So how do you know if you're getting the best deal with all of the rates, fees, tricks and scams that you have to watch out for? Are you up to the challenge of deciphering the ads and information on long-distance carriers' Web sites and comparing their rates, fees and special packages side by side? Don't worry, you don't have to be -- websites like MyRatePlan.com or SmartPrice.com have already done that. They maintain unbiased, current databases about nearly every long-distance carrier.
For example, SmartPrice.com's searchable database lets you enter some simple information about your calling habits and, in return, get a list of long-distance carriers that can offer you the best deal based on that information. You can compare rates, see all of the additional charges each carrier has, look at their billing increments, see their quality ratings, and switch your service on the spot when you choose to. No personal information is necessary to do the search.
What you'll get with the search may not be the lowest per-minute rate, but rather the lowest overall monthly bill. The database takes all of those variable fees and charges into consideration. You can then look at each carrier's plan to see which would work best for you.
Using a long-distance comparison Web site saves you the time and frustration of trying to find current information about various long-distance carriers and then compare each rate, fee and other aspect side by side in order to make a good decision.
For lots of helpful links about telephone service, scams and the FCC, see the links on the next page.