange Carrier Charge" directly.