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The Impact of Carrier Terms of Service Changes

Telecommunications carriers amend terms of services from time to time.  They provide change notices to customers via postal mail, printed on an invoice, or as an electronic alert in a billing portal. Reading and understanding each terms of service change is an important vendor management activity for customers.  One such change posted by AT&T in December illustrates why reading these notices is important.

Effective January 14, 2019, AT&T will no longer offer prorated credits for services canceled before the end of the billing period.  AT&T bills in advance for DIRECTV, U-verse® TV, AT&T Phone, AT&T Internet and Fixed Wireless Internet services.  Currently, when services are disconnected during the billing cycle a prorated credit is provided for the portion of the month that remains.  This change means that all services contractually eligible to be disconnected without penalty will not receive credits for a partial month’s service after this change becomes effective.

This change means that all services contractually eligible to be disconnected without penalty will not receive credits for a partial month’s service after this change becomes effective. Click To Tweet

If this or any other terms of service change negatively affects your business, there are a few recommended actions.  First, review your service agreement to determine if contract language is present that supersedes the terms of service.  If it does, then no action is required.  If not and the impact of the change is material to your business, then open negotiations with your carrier for full or partial relief.

Second, keep a record of the technical, financial and operational impact of all terms of service changes over a contract term and use that information to negotiate more equitable terms in subsequent contracts.

Finally, as a preventative measure, work to eliminate all contractual cross-references to supplemental language, like terms of service language, when negotiating carrier contracts.  While this is not always possible, awareness of contract language that indicates changes may occur from time to time helps in the overall risk assessment of that vendor.

Originally published on TelecomReseller.com

This post was written in conjunction with the AOTMP® Efficiency First®Framework’s Auditing and Procurement core activities. 

Efficiency First® Framework v3.0 is the standard for measuring Telecom / Mobility / IT Management Center of Excellence maturity. It defines a comprehensive set of strategic performance measures, tactical diagnostic measures, and best practice principles used to optimize Center of Excellence business value. Enterprise organizations adopt the Framework and vendors align solutions to Framework principles.

To learn more about the Framework, click here.