• Report: #152253

Complaint Review: Vonage Holdings - Vonage.com

  • Submitted: Tue, August 02, 2005
  • Updated: Wed, August 24, 2005

  • Reported By:Portland Oregon
Vonage Holdings - Vonage.com
2147 Route 27, Suite 203 Edison, New Jersey U.S.A.

Vonage Holdings - Vonage.com poor service Edison New Jersey

*Consumer Suggestion: the nightmare is over (one final suggestion)

*Author of original report: what part of "goodbye" don't they understand?

*Author of original report: update Vonage dropped the ball

*Author of original report: Vonage.com

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I almost hate to do this. I've been a Vonage.com customer since 2003 and, up until recently, have had no problem with their service. But, because my service has by and large been good, I've had little reason to contact their customer service department. That changed last month.

I started getting aggressive telemarketing calls ... not from Vonage, but other entities. Since Vonage numbers aren't published, these solicitors obviously got my number from someone else - so I'm not blaming Vonage in any way for this problem. And by the way, if you don't already know, the "do not call list" law applies only to telephone service under the control of the FCC. It does not apply to VOIP service ... at least, not yet.

So, I decided to change my telephone number at my own expense (about $10). Vonage's change went through very quickly. But, there was a hitch. As of July 14th, 2005 (and still today), Vonage has no more numbers allotted to them in the 503 Area Code. In short:


Since all calls in the US/Canada are free for me anyway (I have the $24.99 plan), it didn't really matter ... so I accepted a new 971 number.

This is where the problems begin. I received an email stating that e911 service is not automatic ... that it must be "activated" by the user. So, I went online, activated e911, and waited for an email from Vonage saying the service was functional.

Instead, I got an email saying that my address (Portland) failed their e911 Address Matching Test ... and that my e911 could not be activated. I wasn't surprised since my Portland address doesn't mesh in the 971 Area Code. And on July 23rd, I sent an email to Vonage to resolve the issue (their customer service ticket number 2357003).

After 6 days without a reply, I phoned Vonage on July 29 and spoke with their customer service rep "Anthony F." (badge 22728). Anthony told me, "Oh, we show that ticket number as being resolved." I assured him that it was not resolved. He opened up a new ticket number (2401360) saying that my e911 service would have to be manually "force-activated."

Since then, I've received generic emails giving me the exact same response that led to the July 23rd complaint. Email to another rep (Xaviel) about these generic emails told me it would take 48-72 hours to force activate the service ... and email to another rep (Vernice) said it would take up to 2 weeks.

So, what have I decided to do?

First, I went into my account area and changed my credit card info to indicate a non-working 3-digit "card verification number" and an incorrect expiration date. Then, I sent an email to Vonage's billing department (and Xaviel in customer service) giving them until August 7th to activate this service I am PAYING for. Mind you, my account bills usually on the 9th of the month.

If I receive e911 service by August 7th, fine. I'll go back into my credit card info area and re-enter the correct data. If I don't receive e911 service by August 7th, I'm history as far as Vonage.com is concerned. Attempts to bill my credit card will bounce.

FWIW, I also sent a note to billing saying that I realize their contract stipulates that users must give Vonage a 10-day notice that they're terminating their account. But I reminded them that I'm being charged for a service they're not providing ... putting them in breach of their contract with me.

I hope this situation resolves itself. But frankly, this situation should have never arisen in the first place ... and should have been dealt with decisively back when I first reported the problem to them on July 23rd.

Portland, Oregon

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 08/02/2005 04:53 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Vonage-Holdings-Vonagecom/Edison-New-Jersey-08817/Vonage-Holdings-Vonagecom-poor-service-Edison-New-Jersey-152253. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Consumer Suggestion

the nightmare is over (one final suggestion)

AUTHOR: James - (U.S.A.)

Vonage has finally gotten the message ... that there is no way I'm going to stay with them ... and that there is no way I'm going to return the ATA device I paid for in 2003. But, they didn't go down easy. I got an email from their rep, Perry Goldman, claiming that my 2003 invoice did not indicate I'd purchased the ATA ... that the extra money I paid beyond the first month's charge was for an activation fee.

This is NOT what I was told on the phone when I originally signed up. It was 180 degrees the opposite. I was told the extra money was for the ATA device and that my activation fee was waived if I bought it.

