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You Make the Call

You Make the Call

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You Make the Call

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  1. You Make the Call Selecting the right phone services for you Consumer Action — Selecting Phone Services

  2. Pros: Good reception, consistent connection Enables Internet access Multiple phones/jacks possible Flat or measured rates for local calls Includes a listing in the phone directory Cons: Must be at home to make/receive calls Electronic/digital phones may not work during power outage No phone during temporary service outages Extra charges for long distance calls Landline Phone Service: Pros & Cons Consumer Action — Selecting Phone Services

  3. Pros: Talk/text any place you can receive a signal Texting, photos, data storage, and Internet access possible Features included Buckets of minutes Option to purchase cell service as needed Cons: Inconsistent service/dropped calls Dependent on battery Easy to rack up extra charges Early termination fee 9-1-1 calls do not provide caller’s address Wireless (Cellular) Service: Pros & Cons Consumer Action — Selecting Phone Services

  4. Pros: Generally provides a good connection Can save you money on long distance Can probably keep landline number if switching services Features included Cons: May have to purchase package of services Could limit you to calls at home No phone service when Internet connection is down May not provide address to 9-1-1 dispatchers Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP): Pros & Cons Consumer Action — Selecting Phone Services

  5. Landline: An Overview Services: • Local—immediate area + 9-1-1 and 4-1-1 • Local toll—outside local area, but not long distance • Long distance—outside local toll area Carriers: • Can choose single carrier or more than one • Look under Telecommunications or ask around Plans: • Flat-rate service allows unlimited local calls • Measured service charges per call or per minute for extra calls • Assistance programs for low-income consumers Consumer Action — Selecting Phone Services

  6. Wireless: An Overview • Single carrier provides local and long distance • Coverage area key in choosing wireless carrier • Understand how monthly minutes are allotted • Service contract (fee for early termination) • May be able to “port” your existing number • Select your phone • Choose prepaid plan if credit or budget are issues • Look under Cellular or ask around Consumer Action — Selecting Phone Services

  7. VoIP: An Overview • Two types of VoIP • Many cable and other companies offer VoIP • High-speed Internet connection (DSL or cable) required • Single carrier provides local and long distance • VoIP plans are similar, but prices vary • May have a service contract (fee for early termination) • May be able to “port” current landline number • Will need equipment (router, adapter and cords) Consumer Action — Selecting Phone Services

  8. Activity: Choosing the Right Phone Service • Break into smaller groups • Choose the best phone service option(s) for each caller • Reconvene in 10 minutes • Your group or spokesperson will explain your choices Consumer Action — Selecting Phone Services

  9. First Session Wrap-Up At the next session, we’ll learn: • How to save money on long distance and international calls • How to assess phone service needs • How to be a savvy shopper • What to expect on your monthly bill • What your rights are Please return in 15 minutes. Consumer Action — Selecting Phone Services

  10. Long Distance & International Calling • Know your long distance calling habits • Choose best carrier/plan for needs • Prepaid calling cards • “Dial-around” numbers • VoIP: “Free” U.S. long distance and low-cost international calling Consumer Action — Selecting Phone Services

  11. Assessing Your Phone Service Needs • Who do you call? • Where do you call? • When do you call? • How often do you call? • How long do you talk? • Where will you make and receive calls? • What features/capabilities do you need? • How important is cost? Consumer Action — Selecting Phone Services

  12. Shopping for Landline Service • Flat-rate or measured local service • Single or separate carriers • Per minute vs calling plan • Call-time calculation • Optional features • Installation • Deposit Consumer Action — Selecting Phone Services

  13. Coverage area Plan minutes (number & type) Data services Plan price Overage charges Roaming & long distance Toll-free & 4-1-1 Other features/cost Contract Port current number Buy/use own handset Shopping for Wireless Service Consumer Action — Selecting Phone Services

  14. Shopping for VoIP Service • Reliable connection • Monthly cost • Free long distance locations • Ability to send/receive faxes • Option to port your landline # • Enhanced 9-1-1 • Customer service Consumer Action — Selecting Phone Services

  15. Activity: Shopping for the Best Plan • Break into three groups • Your group will be assigned a phone service type • Prepare “shopping” questions for the phone service provider/carrier • Choose someone from your group to ask the questions, or take turns • Reconvene in 5 minutes Consumer Action — Selecting Phone Services

  16. What You’ll See on Your Bill • Monthly service charges • Usage charges • 4-1-1 charges • Taxes/surcharges • Charges for optional features • One-time charges • Late fees Consumer Action — Selecting Phone Services

  17. Your Rights as a Phone Service Consumer • Info about least expensive basic plan • An understandable phone bill • Discounts for vision, speech or hearing impaired • Trial period • Working phone jack in every rental • Phone number portability in local area • Do Not Call registry (www.DoNotCall.gov) • No slamming or cramming Consumer Action — Selecting Phone Services

  18. Class Evaluation Please fill out the evaluation form and leave it on your way out. Thank you! Consumer Action — Selecting Phone Services