Distance Phone Rates Comparison - ABTolls

October 20, 2016

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
If you have not yet read ABTolls.com's disclaimer information, please do so before continuing.

ABTolls.com has compiled the following list of commonly asked questions. To get an answer, simply click on the question.

We also encourage you to visit our extensive Consumer Advice resource page to find even more consumer related information. If you still cannot find an answer or feel that there are more questions we should include on this page, email us at ABTolls.com-faqs

My Bill Back To Top 
  1. What are these weird charges on my phone bill?
  2. What is the Universal Service Fund (USF)?
  3. Why am I being charged to have my long distance bill included with my local phone bill?
  4. How can I save money on my bill?
  5. Can I pay my bill with Direct Pay or a Credit Card?
  6. What is online billing?
  7. What are long distance companies required to explain to me on my bill?
  8. How do I settle a billing or service dispute?
Choosing A Company / Plan & Changing Service Back To Top 
  1. How do I find the best rates for me?
  2. How do I change long distance service providers?
  3. Does ABTolls.com sign me up for long distance?
  4. How can I prevent "slamming" (being switched without permission)?
  5. How much does it cost to switch long distance service providers?
  6. I've never heard of these companies. Who are they?
  7. Are these discount providers as good as the big companies?
  8. What should I know about claims of "Unlimited" long distance?
  9. What should I know about bundled (local & long distance) telephone service?
Dial-Around / 10-10XXX Options Back To Top 
  1. What is dial-around service?
  2. How do 10-10XXX numbers work?
  3. Can I just cancel my long distance service and use a 10-10XXX number?
PRE-Paid Phone Cards Back To Top 
  1. What should I know about using pre-paid phone cards / long distance service providers?
  2. Why have a long distance provider when phone cards are so cheap?
  3. Why don't you list pre-paid phone cards on your site?
Making Phone Calls Back To Top 
  1. How do I make calls to the U.S.from abroad?
  2. How can I find an area code in the U.S.?
  3. How do 10-10XXX numbers work?
  4. How do I use my calling card?
Pay Phones
  1. What should I know about using pay phones?
  2. What should I know about placing collect calls?
About This Site Back To Top 
  1. Who is ABTolls.com?
  2. I don't understand how the site works!
  3. Do you get paid by the companies listed on the site?
  4. Does ABTolls.com sign me up for long distance?
  5. How can I get my questions about a specific plan answered?
  6. How can I contact ABTolls.com?

Some Answers Back To Top 

Why am I being charged to have my long distance bill included with my local phone bill?
Some long distance service providers have begun to charge a fee for processing your bill through your local phone company. If you want to continue to receive your long distance bill with your local phone bill, you will have to pay this fee. However, you may request that your long distance provider mail you a separate bill. This will eliminate the fee from your local phone bill. Be aware that some providers are also charging a fee to provide you with a paper bill. In these cases, you can likely avoid this fee by switching to online or email based billing.

Can I pay my bill with Direct Pay or a Credit Card?
This depends on the long distance service provider. Each company has their own guidelines and procedures regarding the methods of payment available to consumers. Be sure to ask about your options before signing up. Note: Some providers offer lower discounted rates if you opt to pay your bill with a credit card or direct payment from a checking account. Note: Some companies charge additional fees to provide you with a paper copy of your bill or to combine your bill with your local phone bill.

What is online billing?
Online billing refers to electronic copies of your bill/invoice which are accessible using the world-wide-web and a web browser. Some providers will also email and electronic copy of your bill to you each month. Verify the method by which you will be billed prior to signing up sop you know whether to check online or expect a paper notification of payment due. Note: Some providers either charge an additional fee to mail you a paper bill and/or offer lower rates if you choose to use online billing.

What are long distance companies required to explain to me on my bill?
Quoted from the Federal Communications Commision
"The following FCC rules to which wireline companies must adhere ensure that consumers are given the essential information they need to protect themselves from telecommunications fraud and to make informed choices in today’s competitive telecommunications marketplace. These rules state that a telephone company’s bill must:
  • Be clearly organized;
  • Identify the service provider associated with each charge;
  • Highlight new service providers and indicate the date the provider change was made;
  • Contain full and non-misleading descriptions of charges;
  • Identify those charges for which failure to pay will not result in disconnection of the customer’s basic local service; and
  • Provide a toll-free number for customers to call in order to lodge a complaint or obtain information. If the customer does not receive a paper telephone bill but instead accesses that bill only by e-mail or over the Internet, the telephone company may provide the customer with an e-mail address or Web site for inquiring about charges.
  • The FCC has also determined that telephone companies should use standardized labels on bills when referring to certain line item charges relating to federal regulatory action, such as local number."

