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How can we manage unauthorized long distance calls?

by on
in The HR Specialist Forum

Question: “Even though our policy states that the phones are to be used for company business only, every month our phone bill shows numerous, obviously personal long distance calls to other states. Our office has over 20 phones and there is no way to trace which phone made the calls. The charges for the calls aren't much, but employees should be spending their time working, not talking on the phone. Can anyone give me a solution for this problem?” — Linda, Penn.


The service provider can assign "codes" that are necessary to place a long distance call. HR could be the custodian of these numbers, issuing a code number to each employee taht must be used for the call to be completed. The bill can be monitored. If employees know the bills will be checked, they may be more careful. We have used this system many years and it works.

Since the office isn't too large consider attaching an envelope and allow each person to review the phone bill copy, have on top a memo with "Route to:" and list every employee stating if you recognize a number or have made a personal call put a check-mark by the call and the amount of the call(s)into the envelope. It worked - by each person having to review, then cross out their name & send on they paided up! Put a due back by date and ask each to keep only for one day if they can't forward on and it will come back to them.

We use a program called Cash Call Accounting which we added to our phone system. You can run reports of various information such as a date range and a telephone extension which will list all calls made from that extention. It gives length of time and the phone numbers called. It has proved to be quite valuable in tracking the exepnse of the calls and the time wasted by the employee through excessing personal calls and eliminates any question of responsibility.

We had the same issue at our office. So we corrected the problem with the help of the installer of our actual phone system. He installed codes that had to be entered before the phone would give you an outside line. Our issue was not with people sitting at there desk so much as peole finding phones in areas where there was not a lot of traffic. In addition area's where we had issues with people at there desk making personal calls we installed Security camera's.

Not only do our employees have to have a code to get an outside line but also a code for long distance calls. The monthly bill list the phone calls by code and is an easy way of keeping track of who made the calls. If they are excessive or appear not to be business related the supervisor will call that employee in for an explanation. This reduces employees abusing the system an no outside person can pick up a phone and make a call.

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