Research Note 32 - Most Common Billing Errors And Problems
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Tillotson Research Note 32, April 2003
(As Reported By The Telephone Billing Industry - They Produce The Bills)

  • Bad or missing A/R data
    Data is not extracted correctly, the AR data is old, or cash Postings are wrong or not applied.
  • Incorrect rates
    Rate tables not populated correctly, wrong version of rate tables being used
  • Incorrect invoice calculation
    Invoice should add up to the sum of its parts: Prior AR Balance + Current Usage + Recurring & Nonrecurring Charges - Discounts +/- Adjustments + Taxes and other fees should = Invoice Total Amount Due. Reasons for this problem include new code that recognizes adjustments incorrectly, incorrect tax table calculations
  • Incomplete billing
    Database data extraction/records incomplete or in error, usage not included in billing cycle
  • Non-billable calls, duplicate calls, incomplete calls, local calls charged as toll calls
    Changes in loadings on telephone switches not done properly, reprocessing of files, bad table maintenance
  • Approved invoices are not what is printed
    Sending the wrong file, an incomplete file, or an old file to the printing process
  • Incorrect marketing or regulatory messages
    Rules for how these apply are not closely monitored and updated, invalid messages occur on invoices
  • Invalid testing
    This flaw is actually the root cause of many of the other top 10 mistakes
  • Recurring errors
    Customers contact the telephone company to remedy the error only to see it re-occur months later.

  • Uncompetitive call plans
    Customers signing up for long-term plans which become uncompetitive
  • Dial-around services
    Customers not noticing hidden charges and appreciating the true cost per minute rate
  • Billing deemed too complex/overwhelmed by paper bills
    Unable to cope with complex multiple page monthly paper bills, customers do not check line items
  • Re-location and changes
    Customers moving office, not canceling services at old location, or when staff leaves
  • Telephone abuse costs
    Customers not blocking premium calls or checking for unauthorized calls or other abuse
  • Obsolete services and over capacity
    Customers paying for services, features or capacity no longer used or required
  • Calling cards
    Customers not monitoring use/cost of this convenient but higher price option
  • Directory services
    Customers not exploiting free alternatives to expensive telephone based directory services
  • Hidden and unauthorized charges
    Customers unaware of multiplicity of hidden and/or unauthorized charges on telephone bills
  • Tax and exemptions
    Customers confused about tax, and exemptions they may be entitled to
  • Field Offices/Multiple Locations
    Bills paid centrally but not checked locally or centrally
  • Cell Phones billing just as bad
    Cell phone services suffer from the same range of billing problems as landline telephones
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