Vonage Informative - Phantom service, real charges, unethical company
From the beginning Vonage call quality was inferior and their features did not function as claimed. Getting customer service or technical support to respond to questions was an exercise in frustration and futile as nipples on a bull. Their "customer care" surely must be one of Dante's circles of Hell.
I decided to switch carriers and arranged to have my phone number ported from Vonage to AT&T. Vonage delayed action for 12 weeks. I called AT&T repeated during this time and they informed it it was Vonage that was the source of delay. I called Vonage as well and told them I was porting my number - to which they tried to "up sell" me on additional services and "free service" - but having "been there, done that and having the scars to prove it" I decline. At no time could anyone explain why it was taking so long to honor a request to port the number and cancel the service.
Once the number was finally ported in July of 2007 I closed the Vonage account on-line and removed any payment information.
In August I received a notice saying I owed Vonage for service. I spent 3+ hours on the phone talking to 5 different "customer service" representatives in India and Venezuela. I finally spoke to a surpervisor I could understand and who could understand me. She indicated that I did not close my Vonage account, so she said I owed them for the month of August. I explained number had been ported - after an 8 week delay on their part - and I no longer had a number with Vonage and so I was not able to use their services even if I wanted to - which I NEVER want to again. I told her I felt that since there was no service provided, there could be no payment due. She disagreed. I finally got her to agree that the payment was for a technicality - i.e. not insuring the account was closed - which either Vonage should have done once the number was ported. After another lengthy discussion, she finally agreed to forgive the charges and assured me that even though she wasn't supposed to - she would credit me for the outstanding balance and everything was resolved.
This week I got a dunning letter from a Vision Financial Corp trying to collect $37.12 for Vonage. I called Vonage and they informed me my on-line account was still active and that I owed them that amount. I tried to explain to a "customer care" person the situation and he claimed it didn't matter whether the number was ported of if they were or were not providing any service. He was unable to explain why I owed them for such "phantom" service or why the account was still accessible, even though I had closed it and spoken at length with them in July.
He claimed that even though the number was (finally) ported to another provider and thus there was no basis or ability for Vonage to provide any service, because the account was not closed to their satisfaction they could charge me for service.
When I asked him to expain what service I was being charged for, he suggested I was being difficult. When I asked to speak to a supervisor he became argumentative and refused. So I terminated the call and decided to file a complaint with the Illinois Attorney General's Office of Consumer Protection.
It seems to me that this is the ultimate example of loopholes and catch 22 thinking - if not outright fraud.
Vonage claims to be "#1 in VOIP service" - what a joke.
They are #1 in unethical business practices.
They also claim to be "paperless" so it's almost impossible to get any documentation out of them.