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Report: #196562

Complaint Review: Vonage - Homedell New Jersey

  • Submitted:
  • Updated:
  • Reported By: New Port Richey Florida
  • Vonage 23 Main St. Homedell, New Jersey U.S.A.

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I run a small computer consulting business out of my home and we (my Mother and I got sick of our Verizon telephone bill being so high $79.98 per month for two lines, So my Mother talked me into trying Vonage which is a provider of (So Called-Low Cost Unlimited Long Distance Phone Service), (Big Mistake!!!!!), What a disaster!!!!!!, Here are the exact as possible details from documentation and our memories.

On April 14th before we signed up with Vonage to transfer our two phone lines to the Vonage Service, We were told there was a flat $24.95 fee per line per month with no surprise charges or taxes (Lies) , We were also told by the person at Vonage who signed us up that the changeover was completely free the first month for both lines no fee and a free no risk 30 day trial offer with a 100% full money back guarantee and both line changeovers could be easily reversed with absolutely no charges, after we completed the sign up about two days later we received two electronic boxes in the mail, One for each line, I tried to hook the first box for line 1 (The Second Box Was Never Opened Or Hooked Up) up to activate the temporary phone service number they offered until after the 14 day period when our full service along with our phone numbers were supposed to be transferred to Vonage from Verizon.

After hooking up the unit to my Brighthouse high speed cable connection exactly as they had it outlined in the instructions the disasters began, First I got no dial tone then after disconnecting then reconnecting the box and tinkering with the connections I finally got one but it was distorted and scratchy , Then I called the number they had in the instructions to complete the installation for our new temporary virtual line, I had to dial it extremely slow or I got a reorder tone and then a message that I am not allowed to call international numbers, First of all the number I was calling was a US Local number not an international number, I tried again to dial my local cell phone's number to test the line and kept getting asked for my voice mail pin number and then I was once again told I could not call International Numbers, So I called their so-called customer service and guess what after waiting for over 1 hour and 57 minutes on the line I was connected to a person in India who had great difficulty speaking or understanding English, Also the Voice quality was very scratchy to the point of being almost unusable, I thought it may have just been a fluke and the person was simply a person from India working in the US and I thought nothing of it right then, So I grinned and bared it.

After much difficulty understanding this person I finally got the voice mail disabled so that I could attempt to use the line to dial out without the voice mail password prompts. I also told this person that I had to dial very slow one number on the keypad every two seconds or the call did not go through, Also the voice quality was real terrible very scratchy and distorted with lots of dropouts on all calls to them or others at Vonage and to any attempted calls to my cell phone.

The person on the phone in terrible broken English said she fixed it all and I was now 100% all set, Since I was talking to her on the Vonage line now I must hang up and try everything again, I told her I would and we ended the call.

I tried another call and the same exact thing and I was once again told I could not call Internationally even though I was in fact trying to call my own local cell phone (A Local Number), Once again I had to use the keypad on the phone very slow 2 seconds to a digit or I once again got the reorder tone or the International call message.

I once again called their so-called customer service line and after 2 hours and 55 minutes waiting on hold I was once again talking to somebody most likely in Bombay India, By now I was really fuming and this person was even harder to understand than the first one, Also the voice quality of the call was again very terrible.

I explained the problems to this person once again and they said they had changed some settings on our lines and it would be 100% perfect now, Unfortunately I had to take them at their word, We ended the call and I once again reset all the equipment as directed and tried to call my cell phone again, Exactly the same, Slow dialing and the International call message again then the reorder tone.

Right then and there I made up my mind that the hassle and complete non-functionality and poor (Non Existent) customer service by Vonage was just not worth the trouble and I decided to cancel the whole thing and stick with our overpriced Verizon phone service (At least they spoke real English and the phones worked ok) So once again I tried to call the customer service line, After waiting for a very long time another 2 hours and 47 minutes, I finally got a person, That's right you guessed it (Another person from India) with speech problems, They told me that they could not help me but would transfer me to the right department to handle my complaint, After the long wait then the transfer I was connected to a recorded message that said the business office was closed and was promptly hung up on.

NOW I WAS REALLY LIVID!!!!!

So I waited till Wednesday morning April 19th to call and guess what, I again had to wait on hold for about another 1 hour 58 minutes then guess what, Another person from India who once again told me they would connect me to the business office, They did and immediately my call was once again dropped, So I had to call again and wait and finally after another 1 hour and 48 minutes and I finally did in fact get the business office.

