What is it with me and utility companies?
In May, I signed up for Vonage’s VoIP service when AT&T decided to replace their plan with another. For some reason I still can’t understand, I was unable to sign up for AT&T’s new plan because I wasn’t in their area anymore. I do not know, maybe I moved.
I had no interest in signing up with the company who did cover my area, therefore, I signed up with Vonage. It was a two-year contract, with an early termination fee. I was able to port my number over which was the number I was using for my business. It was a decent service. I had some echoing in the phone on occasion, some dropped calls, but on the whole, it worked well.
Then, the invitation I had been waiting 6 months for arrived. Google Voice was finally here. I signed up for their FREE VoIP. I picked a number that I liked then set my Vonage number to roll to voicemail. There a message could be heard, “This number has been changed. Please make a note of it.” I figured I’d hang onto Vonage until my contract ran out or the point where the monthly payments were more than the disconnect fee. Then I would cancel it.
One day, when looking over my cell phone and VoIP bills, I discovered I was using my cell phone more than my VoIP phone. I decided to check the cancellation fee. If the cancellation fee was less than paying for 18 more months of service, I’d cancel. Scanning Vonage’s website, I found that canceling my service was going to cost me $40. Yes, $40. The service over the next 18 months was going to cost me $450. That was an easy decision.
I hoped that canceling with Vonage was not going to turn into another Charter Communications termination of service fiasco.
The call started well enough. But, just as I was ready to give my account number, I was disconnected. I called a second time and that call went smoother.
Until he wanted to know if he could offer me a cheaper plan. Fortunately, he accepted my first “No Thanks, just cancel the service”. THEN, he told me I owed $115 in early termination fees.
I could feel the anger building.
I said to him, “Your website says $40.”
“Yes,” he replied, “but you have the modem and that’s an additional $75.”
“I have to pay for the modem? I can’t return it?”
“Can I use this modem for anything else?” I inquired. “Another service? Anything, other than Vonage VoIP?”
“So I have to BUY a piece of hardware that has no practical purpose whatsoever?” I questioned with barely contained fury.
I asked to speak to a manager, and got the same information. This time, I lost neither my cool, nor my temper. Instead, I decided to write a complaint to the Consumer Protection Agency of California. And the Better Business Bureau. And of course, all my loyal readers!
So if you’re in the market for another VoIP service stay away from Vonage unless you’re ready to commit. Otherwise you’ll be the proud owner of a $75 paperweight.