Vonage Nightmare - UPDATE
HOLMDEL, NEW JERSEY -- UPDATE:
I received a letter from the New Jersey division of the BBB stating they are going to pursue Vonage regarding my problems with this company. I sent a copy of the original complaint posted here to the BBB.
If you've had problems with this company, don't sit still, let your voice be heard!!!
I called to inquire of service with Vonage on August 10. Chris, the sales person I spoke with advised me that my area was accessible to Vonage and that I could keep my phone number. I advised Chris that the name that appears on my account with AT&T was my maiden name, although I have not used my maiden name since I was 19. I am now 51 years of age. I asked if the name differences would be a problem with transferring the number and she clearly assured me this would not create a problem. I received the device, hooked it up and accepted the fact that I would be using a "temporary" number until the number transfer was complete. I thought this was going to be a big cost savings.
For the past 3 years, I have only had a basic phone line for the use of my computer. My cell phone was used for any long distance calls I would need to make, which are very few. I stay in touch with the use of my computer and e-mails to my family and friends. I work on the computer 10 hours a day and am on the phone at work constantly.
Most recently, I had major surgery with more to come. I have to watch every penny I spend. At this time, I am unable to work in my office, but am trying to work and stay caught up while at home. I felt that Vonage would be a great way to save money and make the phone calls I would normally make on my company's dime while recuperating. Between August 10 and September 24, I received 12 letters in the mail and 5 e-mails from Vonage stating the name on the AT&T account was different that the name I provided to Vonage and could not be transferred until it was corrected. I also received 2 letters stating the address I provided was different than the address I had provided when opening the account. Vonage had spelled the address wrong by one letter when they opened the account. I cannot count the number of phone calls I had to make to correct this problem. Calling Vonage, calling AT&T, calling Vonage again, then again, and again, and again. Every time I called, the information I provided in the previous call had not be corrected. On one particular call, I spoke with Mae in the Philippines. The back ground noise was deafening, sounded more like a party was going on rather than business. And she kept hitting the "mute" button on her phone. (I've worked with training facilitators for my company's 13 call centers, many in India, Africa and South America.) I have dealt with many customer service representatives with many companies in my time, but this was the most ridiculous example of scripted, unprofessional, inept stupidity I have ever experienced.
So, here I am supposed to be getting a free month, but I'm still paying for AT&T, my health care providers, insurance company, and my company is trying to reach me, but can't because they don't have the temporary number, I'm constantly talking on my cell phone because this is the only number people can reach me at. And Vonage has literally brought me to tears.
On September 24, my number is finally transferred. On September 25, I loose my DSL service and have no phone service. No one at Vonage cared to advise me that Vonage service would not work with my AT&T DSL. And because AT&T leases the phone lines from Verizon in my area, I do not have the "DRY LOOP???" that would be necessary in order to use Vonage.
Now I must tell you, that the only time I received and service from Vonage was after I went to their corporate web site and sent an e-mail to the EXECUTIVE RESPONSE TEAM demanding someone resolve my issues. I was contacted the very next day, a message left to me on my cell phone. It was then followed up with the following e-mail on September 19:
I understand that you have an issue that requires immediate attention. I apologize for the delays you have experienced. Your issue has been escalated to the Executive Response Team and I will personally assist you in this matter.
I left you a message today to return my call so that we could discuss any issues you may be having in transferring your number. Please contact me at your earliest convenience so that I may assist you.
We value you as a customer and strive to offer a great service and, when needed, fast and helpful customer care. Again, I apologize if you have been dissatisfied in these areas thus far. I am hopeful we will be able to assist you with a resolution that meets your needs in a timely fashion.
We are dedicated to customer satisfaction. We look forward to your reply.
Executive Response Team , Escalations Manager
Hours: M through F 8:30AM to 5:00PM EST
VONAGE | 23 Main Street | Holmdel, NJ 07733
t: 732-226-0027 | f: 732-231-6783
I contacted Cindy Terzino who asked me if I wanted to continue with the transfer or to cancel my service. I stated I would like to save money and to get this problem resolved immediately. Later in the day, I received the following e-mail:
Congratulations! Your existing phone number 1-(972)-906-xxxx will soon be transferred to Vonage, the #1 rated digital phone service.
Your expected transfer date is September 24, 2007. We will inform you immediately by email when your number transfer process is complete.
If you have any questions, your Vonage team is available to assist you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact us whenever and however it suits you!
