Comparing Call Forwarding Services: Hidden Fees & Other Things to Consider
Activating an advanced call forwarding plan is a wise step for any business, but be sure to compare and contrast a variety of service plans before taking the plunge. Many call forwarding providers trap customers with hidden service fees, unscrupulous contracts, and free trial offers that are, in reality, far from free. The following three call forwarding providers are just a few of the many companies that provide sub-par service by harboring financial traps for the unwary consumer:
RingCentral is a call forwarding service provider that ostensibly offers cheap call forwarding. RingCentral advertises itself as an “easy to use, all inclusive phone system,” but a review of RingCentral’s lengthy fine print quickly reveals the maze of landmines hidden in the RingCentral contract:
- No international calling: While RingCentral portrays its plans as all-inclusive, international calling is actually billed separately. Prices vary by country, and range as high as $1.50/minute.
- User Limitations: RingCentral service plans start at $24.99 per user, but RingCentral determines the number of users per plan by the number of desk phones, softphones, conference phones and fax machines requiring service. For a standard mid-large size business, actual service costs would likely exceed $250
- Unlimited Calling Restrictions: RingCentral’s unlimited calling plan does not include toll free calls. Users who exceed toll free calling minute restrictions are billed for toll free calls at 3.9¢ per minute.
Vonage’s enhanced call forwarding plan offers convenient call forwarding in combination with virtual number services. While Vonage advertises its calling plans as generous and affordable, Vonage is actually famous for its hidden fees and dubious terms of service:
- High Speed Internet Required: Although Vonage is fairly clear in its stipulation that subscribers must also have high speed internet, the ramifications of this requirement must be considered. Unlike other VoIP providers, Vonage does not include failover routing in its service package, which means that in the event of an internet or power outage, Vonage call forwarding systems are unusable
- Early Cancellation Fee: Vonage’s most affordable service plans come with a minimum 1 year contract. Subscribers who cancel service prior to the one year mark are subject to a $60-120 cancellation fee (depending on the amount of time left in the plan).
- Limited Time Offer: Most of the rates featured on Vonage’s website are introductory offers only. For example, Vonage offers a 1-year unlimited calling contract that starts out at $14.99/month, but increases to $26.99/month after the first six months.
TurboNumber offers customers local phone numbers that forward to any cell phone or landline. While TurboNumber does not attempt to disguise the limitations of its service in fine print like Vonage does, its services are somewhat restricted in comparison to other similarly priced plans:
- Pre-paid Minutes: TurboNumber’s basic $5.99/month plan covers 100 minutes. Subscribers can purchase additional minutes for rates starting at 5¢/minute. While this plan may be effective for individual users or small businesses with relatively low call traffic, mid-large size businesses should look to more inclusive plans.
- Minute Limitations: TurboNumber minutes expire one year from purchase. Unused minutes cannot be rolled over to the next year. If your account runs out of minutes, your service will be suspended until more minutes are added.
- Forwarding Limits: TurboNumber’s plan offers call forwarding to just two different numbers, whereas other similarly priced plans offer unlimited forwarding.