    How do I settle a billing or service dispute?
    Always contact the service provider responsible for the perceived billing error first. Do this immediately in order to try and resolve the issue prior to the due date of the bill. If they are unable to resolve the issue to your satisfaction you can take several different steps.
  • Use the dispute resolution service partnered with ABTolls.com
    Complaint Resolution
  • For Long Distance Providers, file a complaint with the FCC
  • For Local Service Providers, contact your state PUC or Attorney General.
  • Contact the Better Business Bureau
  • How do I find the best rates for me?
    Use this site. There is no easy answer to what is the best deal out there. The value of any plan depends on your calling patterns. What's good for someone who is always on the phone is not always best for the occasional caller. ABTolls.com has worked with its partners to provide friendly tools to help you out. Use the Custom Rate Comparison Tools to find a plan that best meets your needs.

    Does ABTolls.com sign me up for long distance?
    ABTolls.com is not a long distance company or service provider. We do not offer or sign up individuals for any long distance services. The site serves as a clearinghouse of information. Once you find a plan that suits your needs, ABTolls.com provide you with information (a link) on how to sign up for that service. In some cases, we simply refer you directly to the website for the company after which you sign up directly with them. In other cases, we may voluntarily collect some information from you and pass it on to a telecommunications agent who acts on behalf of the long distance company. This agent will then facilitate your sign up with the company you have chosen. NOTE: All long distance service providers must verify, with you, that you have chosen to switch your long distance provider.

    Why have a long distance provider when phone cards are so cheap?
    ABTolls.com always recommends that you have a direct dial provider on your line (primary interexchange carrier - PIC) even if you don't make long distance calls or use 10-10XXX or calling cards for all your calls. If you do not have a PIC, the local phone company can route any direct dial call from your phone to the company of their choosing. It is likely that the company to which you are routed will charge you "casual caller" rates which can be as high as 40¢ - 50¢ per minute. There are many providers that offer plans that have no monthly fees - so if you don't use them you don't pay anything. By choosing one of these providers you maintain control of all your calls and rates. Visit our Rates Comparison page to find providers that do not charge monthly fees.

    Why don't you list pre-paid phone cards on your site?
    ABTolls.com does not list pre-paid carriers because there are too many that are not reputable. This is not to say that all are bad. Simply, it has been our experience that many companies use pre-paid calling cards in ways that end up costing consumers time and money. It is simply too difficult for ABTolls.com to monitor the reputability of the cards being offered.

    Just to make sure you aren't missing any of the little tricks on the cards, you might want to check our page on avoiding pre-paid phone card scams

    How do I use my calling card?
    Generally, calling cards work through the use of a toll free access numbers and personal identification codes. To use your card, dial the access number given to you by the provider of the card (this may be printed on the card itself). Once the access call connects, listen for the specific instructions. Some cards have you enter the number you are calling and then your id code, while others do the opposite. Listen carefully to the instructions. Note: Know the rates for using the calling card. Often times, local and long distance service providers have calling cards associated with the plans you are enrolled in. The calling cards rarely have the same rates as you get by calling directly from your phone. Check the rates for these cards before using them. The cards should have a customer service telephone number printed on them. Call it!

    How much does it cost to switch long distance service providers?
    The switching fee is charged by your local telephone company and shows up on your local phone service bill. Generally, switching fees range from $5 to $10. Because of the tremendous variation in these fees depending on your local carrier and your location, it is too difficult for ABTolls.com to keep track of all the fees. To find out what the exact charge will be for switching long distance carriers, contact your local telephone company. Note: Some long distance providers will reimburse you for the cost of the switching service. Verify directly with the provider to see if they reimburse you.

    Do you get paid by the companies listed on the site?
    Some providers have chosen to support ABTolls.com. In general, we are paid for making the referral to them. However, we pride ourselves in the unbiased approach of our listings. We do include companies that do not choose to support us, and only use rate and fee information to determine a company's placement in our tables. Companies cannot pay to be placed higher. They can, however, lower their rates and raise their ranking that way. Visit the about page for more information on who we are and how we do this.

    How can I get my questions about a plan answered?
    To get more information on a plan, select the name of the plan from any of our rate tables or from your customized search results (Rate Comparison Tools). This takes you to a page with information on that specific plan. On this page you will find a blue link that says "Get More Information." Simply click on that link.

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