I am sharing my experience below. I am providing this information solely as an investigative resource for potential consumers to use before making a decision as to whether or not to use this service. I typically used the Magic Jack phone a couple of times a day, one call might be short duration..10-20 minutes or so. The other would usually be a call home to family, which sometimes went as long as 1 1/2 to 2 hours possibly. Those long/extended calls did not occur every day...usually once every 2-3 days. The Magic Jack policy on over use is somewhat vague, and, more importantly, their software provides you with NO way to tell if you are approaching an overage on your minutes.
See chat transcript below (some info has been hidden for privacy):
Please wait for a site operator to respond.
You are now chatting with 'Cara'
Your Issue ID for this chat is XXXXXXXXXXXXXX (hidden for privacy)
Jim: i cara
Jim: oops "hi" cara
Cara: Hello, how may I help you?
Cara: May I know the exact nature of your problem with full details please?
Jim: yesterday when i started my magic jack, i got the popup message...
Jim: asking me to log into my account, and then it brought
Jim: me to the payment screen to renew my subscription for another year
Jim: but it doesn't seem like it's been a full year since i last renewed
Jim: can you check to see when i last renewed my account?
Cara: Can I have your magicjack phone number please?
Jim: or is there some way we can confirm that this is right
Jim: sure no prob
Jim: xxx xxx xxxx
Cara: Please wait while I check that for you
Jim: no problem
Cara: I am transferring you to one of our top 10% agents as rated by our customers. Please hold while I transfer you.
Jim: ok - thanks
Please wait while I transfer the chat to the best suited site operator.
You are now chatting with 'Ken'
Your Issue ID for this chat is XXXXXXXXXXXXXX (hidden for privacy)
Jim: hi Ken
Ken: Hello. My name is Ken. To better assist you, let me put you on hold while I read your previous chat/s. Thank you.
Jim: no problem ken - thanks
Ken: Hello Jim.
Jim: hope you are well - it just "felt" to me like this renewal notice came around a little too soon....but i cannot remember when i last renewed - i wanted to see if you could pull up my last renewal date
Ken: Thank you for patiently waiting.
Ken: May I have the registered name and physical address of your magicJack account please?
Jim: no problem
Jim: sure -
Jim: Jim xxxxxxxxxx
Jim: xxxx Street
Jim: City, State xxxxx
Jim: phone # is xxx-xxx-xxxx
Ken: Thank you for that information.
Ken: Please wait while I check that for you
Ken: Thank you for waiting.
Ken: I have checked it here and it shows that this phone number has violated our Terms of Service. Please refer to Section 6, Proper Use at www.magicJack.com/TOS .
Jim: what? what in the world could have happened? i haven't intentionally done anything that should have violated my usage
Jim: not that i'm aware of....what rule is it saying i violated?
Ken: Under 6. Proper Use it says "If magicJack sees excessive use, including but not limited to, a customer whose usage is twenty (20) times more than the average magicJack's customer's usage, or a customer who calls more than 50 different telephone numbers per day, or systematic or intentional misuse, it reserves the right, in our sole discretion, to terminate your use of the magicJack device and/or Software immediately, and you will not be entitled to get a refund of any licensing fee or any other fee you may have paid to us. We reserve the right to reclaim any telephone number that does not make a call for a consecutive 90 days. In the event we reclaim a phone number and your software license is still active, you may choose another phone number."
Jim: well i've never called 50 numbers in a day.....i have not engaged in systematic or intentional misuse
Jim: so that only leaves the first option - that i USED MY PHONE TOO MUCH?????
Jim: are you fricking SERIOUS?
Jim: i am supposed to receive unlimited calls to the US and Canada is what my understanding was
Ken: Yes, I am. It's stated in our terms of service.
Ken: Terms of service was provided during registration process and it's your responsibility to read it.