I told the person I talked to how dissatisfied I was and that we were never able to make even one local call never mind a long distance call on their service and that I wanted to exercise my no hassle full refund policy cancellation of everything, He said that I was now cancelled and told me I now owe Vonage another $162.37 in addition to the other fees of $45.84 and $67.65 which totaled $275.86, I blew up and asked him what he was talking about, I had canceled everything in only 5 days, well within the free 30 day risk free trial period and was told when I signed up by their people that the trial period was free and with a no risk and had a 100% money back guarantee trial and that there would be no hidden charges or taxes, He told me I had to pay the full amount and it would be very slightly reduced by around $87.03 or so if I returned the first line's electronic box but not if we attempted to return the other second one, According to him that one was now our property in full whether we wanted it or not and that I was supposed to keep it or throw it away or whatever I wanted to do with it, I asked to speak to a manager and after a very long wait around an hour he got one, He told me I had to pay all fees, Past And Current and there would be no reduction I told him to cancel everything and I would dispute the bogus charges on my credit card, He said that he could do nothing about it and it was in their terms of service, Which of course the person who signed us up never disclosed this to us, This is the same person who told us that the trial was free the first month and there was absolutely no risk with a 100% money back guarantee and that there would not be any hidden taxes or fees., I explained to him that we had never hooked up the second box at all and therefore it was never activated and therefore we should not be charged to deactivate a service we never got or used, The first line was only able to call their customer service department and was never connected to anybody else and our numbers were not ported over., He said that did not matter and that we owed them the money in full.

He told me that it was all now canceled and my card would be charged the full amount of $162.37 in addition to the other fees of $45.84 and $67.65 already charged and that there was not a d**n thing I could do about it (HIS EXACT WORDS!!!) , I told him that he and Vonage were crooks and liars and that he had better not do this or I would dispute it with my credit Card's dispute department and He told me again that there was absolutely nothing I could do about it and I would be charged the full amount that there was not a d**n thing I could do about it (HIS EXACT WORDS AGAIN!!!) , Since I was getting nowhere trying to reason with this complete un-cooperative moron I ended the call. Then checked my email for the cancellation notice. I immediately called the credit card's customer service number and filed a dispute about these bogus and unfair charges from Vonage.

The Next day April 19th I received an email outlining the return details and RMA number for the electronic box for our first line, On the morning of April 20th We mailed the first box through USPS and insured it and requested a tracer on it to make sure it was in fact signed for so we could prove it was returned to them, Several days after the first box was in fact returned and signed for we started receiving emails hassling us to return the first box, I responded to these and told them that the box has in fact been returned and gave them the information to track and verify it's return since their people were totally incompetent and did not have any clue that it had already been returned several days before the harassing emails from them started.

I decided to try to get an RMA number to return the second electronic box that they had sent us which was never removed from it's shipping box and never hooked up at all so that Discover Card's dispute department could handle the dispute without any hang ups so the next day I attempted to contact them again to try to arrange to get an RMA number to return the second box, I called them many times but was refused an opportunity each time to return the unit.

Below is what I got, When I checked that status of our account with Vonage:

Here is the billing history from just 5 days, Right off the billing section of our account, So - called service

Date: Description: Amount:
Apr 14, 2006 Invoice # XXXXXXXX
$45.84
Apr 14, 2006 Payment. Thank you
($45.84)
Apr 15, 2006 Invoice # XXXXXXXX
$67.65
Apr 15, 2006 Payment. Thank you
($67.65)
Apr 19, 2006 Invoice # XXXXXXXX $162.37
Apr 19, 2006 Payment. Thank you
($162.37)
Balance $0.00

The Total charges on our card from Vonage so far at this point were $275.86

We of course are going to dispute all these charges on the credit card that the account was signed up for with.

First of all they are trying to charge us for an active service on two lines they never provided, INSANE!!, The other thing is they told us there are no hidden service fees or taxes and that everything was on a 30 day trial basis with a full 100% no risk money back guarantee the person who signed us up never informed us of any fees and never mentioned that there was a fee even if you cancelled in the first 30 days, INSANE!!!

The Saga Continues:

Just on a hunch, We (By We I Mean My Mother And I were both on the line with Verizon) contacted Verizon just to check and make sure that our transfer of numbers to Vonage was in fact cancelled so that we would have no loss of telephone service, They informed us that Vonage had not canceled either of the number transfers even though they had sent us an email stating that they had, Verizon informed us that it could not be cancelled from their end and that the transfer would go through on April 29th unless Verizon received a valid cancellation request before then from Vonage, Verizon also told us they have had this happen many times in the past with Vonage, Vonage informs the customer that they have cancelled the transfer request, But they actually have not, then they wait for the transfer to happen and the numbers to go to them, When the customer calls to see why the numbers were taken by Vonage they refuse to give you back your number unless you pay $110.00 apiece to have them returned back to your original or new phone service provider, Cringing, I decided to call Vonage once again and attempt to have them re-cancel the number transfers again.

