Do Not Even Consider Using the Voice Over Internet Service Vonage

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I have had two weeks of hell with Vonage. They have taken my primary phone number of 26 years away with no authorization or instruction of any kind whatsoever from me. I’ve been disconnected and have no prospect of getting my number back.

They have managed to make my primary phone number since 1992 unusable and still have no plan as to how to straighten that out. I have spent hours I do not have on the phone with them and have been lied to repeatedly regarding fixes that have not happened. I will spare you the painful details, but this has been going on for two weeks. I’m now basically being told they can’t remedy a problem entirely of their creation, since I never gave any instructions or account changes that should have affected this number.

And on top of that, they have failed to do the one thing I wanted done, port a number out, despite multiple attempts and Vonage acknowledging the information I provided for to T-Mobile was correct. I now am told I have to go to T-Mobile’s “advanced porting department” to see if they can get their counterparts at Vonage to sort it out. The tech people at Vonage can’t do it from their side.

This is incompetence of the first order.

No one, and I mean no one, should every us them. If you use them now, I would strongly urge you to cancel your service. If you ever have any changes to make they will make an utter hash of it.

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  1. Summer

    “I have spent hours I do not have on the phone with them and have been lied to repeatedly regarding fixes that have not happened…”

    Even more frustrating because I can imagine the number of hours spent on the automation merry- go-round before you had the chance to be frustrated by actual people who were peeved that the automatons were not sufficient for you.

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      sure you’re not talking about Dish Network?

      They lie to me every time I talk to them. Download speed isn’t even fast enough to watch Netflix without letting it buffer for 20 minutes for a one hour show.

      Then again, I’m one of the 80% of Americans with 1 choice of internet provider, so they’re providing exactly the amount of service they have to in order to stay competitive. That is, none.

  2. Ep3

    Happened to me with Verizon. Someone hacked my account and started making orders for stuff to send to an address I have never had (out of my home state, they would change my shipping address then order product to be sent there). After an hour on the phone they assured me they were putting special safety alerts on the account so that no one could get thru. If only took a week for it to be done again. So I called them back and they had no solutions for me as to what to do. I made the suggestion to change my phone number. From a number I had had for 17 years. And now my new number gets all kinds of random calls & telemarketing calls, which my old number never did.
    Verizon acted like they didn’t care. And I asked the local police “what if this person has stolen my SS number?”. They had no suggestions about what to do either.

    1. Chmeee

      If Verizon was the last phone company on Earth I will resort to using two tin cans and a string.

      A long story even longer, I was slammed back in 2002 when 900 numbers were prevalent. Verizon was my local carrier, AT&T was my long distance. Slammed on both to the tune of almost $700. AT&T said no problem, they’d get rid of the charge. Verizon told me to pound sand, and then sent me immediately into collections when I switched to another carrier (Vonage ironically). I filed a complaint with the FCC, which I won, but I still received collection notices about every six months for the next five years. Every time, I faxed over my documentation regarding it, and each time the collection agencies kicked it back to Verizon. They finally gave up, but I’ve kept all that info in a control file, just in case they try again some day.

      1. Anarcissie

        I’ve had several experiences of this type. I got some good effects by writing to the relevant attorneys general, as well as to the FCC and the FTC. I also hired a lawyer to write minatory letters to the perps; they were mostly boilerplate, so he turned them out for only $25 a pop as long as I supplied the names and addresses. When something comes in to a corporation with a legal letterhead, it has to be passed around and goes expensively up and down stairs, often several times — a different world than the slums where the ill-paid quasi-technos dwell.

    2. D

      Try calling the national Consumer and telecom utilities exchange. had never heard of it till recently, basically its the equivalent of a credit bureau, only utilities. They also have fraud and freeze alerts. course they may not be the only one of these. long story short i have been dealing with id theft for about 25 years now . used to just be loans etc(about $250k), then they filed for a refund, now they use it skip paying taxes. so far, its been no fun and no help from the pd,though they do take reports, did have one lucky break, they actually ran into them at a store, spent a year in jail but back at it again

  3. Patrick Donnelly

    I would never suggest you might be naive…..

    This is just part of a campaign against those who host truth, as those who expose lies threaten those who spread them, a multi billion enterprise. Which, in tuen, protects the trillions being made by the controllers.

    I am astonished that harrassment has not been more noticeable. For persisting in their sworn efforts to prevent tax evasion orchestrated by the Revenue Commissioners, there were two deaths in Ireland, one an obvious and still unsolved murder. The banks had to expand at 30% pa…..

