Time for a shakedown
It's about time the enterprise and small business telephony market was shaken down/out/whatever and, hopefully some of the sharks that pass for telephone system suppliers will fall by the wayside:
1) I am called by at least 4-5 telephony companies a month promising me a cost-effective system that has free calls round the galaxy and makes toast. They soon bugger off when I tell them about our in-house managed Asterisk system though.
2) A contract expired in July for a 2-line, 5 extension system at one of our branches. This was a site and system we acquired through a buy-out so I had no involvement in speccing the PBX. The system the previous staff were persuaded to buy is monstrously over-specified and the renewal fee to rent it for the next 5 years was £4.5K. I told the suppliers they were having a laugh and to come and pick up the system (giving the required 30 days notice). They were not best pleased - they kept ringing the site AND neighboring ones warning them they were about to be cut off and that their system would be repossessed if they did not sign a new contract. In the end I had to fax the MD of the company involved telling him what I though of his business practices and I copied the fax to the manufacturer for whom they were agents..
The replacement system I put in was a 2-line, 15 handset (max) DECT PBX with an answering machine in the auxillary port. Maintenance contract? Heck no - I just bought a spare system - and still had change from £500. To make matters worse, the company involved is still billing us for monthly maintenance on the old system AND threatening further action or withdrawal of support services for the system - even though we don;t have it any more.
You might guess that I rate phone system suppliers right down there with solicitors, estate agents and copier salespeople.
--Paris as she's handy with extensions.