The date was April 24th 9:00 AM, I tried to contact Vonage by calling their 1-800 customer service number after entering my account number in to an automated telephone system I was told that the wait time on hold would be over 3 hours and 40 minutes, I waited the full time (And Then Some)with the speaker phone on so I could hear when they picked up, When over 4 hours and 12 minutes in a hold queue had elapsed they disconnected and dropped the call, Now extremely livid I called back again and once again was presented with the exact same scenario, Since I had to get the cancellation done I had no choice but to try again for yet another 3 hours and 40 minutes estimated wait time, Exact same scenario after about a four hour and 3 minute wait time I was again disconnected, I decided I was going to try for a different approach and called the sales line instead of the customer service line, When I finally got to talk to a person I asked to be transferred to the business office, I was told to wait and was put into another hold queue for around 2 hours and 57 minutes then was once again hung up on, I had at this point been on the phone the entire day with no results, I tried again and got through after being on hold for 2 hours and 33 minutes, When I finally got to talk to somebody he was scratchy and breaking up and could barely be understood,, He told me he was in Asia, I told him he must be using Vonage's own service because I could barely understand him, I told him that my line transfer from Verizon To Vonage had not yet been properly cancelled with Verizon, He told me yes it had but said he would put in another request and said he couldn't do anything else about it, I told him that I would call Verizon to verify the request had in fact come through.

I called back Verizon and they told me once again that they had not received a request to cancel from Vonage ever and that the transfer was still in effect and scheduled to happen on the morning of the 29th of April.

I told them to keep me posted if it comes through within a few days, I also told them that I must know before the April 29th deadline before we lose our telephone service, They said they would do what they could but were powerless to prevent or block seizure of our numbers by Vonage.

The Nightmare continues:

Monday May 1st:It gets better, We awoke this morning thinking we were going to try our hardest to have a nice day even with all this Vonage trouble. We went to use our two phone lines and they were both out of service, Vonage had in fact taken both of our phone numbers as of 9:00 AM EST Monday morning, Anybody trying to call us got a message that the numbers were out of service and any attempt to call out got us a message stating that calling 441 would connect us to the Verizon Business office.

We had to call Verizon using the restricted access and fight all day just to get our main number (XXX) XXX-XXXX back and we still have not gotten the second fax line (ZZZ) ZZZ-ZZZZ number back yet.

We finally did get our second phone back in service after going through over 3 more weeks of hell and not being able to receive or send faxes or calls on our second line, l spoke with Verizon and had talk to a third party and inform him and verify we wanted our old second number back and that it was illegally taken by malicious intent and I authorized him to take it back forcibly from Vonage, it was finally done another ten days later on a Saturday morning we once again had our two phone lines back.

During the above interim without our second line I had contacted Vonage and they informed us that they would not give us back our second number unless we paid a large fee of over $110+ dollars to them to do so.

Vonage has tried to extort money from us to sell us back our own phone numbers that they illegally stole from us in the first place, They have tried to charge us Disconnect fees for services that were in fact never connected in the first place, They also have cost my home based business and our family in general many hundreds or perhaps thousands of dollars in lost income and due to faxes and important phone calls we never received during the period our normal phone numbers were hijacked from us and inoperative due to their illegal tactics and highly questionable business practices.

Wayne
New Port Richey, Florida
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 06/15/2006 12:01 PM and is a permanent record located here: https://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/vonage/homedell-new-jersey-07733/vonage-ripoff-provided-no-service-and-stole-money-from-our-credit-card-account-homedell-n-196562. 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. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
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6Consumer
0Employee/Owner

#6 Consumer Suggestion

sue them in small claims court

AUTHOR: Stefan - (Canada)

POSTED: Sunday, August 06, 2006
i totally agree with this consumer when he says that vonage must be sued. my suggestion is that he do it in small claims court in his home state rather than waiting for "somebody" to file a class action suit. i am suing them in small claims court in edmonton, alberta, canada, and will update my complaint as soon as i have anything to report
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#5 Consumer Suggestion