    Sometimes, paranoia is fully justified.

    STAY SAFE and take precautions.

    1. California Bob


      Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        On the other hand, stupidity is the best all around cover an agent ever had.

          1. EoH

            One leads to liability, sometimes criminal. The other is embarrassing, for which a meaningless apology industry, “I’m sorry,” is usually all you get. Especially true when the alternative for most consumers is forced arbitration.

            It is a secret process that rarely works neutrally, let alone in the consumer’s favor. Corporations and politicians frequently use the ruse to excuse their culpability.

      2. Chmeee

        Original reply seems to be lost, so this may be a duplicate.

        If it were merely stupidity, the law of averages would say that they’d err at least 50% of the time in our favor. But it doesn’t seem that way.

  4. BV316

    If it’s of any consolation I’ve been repeatedly impressed by T-Mobile’s service and technical support. Here’s hoping they get you sorted.

    1. phemfrog

      I second the commendation of T-Mobile’s support team. Their customer service has been top notch for a LONG time. I have had them as my cell provider for 19 years (when they were Voicestream), and I never switch because they are always helpful and responsive. I always get to talk to a real, native-English speaking customer service person (no slight to ESL folks, but translation errors make service difficult at times). Sometimes they lack in the coverage department, but my 3 years as a Verizon customer for home phone/internet service showed me how abysmal their service is. I will take a few call drops in rural areas for the service any day.

  5. Olga

    I had Vonage, starting about 12 yrs ago. For those of us who travel a lot, the VOIP service was a great idea. But then I noticed that V. was kinda expensive (for some reason, they are the most expensive in this industry). So some years ago, I switched – same service, at half the price and decent customer service.

    1. Chmeee

      Curious as to which company. I’m tired of them too, doubled my monthly fee after the one year promotion, and they don’t negotiate. I’ve been looking to change too, or maybe even get rid of the ‘land line’, but my wife won’t let me. Please don’t say Verizon, I’ll never switch to them. Ever… (see my comment above)

      1. D

        We were about to cancel them and move but they made a permanent price cut so far any way. its about 1/2 what they were going to make it

  6. Karen

    Yves, I’m so sorry you’ve had to go through this…just listening to your story evokes the agony any of us might experience at losing this part of one’s identity. To say it is frustrating, or par for the course or vindicating of one’s cynicism just doesn’t do it justice. I really feel for you!!

  7. Clive

    Oh, this is awful. Predictable but no less awful. Vonage is a con run by con artists. Always has been — I’m going back 20 years almost — and always will be, because that’s how they run their business. I only wish I’d been able to advise not to get embroiled with these useless bunglers who rip their customers off not necessarily through fraud, although given they don’t deliver what they advertise fraud comes into it, but primarily through ineptitude that you have to then sort out.

    I’ve been taken for a right royal ride by, amongst others, Alphabet (Nest), Centrica (Home Services), Sky TV, Panasonic Consumer Electronics, Bosch Home Appliances, Nokia, HSBC Bank — these are just the worst offenders which have stuck in my memory. Thousands of pounds over the years and hundreds of hours. Some I managed to recover through complaints and regulatory referrals. Most I simply had to write off.

    That Gresham, he didn’t know the half of it.

      1. Fiery Hunt

        My mother calls the bank Wells Fartgo; can’t stand ’em. She just discovered a “bridge loan” she and her husband never signed up for…yep, there’s still more fraud discoveries to come.

        And don’t get me started on AT&T…

        1. phemfrog

          lol. My kids point at the local WF branch and yell, “BAD BANK!” every time we drive by it. Makes mommy proud.

          What makes me so mad is that i am a customer of theirs by compulsion, not by choice. My 401k is now run by them, and they service my mortgage. Just waiting for them to scam me somehow.

  8. Ellery O'Farrell

    I know you don’t want to switch to VoIP, but: I’ve used VOIPo for many years now and have been satisfied enough not to research alternative providers. You *might* be able to port your number over to them (or another VoIP service), and their rates are quite reasonable, especially if you sign on in one of their periodic sales. There’s a good, though perhaps old-fashioned–I don’t know because they do what I want them to–set of features. Customer service has been responsive and knowledgeable; you don’t have to let them work through their script.

    No, it won’t work if cell and wifi go out. But so far that hasn’t been a problem–and I’ve been off copper since (IIRC) 2005 or so.