Jim: so tell me specifically what rule i broke - that particular terms of service entry lists several things
Ken: You violated section 6 of our terms of service
Jim: specifically, which listed offense within section 6?
Ken: Proper Use it says "If magicJack sees excessive use, including but not limited to, a customer whose usage is twenty (20) times more than the average magicJack's customer's usage, or a customer who calls more than 50 different telephone numbers per day, or systematic or intentional misuse, it reserves the right, in our sole discretion, to terminate your use of the magicJack device and/or Software immediately.
Jim: do you understand my question? there are THREE things listed there...let me list them:
Ken: Yes, I fully understand your question.
Ken: You violated those three terms listed under section 6.
Jim: 1) over usage 2) calls more than 50 per day 3) systematic / intentional misuse
Jim: which did i violate, #1, 2, or 3
Jim: because i have the feeling you are accusing me of something - and i want you to stop beating around the bush and just SAY what you are accusing me of - because i paid you my hard-earned money for this device...i have been using it for TWO years, and have NEVER had a single problem - but now suddenly all this BS pops up and i want to know whats going on
Ken: All Jim. You over used the device, placed a call more than 20 times than the average magicJack usage and intentional misuse of the device.
Jim: define "intentional misuse"
Ken: You have used the device to make calls a lot of times per day.
Jim: do you have an employee # Ken? If speaking to someone else in the company, how would i reference you specifically?
Ken: You can refer this ticket ID: XXXXXXXXXXXXXX (hidden for privacy) as our chat reference for you not to start over again.
Jim: and how do i get a supervisor on the phone?
Ken: We only have chat support as of the moment.
Jim: you can't be serious...you do not have a customer support phone number?
Ken: We use Tech Chat to better assist you. By using Tech Chat, we can send you instant upgrade links and run several diagnostic tests, that cannot be done over the telephone. We are also able to see where you are located, what OS and Internet browser you are using. Lastly we can see that your Internet connection is working too.This will provide the best Customer care experience and keep you most satisfied.
Jim: ok then i guess i will speak to a Chat Supervisor
Jim: go ahead and put me through to a supervisor please
Ken: I'm one of the Supervisors here.
Ken: You're talking to the right person.
Jim: Well obviously I'm not, because no worthwhile supervisor would make accusations but fail to give me specifics about which rule i violated, and refuse to show me any evidence of what i did wrong
Ken: You can check your call logs found at the dial pad for your dialed and received calls in a day.
Jim: if i used the phone too much, how many minutes EXACTLY did i use the phone
Jim: i had several calls during which i talked on the phone for approximately 1 1/2 hours...
Jim: are you telling me this is what caused my terms violation?
Ken: Yes Jim.
Jim: i just want to make sure i have all this correct, because this entire chat transcript is going to be posted on RipOffReport.Com, and any other consumer advocacy web site i can find....this is GROSSLY unfair - because you hide these little details in the fine print of your service agreement, yet you "imply" to customers that there are no minute restrictions
Jim: so once again to confirm, you are doing this at your sole discretion - you will not specifically tell me exactly how many minutes i was over, and you wont confirm or deny 100% which of those 3 rules i broke....except to say that it was probably going over my minutes
Ken: MagicJack is only offering free calls within US and Canada but it's not unlimited.
Ken: Free and unlimited are not the same.
Jim: i want to make sure other consumers out there get the full story, 100% truth as it happened, so that they can make their own decisions about your company
Jim: that is why i used the word "imply" - you hid that little #6 item in the customer service agreement
Ken: It was provided during registration process, Jim.
Jim: if you are going to restrict the customer's minutes, that is FINE - MANY businesses do that....but guess what the PROFESSIONAL ones do....they ADVERTISE the # of minutes you get RIGHT UP FRONT and in the clear.....and if you go over those minutes, you have the option to purchase more
Jim: but what you guys do is put up some impossible to track value like "20 times more than average other MJ users", and then you just enforce it as you please....very very very poor customer policy
Jim: so you are also telling me then that I am stuck with a useless Magic Jack that I paid $40 for? can i return it and receive my money back?
