Phone Service Frequently Asked Questions.

Does Santel offer an automatic payment plan?

Yes. You can click here to print an authorization form or you can also call our office at 888-978-7777 or 777 to sign up over the phone. The automatic payment plan allows Santel to process your payment through Electronic Funds Transfer from your financial institution. Payments can be processed from your checking or savings account or via credit card. Upon selecting this service, you still receive your regular monthly phone bill indicating the amount to be transferred and your bill will include a reminder that you need not remit payment. The amount due will be transferred from your account anywhere from 1-5 days prior to the due date of your phone bill.

My first phone bill was larger than I expected. Why?

A one–time installation charge appears on your first bill as well as any special wiring or equipment charges for which you should have been advised upon installation. The first bill also includes partial charges for the month during which you were connected and full charges for the current month. Charges for long distance calls are billed in arrears and may start appearing on your first bill.

Can I change the due date of my phone bill?

No. Your payment due date is based on which exchange you reside and cannot be changed. For the exchanges of 883 (Wolsey & Virgil), 928 (Dimock & Parkston) and 935 (Tripp), the bills are sent the 15th of each month and are due the 5th of the following month. For the exchanges of 227 (Ethan), 236 (Mt Vernon), 248 (Letcher & Storla), 495 (Forestburg), 527 (Artesian & Fedora), 796 (Woonsocket), and 849 (Alpena), the bills are sent the 1st of each month and are due the 20th. The due date is printed on each monthly bill.

Where can I pay my phone bill?

Customers may pay online using E-Check or Credit/Debit Card Here. Click on E-Bill and login using your email address and password as established with our billing office. We also accept phone payments or they can be mailed to:

Santel Communications, PO Box 67, Woonsocket, SD 57385.

For your protection, please do not use cash when mailing your payment.

Who's responsible for the repair of my phone service?

Santel manages and maintains the repair of your phone service up to the demarcation point (defined as the place where outside cable meets your inside wiring) plus your Cable TV box(es) and any leased equipment. You are responsible for all inside wires, phone jacks, owned phones, cords, and any other telecommunication devices (such as answering machines) used with your phone line. For your protection, you can subscribe to Wire Maintenance to help cover some of the costs associated with your inside wiring. To report repair concerns or ask about Wire Maintenance, please call our Service Department at 611 or 888-978-7777.

I am on a fixed income. Is there assistance available to help me reduce my phone bill?

Yes. If you are a residential phone account and participate in one or more federal programs such as Medicaid, SNAP, Supplemental Security Income, Federal Public Housing Assistance, Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, Free School Lunch Program or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), you qualify for Lifeline credits to help defray some of the costs associated with your phone service. To learn more about the Lifeline program, please click on this link or call our office at 888-978-7777 or 777.

I want to prevent others from running up my phone bill. What are my options?

There are several options available. They include: Inbound collect block, Inbound third-party block, Outbound 900 block and Allow Selective Calling - allows only toll-free outbound calls without a PIN number. Click Here to Learn More About Calling Features

What is the CIF charge on my phone bill?

Some people who have hearing or speech disabilities use a special type of test telephone, called a TTY, to place calls. This fee, which is charged to all customers, covers the cost of providing a “translation” service for calls between TTY users and people using traditional telephones. It also helps to subsidize the cost of specialized telecommunications equipment for people with specific disabilities.

What is the end user charge on my phone bill?

This is a charge on all telephone lines to cover a portion of the cost of the lines between subscribers and the switching office. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) mandates this charge.

What is the FUSC charge on my phone bill?

The Federal Universal Service Charge (FUSC) is designed to help keep local telephone service affordable for all customers in the United States, including high-cost rural areas. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) mandates this charge.

I need to dig in my yard but am concerned about hitting my telephone line. Who do I call before I dig?

State law requires that you call South Dakota One Call at 811 before you dig anywhere. They will arrange for the marking of all lines in your yard.

Can Santel prevent the unauthorized change of my selection of long distance companies?

Yes. At your request, Santel can freeze your selection of a long distance company to prevent any unauthorized changes, otherwise known as slamming. With this freeze, Santel will not change your long distance company without your expressed written consent.

Who notifies my former long distance company that I've switched to Santel as my new long distance company?

Once Santel receives your written authorization indicating your selection of a new long distance company, we will notify your former long distance company of this change. We still strongly recommend that you contact your former long distance company to ensure they close your account.

Who notifies my long distance company that I've changed my local phone number?

Once the number has been changed, we will notify your long distance company on your behalf. If you have a special pricing plan with your long distance company, you may want to contact this company directly to ensure your special pricing plan is transferred to your new account.

Will my name and phone number be listed in a telephone directory?

Yes. Unless you request that your phone number be non-published or non-listed, it will appear in the Central Connections directory which Santel publishes in April of each year. In addition, Santel has made published customer names and phone numbers available to other directory publishers.

What are my options for listing my phone number in the telephone directory?

A non-listed phone number means your name and phone number do not appear in the telephone directory, but are available by request from directory assistance. A non-published phone number means your name and phone number do not appear in the directory, nor can they be obtained through directory assistance. You can request an additional listing of a second name for $.75 per month.

Besides basic dial tone, what other services does Santel offer?

Santel offers many calling features including Call Number Delivery, Call Forward, Call Waiting, Three-Way Calling, Speed Calling, Selective Call Acceptance, Selective Call Rejection and Selective Call Forward. Voice Mail, Long Distance, and High Speed Broadband Internet are available to all Santel phone customers. Digital TV service is also available to customers residing in the communities of Alpena, Artesian, Dimock, Ethan, Letcher, Mt Vernon, Parkston, Tripp, Wolsey and Woonsocket.

If I want to upgrade or downgrade my package, is there a service charge?

Normally, no. Please contact our office at 888-978-7777 or 777 to inquire.

I am going on vacation. Does Santel offer vacation rates or a temporary disconnection?

Yes. If you will be vacationing or out of the area for 30 days or more, you may have your local telephone service rate reduced by half during your absence. You also have the option to temporarily disconnect your service during which time you’ll pay nothing. You would be charged a one-time $25 reconnection fee upon returning. Please call our office at 888-978-7777 or 777 for details.

Will Santel bill on behalf of other long distance companies so I can receive one bill for both my local and long distance phone service?

No. Santel does not bill on behalf of other long distance companies. If you selected Santel Long Distance, you will receive one bill for both your local and long distance phone service from the start.

How can I prevent telemarketing calls?

We have a feature called Telemarketer Call Screening to prevent such calls. With this feature, any caller that shows as “unknown caller” or “out of area” on a caller ID unit will get a message that says to “hang up if you are a telemarketer and remove this number from your calling list”. It will also instruct callers to press 1 to continue if they are not telemarketers.

How do I get an email notification for my voice mail messages?

In order to receive an email notification, you must first have your inbox open. When you receive notification of a new voice mail, click on the wave file attached and the message will play. You will have the option to save or delete the message. If you choose to delete the message, it will no longer be accessible on your home phone but a copy will still be available as long as you have your email message. To set up this feature, please contact our office at 777 or 1-888-978-7777.

How do I know if I have a voice mail message on my phone?

When you pick up your home phone, you will hear a stuttered dial tone. You may still make an outgoing call prior to listening to the voice mail. If you phone has a message waiting indicator light, it will blink to alert you to new messages.

If I forward my calls to a long distance number, will I be charged?

Yes, you will be billed your normal long distance rates for any forwarded calls. However, if you have Santel’s Unlimited Long Distance plan, the forwarded calls will be included with that package.

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