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:
VONAGE.COM CAN NO LONGER SERVE PEOPLE LIVING IN THE PORTLAND, OREGON METRO AREA UNLESS THEY'RE WILLING TO TAKE A NON-METRO-AREA 971 AREA CODE NUMBER.
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.