You can dress up a Chihuahua and try to make it look like a real big company, but in the end, it’s still just a Chihuahua.
When most people think of a phone company, they think of a large call centers, trucks, and an army of people like the Verizon commercials. You don’t usually think of that as a home based business or something you could start for a few thousand dollars. That’s because you couldn’t start a real phone company for a few thousand dollars in hardware, some programming and a nice webpage, but you probably could start a fake phone company for that (or less).
There are a lot of fake 800 number phone companies, mostly on the internet because it’s easier to fake it there making an attractive webpage that looks like a real phone company. It’s much harder to make a fake phone company in the real world, because it costs a lot more to rent a big office building and set up a call center, than it does to put a picture of some office building or call center on your webpage.
There are several different kinds of fake phone companies.
There are several websites that look like real phone companies but you’ve never heard of before. Companies like 800pbx.com look like nice but they don’t exist off the internet and don’t have the support or the scrupples of name brand phone companies. They look good on paper but are definitely one of the companies we warn people to avoid!
They may be web pages that look like the corporate web page of the real phone company (see PNG below), but are actually just distributor/agent/affiliate sites. They could also use a different name, just rebranding someone else’s service. Some people allow you to change the name of their service and will handle everything for you in your name. Shared use companies are definitely smaller than even the smallest phone company too. Even many enhanced voicemail services may be considered fake phone companies simply because of their small size. That doesn’t automatically make them bad, but you have to realize that they’re not the same thing as big phone companies just because they make an attractive webpage selling their services or pay the most to get on the top of the page in the search results.
Fake Phone Company Examples:
I did a google search on “powernet global communications” one of the phone companies that we recommend, and found the following domains in the top dozen listings or so:
PNG is a REAL phone company but if you look for them on the web, there’s a high probability you’re going to wind up on the wrong page talking to an agent trying to sell you something else, while letting you think they’re the real PNG. That’s why I don’t recommend people to try to call Powernet Global (PNG) to ask questions before signing up because they almost inevitably call the wrong place and get totally wrong answers. The right website for PNG is pngcom.com by the way.
Too BIG, too small, just right.
Just because someone isn’t a real traditional phone company, or is small that doesn’t make them bad. I actually like smaller phone companies better than the biggest companies like AT&T and Verizon etc, just because they’re TOO big. But if they pretend to be the company you’re looking for it’s obviously a little dishonest. But that doesn’t stop them from doing it. Not to mention that if your business relies on your phone service and they’re really small that could cause some problems. If they’re run mainly by one or two people they may be good at times but they may also be bad at times too. You’ve probably heard the expression “Life Happens.” That just means that things happen in all of our lives that can distract us or make it hard to keep up and do our job.
I know small. After 13 years in business we’ve got 3 full time employees including myself because we’re not trying to be a big business. But we’re also not trying to be your regular phone company either.
Whether it’s getting sick, falling in love, moving, getting married or divorced, having a basement flooded, having kids or even just a new puppy, all of these things and more can distract you and affect the service you provide if it’s based on just one or two people as many of the fake phone companies are. All it takes is one law suit, even about something that isn’t your fault and it can really mess up the service of a small company. And when you rely on that company’s service for your business, it can mess up your business too. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use a small company, you just have to consider that and be careful.
In our provider directory we try to do enough research to tell how much depth an 800 number service has. You have to do this today, because you can’t just make a decision based on a nice webpage any more. You need to look at the depth of the site as well. That’s also one of the reasons why we include so many testimonials on our website, because that shows a successful track record better than anything we could say about ourself does.
The bottom line is that you have to make sure there’s a real phone company behind the website. You can do this by researching it a little on the web to see how long they’ve been around or by calling them to see if they answer their phones and asking them if they’re a carrier or just reselling someone else’s service, how long they’ve been in business, and how many employees they have to start with.
Update: Here’s a new twist. Fake phone companies are companies that exist on the web without any real world presense. Well here’s a fake government regulatory site, smsgov.com. Yup, that’s right they are pretending to be an official government site but they’re based in the Netherlands and are totally fake, with fake comments and fake posts too.
I realize this angers a few feathers some of which are actually getting quite hostile because I’m exposing them and willing to tell people the truth.