Provide Clarification of Billing Practices

I'm a new user (just signed up within the last month), and I'm just now coming to the realization that the billing tiers don't work the way I originally understood. It may be a bit harsh to say but I think the lack of information about the billing actually turns it somewhat deceptive.

When I signed up all I heard was "pay for what you use". That is actually a half truth. What should be advertised is actually "pay for a specified tier of use" (whether you use all of it or barely any of it). All along, I had gotten the impression that if I used a fractional amount of a tier, I would be charged a prorated amount. There is not really any information available (apart from in forums, which I doubt you can expect that all users frequent regularly) to provide details about how billing actually works.

My thought about the billing just seemed obvious to me because the plans page that I read when I signed up said:

"Select your plans based on how many minutes, text messages and megabytes you think you will use. That's what we bill you. Next month you will be credited or charged the difference based on your actual usage. "

 

I'm not sure how that, or other information available is supposed to dissuade my belief that I would be charged based on my actual usage. It wasn't until I got on the forums that clarity was provided. Even the video about "How Ting Works" is useless because it never loads, despite having no Javascript limitations in my browser. I have no idea if that describes the true behavior of the plans or not. Even if it does, I don't think it can feasibly be relied on to communicate the information to all customers. There's nothing like plain old text description.

So my proposal is that perhaps at least some verbiage can be put on the "Plan" page. Make it clear to users that if you use 100 minutes, the cost is $3, but if you use 101 minutes, the cost is $9. There is no fractional charge; that 101st minute will cost you $6. You are not really charged based on actual usage, just what lump of usage into which you fall.

5

Comments

14 comments
  • Depends on how you look at it.  Obviously this has been discussed many times on these forums.  I believe Ting has said they were going to change the wording to make it more clear. I'm not sure they have done that yet.

    As far as "misunderstandings" go, I found the language pretty clear the way it is. They show each tier and the cost of each one. No where is there a per minute rate listed for the minutes you use.  If you use only the minutes of a certain tier, you get charged for that tier.  Pretty simple.

    Saying that, I agree they should probably put it more clear for people that think they will be charged by the minute (although no minute charges are found in the explanation of the plans)

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • I know this doesn't address the specific main point, but it is a relevant detail.  Your example is inaccurate just because of a generous but not very advertised benefit Ting gives.  If you use 100 minutes, that costs you $3, but if you use 101 minutes, that still costs you just $3.  102 or 103 minutes will still be just $3.  They have had right from the start a +5% freebie allowance to try to add extra fairness for when people were trying to stay within a tier but barely missed it.

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • It's actually pretty clear Zach. Why in the world would they even make tiers and put them on their website if you were charged per min/text/meg? It's seems pretty logical that if you enter a tier, no matter how far in you go, you are charged that tier's price. Again, otherwise, why have a tier at all?

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Thanks Lee. Your comment is super helpful. The old "I understand... so every in the world should too." Please don't mistake my response for personal disrespect, but also don't miss the sarcasm in the point that I'm trying to make.

    The bottom line is, it is NOT inherently clear. There is an element that is left up to the interpretation of users that I don't believe should be. I'm not an unintelligent person and before I posted this request, I talked to other real-life, non-forum users of Ting that I know and we all three had our own interpretations of how billing worked. Does that ambiguity really need to exist? No. You're a great service, but just be explicit Ting. Is that so much to ask?

     

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Did you use the savings calculator or usage calculator where you can plug in usage? It outputs exact charges, not estimates and the pricing structure is apparent. I'm a web programmer and designer, I understand designing for the lowest common denominator. Oddly enough, Their new savings calculator is more ambiguous but the usage calculator is crystal clear on pricing.

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • I'm also a programmer, but I really don't think that comes into play here. There is no "I understand this better because I make websites for a living". I think back, and my original impression was that Ting charges you for a tier for a service and then you pay for the difference at the end of the month. That impression was based on my initial reading of descriptions available. Whether that is good or bad, that is what I arrived upon. Thinking of that assumption, I don't think either the savings or usage calculator would have dissuaded that belief.