Ken: May I know where and when did you purchased the device?
Jim: Im not sure exactly when - but you should be able to discern that by looking at my billing history
Jim: I bought it from Best Buy
Ken: If you purchased your magicJack at a retailer, please adhere to the retailer's policies/terms and return the device to them with your original packaging and receipt.
Jim: Dude you know what's sad? If you would just put in place some sort of policy whereby you allow your customers to SEE that they are IN DANGER, or are GETTING CLOSE, to violating your precious terms of service agreement, you would find that most people, like me, are HONEST people, and would CHANGE their call behavior to come in line with your policies (regardless of how idiotic they might be)....but you don't do that - it's all hidden behind the scenes - what way do I as a customer POSSIBLY have to measure / gauge whether or not i am approaching the limit of using my MJ "20 times more than an average MJ user"....ill tell you - i have NO WAY to do what - because you don't GIVE me a way to do it
Jim: your software has been clunky from day one - everyone i knew told me to go to skype
Jim: its only $3 per month - for a total of $36 per year....not much more than your service costs....and they have MUCH less headaches
Jim: i guess i'm fixing to find out first hand how good skype is - this is extremely disappointing
Jim: just a little food for thought -
Jim: so to confirm - you gave me NO viable way to measure whether or not i was getting close to violating my usage / minutes, but you are now going to penalize me for "going over" my allowed amount
Jim: you are not going to refund me for my MJ
Jim: and you are not going to turn my account back on
Ken: I fully understand your side, Jim. However, we are providing you everything during registration process since you can read our terms of service before agreeing on it.
Jim: you are, in effect, banning me as a MJ customer for life....
Jim: does that summarize it effectively?
Ken: Unfortunately, there's nothing you can do to reverse the action.
Jim: As I mentioned before, SOLELY in the interest of helping other consumers to become informed as to the "pitfalls" that a company can bury in the terms of service, and how that company can use those details to come back at their customers.....let me ask this question for clarification. I think other potential customers who come across this on RipOffReport.Com would probably want to know (as do I): What would happen if I purchased a new Magic Jack device and tried to sign up for service? Would it not allow me to sign up?
Ken: Please read our terms of service first before purchasing a new device.
Jim: By the way, the popup message I received at home on my computer did NOT say anything about a violation of terms of service. It was prompting me to renew my account for another year, and was providing me purchase options. If my account was in violation of some code, why would it ask me to renew
Ken: Your account here in our end show that you violated our terms of service.
Jim: With all due respect, that is not what I asked. Why was my software asking me to renew my account? Why would it do that if in fact I had violated the TOS agreement
Jim: I have a screen up RIGHT NOW on my computer, where my MJ software is asking me for credit card information, and is telling me that i can renew right now for another year, or for FIVE years if i so choose?
Jim: So who is correct, you or your software?
Ken: One moment please...
Jim: Please explain to me why my MJ software is asking me to renew my account for another year, and why i was able to make it to the registration screen, in which it's asking for my credit card info, if in fact i have violated TOS
Jim: By the way, I hope people are even able to find my posting to RipOffReport.Com.....because it would appear that I'm in good company...there are already 250 complaints about you guys
Ken: Thank you for waiting.
Ken: Please be informed that the reason why the software ask you to renew is because your license was expired since you violated our terms of service. Even if you renew your license your license expiration will be the same.
Jim: Oh I wouldn't have expected anything different from MagicJack Ken - basically MagicJack and I could have had "one last dance" where they charge my credit card and take my money one more time for "old time's sake", but then still drop me with no refund.
Jim: thats funny - no thanks man
Ken: You're welcome
Ken: Thank you for chatting, goodbye.
Since we haven't heard from you, we must release this chat. Please click here should you need further assistance: www.magicJack.com/techchat