5 bizarre things (plus a real shocker) found on almost all business phone bills.

telecom audit

Telecom auditors can usually find it all

We look at a lot of phone bills and as a result we have a unique eye at picking out unusual patterns. Most of it is just carrier billing errors, but sometime our audits cross into the twilight zone.

When you audit thousands of pages of bills a year, you begin to really pick out some things that you didn’t know were possible to do with a phone. Many telecom companies are fighting decreasing revenues by letting users charge almost everything to their phone. As a result, all sorts of things can be hidden on an invoice. Here are the top ones that we find but we’ve also included one that got us in a bit of trouble when we found it. Read on:

  1. Premium text message
  2. Time and time again we find this. Typically 10% or more of any corporations wireless inventory has these phantom charges. Most of the time they are billed in error. Good luck proving it though.

  3. Directory assistance calls
  4. Without fail, we find this on nearly every phone bill. It’s only $2-4 here and there, but if 1000 lines are doing it every month… Do the math. With smartphones there really should be no 411 calls made. It’s so common that our software can automatically email the end user to tell them to stop without any intervention.

  5. Lines that connect to nowhere
  6. The lines ring somewhere, but no one picks up. Ever. Don’t worry, your carrier will continues to send a bill for the line.

  7. Collect calls from prisons
  8. Ms. Ponzi no longer works for that company.

  9. Lines that connect to Uzbekistan
  10. Usually a cell phone of a departed employee that was forwarded to an office line which is forwarded to a cell phone number he had on a business trip to Uzbekistan…2 years ago. The company is still paying for the cell phone, the landline, and as for that international call forwarding: long distance charges may apply.

    Wondering what number 6 is? First, a little backstory. We do audits on a wide variety of organization ranging from small companies to enterprise customers, and our job is to find absolutely every penny of wasted spending. We’ll pound the table with carriers over a 10 cent charge if we have to. We’re so good at finding expenses that we sometimes find things that we really shouldn’t. So what is it that we found that we really shouldn’t have found:

  11. Adult content (aka porn)
  12. That’s right. Some employees are billing smut onto the company’s phone bills. Frequently it’s a carrier billing error (which we can always prove), but sometimes we recognize a pattern and determine it’s not. Frequently someone in account payables spots it but doesn’t confront the guilty party to avoid that awkward conversation. We (delicately) do.

    Do you know what charges are appearing on your phone bills?

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    Andrew Seipp

    Principal Consultant at Telclarity
    Andrew Seipp is the principal consultant for Telclarity. His company helps small to enterprise clients navigate the world of telecom and find significant savings. Having worked in the telecom industry for nearly a decade he brings unparalleled insider knowledge to the table.

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