     

    So my feature request back in March was for Ting to put up some more explicit information. So Ting, either do that or don't. There is no harm in doing it; it could only prevent future users from getting a sour impression like I did. There's nothing further that I have to say, so this will be my last comment.

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • I hate forums because there is so much misinterpretation, I meant by my comment that I understand the complexity of trying to convey information in the simplest form for everyone to understand, not that I understand better. As I reread their plans page, I see their line about "pay for the difference at the end of the month" could be seen as calculating the exact usage. However how could it be MORE clear?

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • It can be very clear by watching the video that they have always had on that plans page, which shows how it works.

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • We do want things to be as clear as possible, so we'll take all of this into consideration for future updates. Thanks.

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • I have been with Ting for two months and to be honest this was the first time I actually looked at the marketing text above the plan selector. Normally I don't read (or just ignore) marketing type stuff on any website and instead concentrate on what something will actually cost me along with looking for any fine print.

    Since I ignored the maketing text and concentrated on plugging in various usage scenerios I never got the impression of a prorated amount. The plan selector on its own was very clear. You use x amount of min/text/data in a particular month you'll be charged the tier/bucket/level that amount falls into.

    It wasn't until reading this post and taking a look at that text that I can  see how it can be interpreted differently.

    Perhaps a change of the last sentence from: "Next month you will be credited or charged the difference based on your actual usage." -to- "Next month you will be credited or charged the difference based on the tier/bucket/level of your actual usage"

    As long as it can state your paying for the tier, bucket or level that actually usage falls into and not the actually usage itself it may make it clearer to most.

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Hey RE, I like that suggestion.  "based on the tier of your actual usage" doesn't make it too wordy, but does clear up that it's by levels, not by an exact amount.  In the "Why Ting" page, it actually does already say, "we will bump you down to the plan level you actually hit", so it was clear there and could probably be cleared up fairly easily here on the Plans page.

    It does still bother me how people would sign up for a service without reading enough to fully understand how it works and are holding on with a death-grip to this one phrase that's a little vague versus the whole picture, which includes at least 3 other places that tell more detail of how it works.

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Although I have nothing further to add about the issue itself, as my request has been quite clearly received, I do take a bit of offense to your "death-grip" comment. I invite you to read everything I've said; I accepted how it works and was merely soliciting more information for the benefit of future users. It's also not that I signed up for a service without understanding it; I did think I understood it based on the information that I was presented (not to mention the fact that it's a good deal either way). I know it may be hard for the 4 or 5 other commenters in this post to believe, but there are a lot of other people out there who aren't commenting on this post that evaluate and understand differently than you. I'm sure I'm not the first person to interpret incorrectly. Maybe it's partially the fault of the person who referred me that I came with this misconception, and it's definitely part mine, but don't act like someone else couldn't ever arrive at the same conclusion.

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • I'm sorry if that phrasing was harsh.  It's just that I follow the forums a lot, and I've seen this come up a multiple times that they had this confusion based on that one phrase, but they somehow missed the three other places that it clearly explains that adjustments are by whole buckets.  Saying that you are one of many doesn't make it feel better.  It just seems like too many people are not reading how it works, but are making assumptions or going by what someone told them instead of reading the detail for themselves.  By I am sorry for expressing some frustration about it.

    By the way, so that no one thinks I'm just throwing out the number 3 as a made-up exaggeration, those are:  1. The "Why Ting?" page  2. The video on the Plans page  3. The savings calculator, where you enter the exact amount of your usage, and it shows how the bill works out to totals of the Ting buckets, rather than some odd number of cents of a prorated amount in between buckets.

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • I'm really happy to report we were able to get this taken care of.

    Thanks for your perseverance! https://ting.com/rates

    0
    Comment actions Permalink

Please sign in to leave a comment.