Telecoms bundling 'ripping off' businesses
Telecoms bundling normally comes in the form of combining a fixed line phone service with cheaper mobile phone calls, or even 'free' broadband for a period of time (ignoring the fact that nothing is free when it comes to telcos).
Concerningly the ACCC has uncovered some less than reputable bundling practices with telcos bolting on office equipment to the primary telephone contract. For example, sign a 2 years fixed line phone deal for you office of 10 staff and get a photocopier and fax machine interest free for the same period.
The issues comes when the fixed period ends, the small business is left having to repay the finance deal. Rather unsurprisingly the typical interest and repayment rate once the two years is up is woefully uncompetitive.
The attraction always comes when something is offered for 'free', and for a lot of people this removes the rationality of any buying decision.
It seems obvious, but there are some simple rules that a business owner should follow to ensure that they don't get stung like this:
- If a core service provider is selling something that doesn't initially appear core (would you buy a steak from a baker?), make sure it definitely is a good service and / or product -ensure you compare to alternative options
- If something is sold as 'free', 'interest free' or just in general seems 'too good to be true', then it probably is
- If you're being sold to by someone over the phone or face to face and the situation is feeling 'high pressured' - take a breather, walk away, say 'no'!
A good salesperson selling a reputable product and service will know it's a tough decision, and will respect your need to have time to thinking about.
A poor salesperson selling a less than great product and service (a bit of an iffy deal) will push, push and push for you to sign the deal. Be suspicious!