• Report: #163324
Complaint Review:


  • Submitted: Fri, November 04, 2005
  • Updated: Fri, January 27, 2006

  • Reported By:Sayreville New Jersey
2147 Route 27 Edison, New Jersey U.S.A.

Vonage shady business practices, unethical ripoff Edison New Jersey

*Author of original report: Vonage Shady business practice

*Consumer Comment: please give us more detail..

*Consumer Comment: Was the number released?

*Consumer Comment: strange how vonage relates with advantage america??

*Consumer Comment: Advice

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Who are these people at Vonage? They are unprofessional, discourteous, uncooperative and don't follow normal legal proceedings. They obviously don't think the rules apply to them.

This is why they stress they are NOT a telephone company. Because a telephone company would have to operate under a certain standard of business ethics or be held accountable. This is why Minnesota, Texas, and also New York has suits against them.

Once Vonage has your number under their control, kiss it goodbye. Be prepared for long waits on hold and the runaround treatment. Weeks and over 20 hours of telephone contact has gone by with no resolve.

What should have been a simple cancellation request has become an ordeal. They have knowingly allowed someone to assume control of a land line with a 40-year history of identity and residency attached to it. The senior citizen whose line it was is now in assisted living and has a new number. The old number however is still associated with his name, address and all utility services enabling the family member to perpetuate fraud and identity theft.

Legal documentation meant nothing. So if you are considering using them, be afraid, be very afraid. They operate under no utilities jurisdiction. As far as the address they advertise, good luck trying to find it. Just try to, it doesn't seem to exist. Or better yet, tell the service representative you'd like to return the device to them in person. Or would like to talk to a representative in person, it just won't happen.

As P.T. Barnum used to say There's a sucker born everyday. Well consumers Vonage knows this.

Sayreville, New Jersey

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 11/04/2005 08:34 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/vonage/edison-new-jersey-08817/vonage-shady-business-practices-unethical-ripoff-edison-new-jersey-163324. 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 Author of original report

Vonage Shady business practice

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

Wow... these are some great responses to my dilemma. Thanks for all the helpful well-thought out suggestions. Since the original posting, the following steps have been done to help protect the individual's identity.

1. Removed all equipment so it could not be hooked up again
2. Changed phone number to new unlisted/unpublished number
3. Contacted all utility companies and removed association with
the old number and advised of new number.
4. Password protected new telephone (land line) number
5. Reported the incident to the FCC
6. Terminated all phone and cable service to prior residence

Vonage's stance was that it was a private matter. They were more willing to work with the person trying to obtain control over the number, then insuring the privacy and safety of a senior citizen. Even when documentation was presented revoking any right to the old number, they were unwilling to release it. The only way would be to have the telephone company try to gain control over it again. With everything else going on at the time, it was really way too much for me.

My biggest concern is, should a business or individual use the old phone number, they will be routed through the family member's account. This would then allow phone calls to be monitored or intercepted. The caller could unknowing have his conversation overheard or recorded. Also if the calls are intercepted, the caller would have no way of knowing it was not the original owner they were speaking with, or that the telephone service and location had been changed.

Keep in mind, normally when a telephone number is discontinued it goes into hold status for six (6) months. After this time has elapsed, it is randomly released. This gives the prior owner time to change his information and remove association to the old number. The postal forwarding time for an old address coincidentally is also six (6) months.

Being an advocate of privacy, services which do not protect this are scary. VOIP may be the wave of the future, but until then a dedicated land line is my preferred choice. Let them tap it the old fashion way, if they can.
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#2 Consumer Comment

please give us more detail..

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

I think the last rebuter has the impression differnt from mine.....I could be wrong but Im thinking that the elderly person cant themselves cancel their account and the author isnt able to for him/her even with documentation.Sounds like another family memeber is using this elderly persons phone #.I think in the same household?? The "geek" rebuteer is very informitive in any case.Please Joan update us and give details...
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#3 Consumer Comment

Was the number released?

AUTHOR: Lorraine - Geek Consumer Advocate :-) - (U.S.A.)

If I'm understanding your report correctly, your family member moved into an assisted living community and got a new phone number. His old number was given up at that point and any phone company could have been able to use it for a new customer.

In your case it seems another family member requested this old number, knowing it was given up and available. Vonage would have seen it was released and were able to give it to a new customer and your other family member was assigned it.

Why haven't you notified the utility companies, bank, etc. that the original owner no longer uses that number and given them his new one? That way the other family member can't use it and say he is the original person that had it for 40 years.

I think the family member that asked for this released number was more unethical than Vonage in your case. Vonage would just have seen the number was available to be reassigned and given it out, probably not even aware that it was another family member asking for it, unless he told them. That still probably wouldn't have legally been able to prevent them from assigning it to him, once the original owner moved and got his new number, his old was was available to anyone.

If they are using his old number to commit fraud or identity theft, then you should call the police and have them arrested. If they got the number by saying they were the family member that is in assisted living, they could be charged. Only if the number was not released by the original owner, would it be wrong for Vonage to receive it and assign it to a new person.
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#4 Consumer Comment

strange how vonage relates with advantage america??

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

i was browsing through these reports and noticed the vonage complaint.I have been ripped off by advantage america and I read the new reports daily.Today I noticed that a fellow ripoffee noted that they were charged a fee and signed up with vonage,something not authorized by the victim.I just thought birds of a feather,and also advantage america only works through the phone through a land line patched in from India.whose helping advantage america????vonage looks like they are in cahoots somehow????????
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#5 Consumer Comment


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

Joan, since you can't get help directly from them, maybe you should try a back door method. See if you can get the internet access to the location cut off. If you have any standing pertaining to the residence and/or the account you have a shot. Vonage isn't going to function without it.

Then, try and activate that number using the traditional local phone carriers. They will probably be much more receptive to you, especially since you have legal documents on your side and you're a 'new' customer. They will pressure Vonage to give up the number, or possibly change routing 'for' Vonage (since they control the PSTN.)

Good luck...
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