  9. The Rev Kev

    Pretty bad this. It had never really occurred to me before but a thought struck me. If you buy something that you find has been crappified, like a refrigerator, you can always shop around and replace it. But what happens if it is a crappified service and there are very few, if any, alternate providers to choose from?
    That is much worse. A service is a far worse bottleneck to be stuck in than a material product that you have at least a hope of replacing. Sorry to hear that you are having to deal with it all.
    Back in 2009, Vonage had to agree to an assurance of voluntary compliance with thirty-two States as part of a customer service settlement. I wonder if what you describe is a case of breaking that agreement? Not that that would do you much good here.

    1. fajensen

      Too much of “the service economy” is being run by scumbags and night-travellers. A side-effect is that the incumbents are having their lunch taken by upstarts, which are probably as scummy as the old lot, but where one can pay by credit card so to cancel, one reports the CC-card stolen and they are Gone with the card.

      T-Mobile should be OK, it’s an outcrop of Deutsche Telecom, which is old-fashioned but not scummy. Perhaps they or D.T. offers a VoIP service also?

      I’ve had some luck with the “old dinosaurs” in the past with technical services, they are not the cheapest, they are often very bureaucratic, but, usually the service works reliably and they have support people who knows what they are doing when it does not work.

  10. Darius

    I had a billing issue with a major cable company that took four years to sort out. Several time, they said it was taken care of, then a new bill would arrive with penalties. They sent it into collection. I had to bring in the DC attorney general.

    Their business model appears to be that people will pay bogus charges because it’s easier than fighting. Again and again, they couldn’t believe I wouldn’t just pay. It was $700. I finally asked them to itemize it. They could no longer find the records so they gave up. That was two years ago. But be assured, customer service is their top priority, as they never tired of repeating. We’re cable cutters now.

    1. Doug Hillman

      Notice they no longer say “your call is very important to us”? It got old.

      Cable companies are atrocious monopolists. Cox kept ratcheting up our bill and even pared down to the lowest tier of basic commercial-saturated channels, we still paid over $60/month. Finally cut it off, just Netflix and antenna, which still gets almost as many channels for free. Good riddance, cable!

      An auto call recorder also saved us from added service charges when we needed service. We were assured of no charges beforehand, but they invariably appeared on the bill.

      “Would you like me to send you the recording, or would you prefer to review your own?”

      “May I put you on an interminable hold?”

      “I will be able to credit your account this one time.” (Uh-huh, thought so MF)

      1. California Bob

        Believe it or not, Comcast has improved their service over the years (I’ve been with them for 15 years or so). I just moved, and had some problems with video (internet was fine). You can leave your number and get a callback from cust. service in a couple minutes. Took a couple tries with a tech onsite–both showed-up on time–before we determined it was their box–and a ‘too strong’ signal–and the new box is 4K capable. NFI – I’m just a customer.

    2. Jack

      Yes that is their business model. Back in the 90’s I had an account with US West Cellular. There were some bogus roaming charges, calls made in a state that I wasn’t even in when they were supposedly made. Totaled around a $100 if I remember correctly. Anyway, I refused to pay. Finally ended up in court (I sued them). They sent a lawyer who pulled me aside in court and agreed to settle. Sometime later I was at a party and a fellow co-workers wife was there. She just happened to be a fairly senior person in US West customer service department. I told her the story and she admitted that US West policy was to mainly ignore disputes like mine. She said 99% of customers would just pay the bill and not go to the lengths I did to avoid being abused. According to her it was not cost effective to try and sort out billing errors.

      1. Harrold

        I worked at a large corporation that used a 3rd party telecom billing analysis company to review their AT&T bill every month, with the telecom billing analysis company keeping 1/2 of the money saved.

    3. Chris

      I had a very similar experience with T Mobile about ten years ago. It sounds like their customer service is better now, but back then they were trying to blame me for the bogus charges. I didn’t have the knowledge or the energy to fight it, so I just sucked up the credit hit and waited for the statute of limitations to run out.

  11. Ook

    I was an early user of Vonage, very happy for about 5 years, but then they couldn’t resolve some basic technical issue that came up. Their response indicated that they had decided as a company not to put any resources into support. When I canceled they offered to cut their prices in half plus some kind of hitherto-unknown super support level to resolve my problem.

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      Always, ALWAYS, when you request tech support they first fob you off on people who have the most basic troubleshooting skills. Demand the next level up. You will probably have to speak to a supervisor as to why, but it’s worth it to get someone who can cut to the chase.

