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Small businesses have been warned, by the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman, about signing bundled phone deals.

"Typically, a bundled deal will offer a contract for call costs at the same price or less than what a business is currently paying," says Simon Cleary, Deputy Ombudsman. "The business is commonly offered a handset, plasma TV, laptop or even an overseas holiday at 'no extra cost'."Small businesses sometimes don't fully appreciate that they are signing two contracts; one for the phone calls with a telecommunications service provider and one for a lease of the equipment from a finance company."The Telecommunication Industry Ombudsman recommends small businesses ask the following questions before signing a contract.
Who are the parties involved in the deal? How many contracts does the deal involve? Is it just one contract with one company or are they separate contracts? Exactly what services are being offered by the phone company? If "credits" are being offered to offset the lease payments, how much are the credits and are there any limitations on when they are paid? Is there a lease? If so, what are the monthly lease payments, and how long is the lease for? What happens if the telecommunications contract ends? Is the business still bound by the lease? What is the total cost of the deal over the term of the contracts? Does it actually work out to be cheaper than the small business's existing telecommunications arrangements?

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