Telecommunications carriers amend terms of service 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.
Regardless of how these terms of service changes are announced, reading and understanding them is an important vendor management activity for customers. One such change posted by AT&T in December illustrates exactly why.
On January 14, 2019, AT&T eliminated prorated credits for services canceled before the end of each billing period. This is important because AT&T bills in advance for DIRECTV, U-verse® TV, phone, internet, and fixed wireless internet services. Now, all services contractually eligible to be disconnected without penalty will not receive credits for a partial month’s service.Now, all services contractually eligible to be disconnected without penalty will not receive credits for a partial month’s service. Click To Tweet
If terms of service changes like this negatively affect your business, there are a few recommended actions you can take. 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 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.
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, and 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.