* On-Line Help Center at
* Contact us at http://www.vonage.com/help_contactUs.php.
* Or call Toll Free at 1-VONAGE-HELP (1-866-243-4357).
Please continue using your temporary phone number from Vonage to take advantage of more than 20 premium features until your number transfer process request has been completed.
Thanks again for choosing Vonage, a better phone service for less!
Vonage Customer Care
So, I wait. And on September 24, I thought all was done and I could now move on. WRONG! I called Ms. Terzino back and demanded she cancel my service immediately. She stated that there would be a fee assessed with the cancellation, it would be in the form of a bill that would appear on my account until the device was returned. I agreed to return the device as soon as possible, (not easy for me, remember I am suffering from a major physical set back and pretty much confined to my home) and as soon as the device was delivered to Vonage Returns, I would expect a full refund of all the money I paid for this ridiculous service. I clearly asked Ms. Terzino again about the charges, to clarify how again this would be handled. I asked "will this be a hold on my bank account or would this just appear on my bill?" She assured me it would not be a hold on my bank account. Another lie. On September 28, I sent the following e-mail to Ms. Terzino:
During our last conversation, I specifically asked if the $97.20 charge for returning the Vonage property would be a "hold" on my bank account. You clearly stated that it will appear on my bill but would not be "charged" unless the property was not returned within 30 days. The answer you provided was incorrect and after speaking with your billing department, I have been advised that YOU are the only one that can reverse this charge.
As I have stated numerous times, I am at home and unable to work a normal work schedule. My disability does not allow me to travel or even commute into and home from my office. I am working very hard to watch every dollar I spend as my medical expenses have escalated enormously. As a matter of fact, I transferred funds from my Fidelity account to my banking account in order to cover an emergency dental procedure. ($1400.00) I was very careful to assure that the remaining funds in my account would cover the hospital bills, the doctor bills and my physical therapy charges. All the while I have enough cash to cover any other expenses. Because of the information I received from you, 2 of these charges were declined.
I ask, no demand, that you immediately refund all charges to my account. Your sales person gave incorrect information, your call center in the Philippines is so loud and your employees are not trained properly, (I know what it sounds like when a "mute" button is used) and the disrespect and excessive unexpected fees and money your company has inflicted (and still is) is unacceptable.
I will be out of my home today from 10:30am until 2:00pm. You may reach me at 972 906 xxxx. Yes, you see, I had to be assigned another home phone number and am now forced to wait until October 9 for DSL service. Vonage is not available in my area, yet another lie from your sales person Chris on August 10.
As I stated on my voice message left on your service yesterday, I will not go away until this is resolved to my satisfaction.
On October 2, I received the following e-mail, notice it is not from Ms. Terzino who stated she will personally resolve my complaints:
Thank you for contacting the Executive Response Team.
Please be reminded that I will be working with you regarding a refund. I see that your account was cancelled on 9/25/07 by another department, which resulted in rebate recovery fees being assessed to your account. I have refunded $97.20 to your account immediately, and will follow up with the rest of the refund when the device is finally registered as received by Vonage. Please contact me when you receive that email about your device so that I can process the refund quickly.
If you have any questions in the future, please contact Vonage at any time.
Executive Response Team
Hours: M - F 9:00AM to 5:30PM EST
Vonage 23 Main Street Holmdel, NJ 07733
t: 888-580-4020 extension: 22776 f: 732-231-6783
UK Callback #01618706995 x22776
I then had to contact AT&T to reestablish my service, however I could not get the same number I had for 3 plus years, I am without DSL and will be for several more days, and have to pay to get the service back. I've had to contact their tech support people using my cell phone because the only internet service I can use for the time being is yahoo dial-up. My cell phone bill during the period of time of August 10 and today is well over $400.00 thanks to Vonage.
I realize this is more like a novel than a complaint, but trust me, there is more. This is as short and sweet as I can make it. I'm still waiting for my refunds. And after reading all the consumer complaints against Vonage, I don't trust them to not charge me even more.
Consequences. Describe the economic or physical damage that resulted.
Reconnection fees, cancellation fees, unusually high cell phone usage and charges. Many days, I would have to medicate myself with my prescribed anti-anxiety medication in order to lower my blood pressure. Hours and hours trying to accomplish and complete the Vonage process and the process to then reestablish my service with AT&T. I remember spending one day completely disabled by the emotional stress caused me by Vonage and it's employees. I estimate the money spent trying to save money by switching to Vonage to be at least $600.00!