BUT (suggestion) ... remember something. When you do a transaction online, the seller can put anything they want to put on an electronic invoice. By voice, they can promise you one thing and do something altogether different on their end. THIS is what I think happened in my case. So, the suggestion. If you are a new customer with Vonage, and if you don't get a copy of the original invoice when your ATA arrives, INSIST that they give you a copy of it ... and when you get it, read it very carefully. And if their voice promises don't jive with what the invoice says, NIP THAT IN THE BUD!

BTW, Mr. Goldman also tried one more trick. He said that their request that I return the ATA device was meant to negate their charging me a disconnection fee of $39.95 as per their Terms of Service. He must have thought I was born yesterday (grin) ... because I read the Terms of Service. Their Terms of Service clearly indicate that a disconnection fee is waived following one continuous year of service ... a condition my account met 9 months ago. So, there was nothing to negate.

Bottom line? Goldman finally said there'd be no requirement that I return the ATA device ... and that I'd not be required to pay a disconnect fee either. Just goes to show that if you stand your ground against companies like Vonage and persist in your demands for consumer justice, you can come out a winner in the end.
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#2 Author of original report

what part of "goodbye" don't they understand?

AUTHOR: James - (U.S.A.)

The following is my reply to an email sent to me by Vonage account manager, Ron Harrington:

Ron Harrington wrote:

> We value your business greatly and would like to
> address any concerns you may have regarding our
> service. We tried to contact you today at 01:52
> pm at 9717325957 and got no answer.

This is because I disabled my voicemail and, as of 8/8/2005, disconnected my equipment.

> We are sorry to hear that you wish to cancel
> your account. To cancel your account and
> provide you with all of the important
> cancellation information, we need to verbally
> verify the owner of the account. This is done to
> protect you from having another person terminate
> your service without your knowledge.

Of course. This is why I called Vonage at 12:10 AM EDT on 8/8 ... to verbally identify myself and verbally corroborate what my previous customer service and billing tickets (2401314 and 2422435) had said ... that I was terminating my Vonage account. By checking my outgoing phone call log, you can see that the call was made.

I'm not sure what you mean by "important cancellation information." In 2003, when I first signed up, I *bought* my ATA device ... so there's nothing I have to return to Vonage. And since I've not used Vonage to make phone calls after 8/8/2005, I'd say thet pretty much cements my account termination.

> Please provide us with the best time and
> telephone number to contact you and we will call
> you back for assistance as soon as possible.

Assistance for what? Currently, until my new broadband phone service kicks in (at a 503 area code number, with e911 pre-enabled), I'm limited to using a TracFone cellphone which charges me by the minute for both incoming and outgoing calls. I've disabled the ringer and voicemail and only use it for necessary outgoing calls.

James A. West
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#3 Author of original report

update Vonage dropped the ball

AUTHOR: James - (U.S.A.)

This is a 2nd update. Vonage dropped the ball. Two of their reps (Anthony/Xaviel) promised 48-72 hour activation of my e911 service. I gave them 5 days (120 hours). Nothing happened. So, when my August 7th deadline passed (at 12:10 AM EDT, 8/8/2005), I called up Vonage one last time to confirm that I was terminating my service with them.

As expected, I received an email later that day saying they'd "review" the problem, asking me to wait another one to two weeks (an attempt to nudge me past the August 9th billing). And, I told them to forget it ... that Vonage and I had no more business to discuss since I was an ex-client.

Also as expected, they attempted to bill my credit card today (August 9th) anyway. But since I had anticipated this and changed my credit card info to non-working info, the charge was declined. I suspect they now get the message.
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#4 Author of original report


AUTHOR: James - (U.S.A.)

This is an addendum to my previous comment. On July 14th, BEFORE switching numbers, I noticed that I was not given a 503 Area Code selection choice. And, BEFORE switching numbers, I called Vonage customer service to find out what was going on. At that time, they knew I lived in Portland (since my existing Vonage number was in the 503 area code), knew that my address remained unchanged, but neglected to tell me at that point that e911 service would have to be force-activated.

If their rep, Anthony, knew it had to be force-activated on July 29th, why wasn't I informed of this during my July 14th call ... and why did they send me an email requesting I activate e911 if they knew THEY had to force activate the service (which ultimately led to my July 23rd complaint)?

In short, they let me change numbers, clueless that they had some kind of internal procedure that had to take place. This is worse than "bait and switch" ... it's "bait and screw."
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