To J in California

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

POSTED: Thursday, July 20, 2006
J,
I think you missed many points. This person was blowing off steam about a bad experience he had with Vonage. You turned this into a political issue. Do you ask every company you do business with if they are union? I doubt it. Unions are more of a threat to this country then out sourcing. Do you keep up with the news. Look what is going on at GM. The only true fat cats are Union presidents. I don't agree with out sourcing either, but you had no right to attack the original poster. There is nothing wrong with someone trying to save money in a pre-recession economy. The problem here isn't out sourcing, but companies (AMERICAN COMPANIES, in which Vonage is) telling direct lies to consumers, and then back pedaling when they get caught. I would bet to that Vonage American employees are in the good old boys union.
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#4 Consumer Comment

response to the nice gentleman from florida

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

POSTED: Thursday, July 20, 2006
Wow you certainly (notice I spelled it correctly) made no point what so ever in what you said or maybe you didn't read what I wrote. I said you get what you pay for. He wanted a cheaper service and that is what he got a cheaper service. I never said anywhere in my post that Vonage is based in India (maybe paying attention was not one of your strong points).

I will say it again and this time more slowly. Verizon EMPLOYS people who live in the USA. They are not paying Hakeem 1.50 an hour. They (Verizon) employs techs, customer service reps and other workers who live not only in the U.S. but in this person community as well as yours. Outsourcing of jobs is what is crippling this country.

Companies like Vonage would rather rake in all the money they can and one way they do that is by outsourcing. Why pay an american customer service rep 10.00 an hour when they can pay Habib 10.00 a day. A short term action does not mean a long term gain. I am 100% union and I will not do business with a company who is not union. If it means I pay a little more for what I buy so be it.

I sleep better at night knowing that I supported a union family rather than a non union fat cat CEO or Hakeem's family in India. Next time you are going to render a rebuttal to a comment please be smart enough to read what the comment is and if you need help with the bigger words use a dictionary.
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#3 Author of original report

Response to second rebuttal, J - Anytown, California

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

POSTED: Thursday, July 20, 2006
Perhaps reading carefully or paying attention is not one of your strong points!!

You will notice that the company Known as Vonage is based in HOMEDELL NEW JERSEY, NEW JERSEY, USA!!! Not India or Asia!!! ,However their support is based outside the USA, But the customer has no way of knowing that until after they sign up with these rip off artists, By then it is too late, In other words they are misled by Vonage into signing up , Thinking they will get top notch service as Vonage's advertisments claim, Then they get NO SUPPORT OR SERVICE AT ALL and also get no money back although Vonage claims to have a 100% money back policy.

Also just because A company is American based like Verizon we don't have to sit there like a blithering fool and let them rip us off altogether or charge us very high prices wthout looking for a better deal, It is only natural to seek better prices for things you need and want but you have no way of knowing if something is good or bad until you try it.

For instance (((ROR REDACTED COMPETITOR NAME))) and other companies offer the same Voice over IP service as Vonage but the difference is that it really works as they claim it does,PROPERLY!!!, Unlike Vonage's.

Only a complete idiot would let somebody overcharge them for services or goods, And do or say nothing about it and not look for a better deal somewhere else from time to time.

Next time, Read more carefully before rendering an opinion, You certianly make yourself look very foolish!!!

sorry, allowing you to give a competitors name would instigate others to just file against their competition, to only come back later to suggest their company your comments on this policy are welcome! CLICK here to see why Rip-off Report, as a matter of policy, deleted either a phone number, link or e-mail address from this Report.
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You paid more for your Verizon service and it sounds like you had no problem with their service... (At least they spoke real English and the phones worked ok). You tried to save money by going with a cheaper service and that is exactly what you got a cheaper service. The reason why Verizon service is more expensive is not only is telco service more dependable, they employ people who actually live not only in the U.S. but people in your own community. They are not paying Hakeem from India 1.50 an hour. Sure they are more expensive (I have AT&T) but at least I know the money I pay a month stays in America helping support an American family....think about that the next time your try to save a few dollars.
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#1 Consumer Comment

Everything in consumers report is correct

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

POSTED: Sunday, June 18, 2006
Everything this consumer says is 100% true
I took me over 2 months for me to get a refund from vonage amd I never connected the device. I requested to cancel the service before the device was received and I was told by bellsouth that since my DSL service was associated with my existed telephone nunmber something the sales rep from vonage said they could do, even after I told the sales rep that the number I was transferring was my DSL number. the only reason that that I received my refund is that refused to authorize any more charges to my debit card. This companty needs to be sued in a class action suit.

The hold times to talk to a customer service rep are the same that I encounterd.
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