Networking

Dealing with vendors: Read before signing on the dotted line

In my last post, I talked about various lessons that I learned in the course of my company's relocation to a new premise. Today, I'm going to talk about my relationship with the vendor hired for Internet, voice, and WAN services during that relo.

In my last post, I talked about various lessons that I learned in the course of my company's relocation to a new premise. Today, I'm going to talk about my relationship with the vendor hired for Internet, voice, and WAN services during that relo.

Read before signing on the dotted line

It sounds cliché, so let me explain the motivation behind the title of this blog, "Read before signing on the dotted line." I approached two competing providers for Internet, voice, and WAN services. After meeting up and hearing what both parties had to offer, we made a decision to go with one of them.

We worked out the technical implementations and arrived at some deadlines for various tasks. Finally, we thrashed out the final costs, and, of course, the contract to be signed. This must have been the vendor's favorite part, for now they had a chance to take out their "standard" 30+ pages worth of legalese and nomenclature.

The deal was hardly large enough to justify the services of lawyers to go over the documentation, and it involved relatively standard services. I didn't want to blindly sign it, however, so I made myself skim through the document - though not really expecting to find anything.

Unfortunately, the provider - unethically, I might add — attempted to sneak in a clause in which the company agrees to appoint them as the sole IDD (International Direct Dial) provider for all its overseas calls. The company that I work for is in the business of transportation, and it's not hard to imagine how many IDD charges we rack up. It's not something I would award to any one company without first negotiating some special rates. When I confronted the team manager, he quickly acknowledged that the IDD exclusivity clause has no place in the contract and took it out without any protests.

I suspect a fair number of people would not have noticed it and would have signed on that dotted line. After all, like spam, these people must have had some success doing it to justify the continuing practice. Morale of the story: Be on the alert for such shenanigans.

Do you have any stories related to the purchase of IT equipment or services to share?

About Paul Mah

Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.

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