"Vonage Sign-Up Is a Contract for Phone Hell"0.5 starson by Opinionator
Pros: No real pros - "pros" were just for bait! Beware!
Cons: No customer service; getting charged for non-existent service; gross misadvertisement
Summary: I signed up as a new CNET member just to deliver this review and warn everyone through sharing my abyssmal experience. Vonage has let me down to such massive dissapointment and abandoned this customer. My business suffered because of their poor service. The fact that they haven't offered to make up for their poor service has incensed me enough to write this. In sharing this I hope someone else is spared the hell I went through with them.
I live and work for myself in New York. Fairly recently there was a lot of travelling I had to do, but I couldn't afford to be away from my office and my clients during that time. My business is my lifeline; it was not an option to put it on hold for as long as I was on the road. Enter Vonage and its seductive promises. I can take my number, even area code intact, for a fraction of what I'm paying for my traditional phone service. That means my clients won't need to learn a new number, I save money in phone bills, and I can continue to be accessible by phone anywhere there is cable.
Here I must emphasize why I must keep my number at all costs. For years it's been the main source of communication for my most loyal clients, my old friends, and family. It serves as a clever calling card, because by pure chance it spells out my company initials, year of birth and the headquarter's street address. And those of you who live in New York, know how rare the 212 area code has become. You can't get a new 212 number as easily as one used to. I am very attached to my number, affectionately and through business. Such an important, serendipitous number shouldn't be given up.
Ok, so I cancelled my traditional phone service, effective 30 days from the date I called to cancel. That's an extra 2-3 weeks more time than Vonage needs to pick up my number, or so a Vonage agent assured me. I enrolled in Vonage and set up the equipment successfully. Strangely, the phone didn't work, even though everything was set up properly, and my account was active and fully functioning online. I contacted customer support. After a 40-minute hold, the girl - and I say girl, because she had a high, toddler-sounding pitch and formed sentences like she didn't want to let on she was over 8 - could offer no explanation, except that maybe my number was still in the process of being switched to Vonage. I was advised to give it more time, while my case is forwarded to the dept. that tracks these numbers. I'd be notified if anything comes up. The asked if I tried calling my old phone company. So I did, and when I got a hold of their customer service dept. (within 3 minutes compared to Vonage's stupid hold time! My old company is Verizon, a huge conglomerate with a high volume of customers to attend to, and they're on it in 3 minutes - what's Vonage's excuse?) Verizon tells me it shouldn't be me contacting them about the matter, but the company who is taking up my number from them. Yet Vonage says I should be the one to fix it with Verizon. ARGH.
One, then two weeks passed without service or notification from Vonage. I contact Vonage by phone and email regularly, only to be met by long hold times like before, the same repeated words as before, and nothing more. My clients were having a hard time reaching me by phone. Some of my senior clients, averse to newer contact alternatives (like email) cannot be bothered to try new technology. A month goes by. My business is starting to suffer. Plus, Vonage charges me for that month, even though I never got service. I'm told that I must pay before they can work on any change to my account. Begrudgingly, I pay. They have my number, and I can't lose it. But I contact them later about having to pay for nothing. Also another source of long holds and no progress.
The next two months go on in this pattern: me waiting for service, being charged for said non-existent service, my business suffering from said lack of service, and me regularly contacting customer service over and over only to be put on 40-minute holds and no real answer. By now my only phone is my cell, and from the hold time alone, it's seriously costing me per minute. Ironically, I got into this mess to save on phone bills. But I can't give up. They still have my phone number. Plus I'm being charged for these months. I'd better have something for this.
By the fouth month since I first enrolled, I finally get that notification from Vonage. In all this time, turns out that Vonage dropped the ball, and never picked up my number from my old phone company. As a result, that number was disconnected and discontinued. I can't get it back, even if I return to my old company. After all this, Vonage does not offer to make up for their mistake that cost me alot, AND they charge me for that month as well!!
I finally cancelled my subscription with Vonage right then and there. YET, I continue to get charged for the next two months after that, even though my account is closed! I had enough and stopped giving them my money or any more of my time. I kept getting emails every week about the amount of overdue charges I'm racking up. Funny how they can get back to me so quickly now, huh? I just kept ignoring them, and only then, six months after I signed up, was I finally free of them.
Long read. But I put it all out there because I want everyone to know what they might be getting into. Try the competitor VoIP companies instead. Trust me.