  12. sd

    And that’s why everyone cheers when Dick & Jane rob the phone company….not that I am advocating crime. Crime does not pay. Unless you are a member of the White House cabinet and then it pays very well.

    I have too many *grrr* phone company stories so comedy for a coping mechanism.

  13. ej

    I used to work at Vonage – WAY back in 2005. They were hoping to go public and had to hire temp tech guys like me. Worked there 4 weeks then they fired all temp guys. They probably have had trouble since then. There were lots of tech problems then and LOTS of customer service problems. The temp customer service crew was young, dumb and just taking orders.
    I never thought they’d make it past another 2 years.
    Sorry to hear about your trouble.

  14. Doug Hillman

    I recommend an auto call recorder for “quality control purposes” — lots of free apps for smart phones, different tech for land lines but doable. Saved me hundreds several times in contests with sneaky, predatory companies and most are, especially phone companies. Nailed AT&T on their tricky contract traps, and HP computer tech support when they turned my computer into a door stop with a bios update. (don’t ever reflash your bios, it’s not covered under warranty, but when the CS rep assures you on a recorded phone call that it’s safe, you’re covered). Very handy app.

    1. Jack

      I have the same thing Doug. Its amazing the results you can get when you post the recording on youtube, Twitter, and Facebook and send the company you are having the dispute with the link.

      1. Doug Hillman

        It’s indispensable in an age of universal political-corporate deceit. Banks, phone, cable, computer, and etailers all have lawyer/accountant-crafted contracts with traps buried in deliberately eye-glazing terms and conditions contrary to common sense and decency and quite often knowingly contrary to sales-force training. That’s why you’re often given verbal assurances, which you trust because the salesperson is likely sincere, that bite you on your bill.

        So when the bot says sweetly that “calls may be recorded for quality assurance”, I say “thank you kindly, I will”. It’s so transparent, I always seem to forget it’s always on, even when calling voice mail. If I accidentally erase a message, I can retrieve it from the call-recorder. Just be aware that the free versions often limit auto-storage, so you want to save those long customer disservice conversations to another folder or Google Drive.

        I’ve often though it would be handy if we could just ask the NSA, CIA, DHS, FBI, etc for a record of our calls, emails, etc. when needed, but, while they surely have a detailed record of your most trivial pecadillos, FOIA requests apparently are routinely lost.

  15. Brooklin Bridge

    Very sorry to hear about this. Those types of telephone calls (trying to sort things out) are the worst. Utterly draining and then to get no result or worse, even more complicated mess, is just terrible – and loosing your number is no small inconvenience. Arrrg!

  16. pissed younger baby boomer

    That’s why i have old land line with internet package from the phone company .

    1. ambrit

      Out here, the copper lines going to the houses are now not being used. AT&T went to all WiFi phone service in the residential areas.
      The only competition to AT&T here, Comcast, has outrageously expensive “services.” Phone and Internet will set you back ninety dollars a month. Internet alone, which is what we have, over cable, is fifty a month.
      Almost bad enough to elicit fond memories of Ma Bell.

  17. dcsos

    PS you can steal almost any number from the provider using Magic Jack. It takes 8-24 hours to port the number

  18. Matthew G. Saroff

    I believe that their unwillingness to port your phone number out is in violation of phone portability regulations.

    I would suggest filing a complaint with (according to the Wiki) the FCC over this.

    Also, I would suggest that you contact state agencies to report them there too.

  19. Tedwa

    I’ve been with Vonage for years and have enjoyed the service. It’s been around $20/month for years. I think I had the same problem Yves and almost quit them, but they fixed it after a couple weeks, and many phone calls on my part.

  20. Berial

    Has anyone had any issues with Ooma?

    I’ve never had issues like Yves has described with AT&T (when I had my land line with them) but I’ve had issues with Comcast (who hasn’t?). It seems like there is incompetence all over the industry. It’s almost like it’s on purpose.

    1. Jon S

      I switched my landline to ooma probably 6 or 7 years ago. They’re cheap. About $4 per month. Their equipment is poorly built. But I don’t touch it much. Never had a problem, but I’ve never called support either.

  21. Arizona Slim

    Back in the bad ole days, I had a landline through US West (or Worst), which became Qwest (or Qworst). I was paying this outfit something like 50 bucks a months so I could have a business listing in the phone book. Yes, there were these things called phone books, and your business wasn’t considered “real” unless it was listed in the business directory.

    A decade ago, I realized that phone books were becoming the paper equivalent of dinosaurs. So, what was I paying 50 bucks a month for?

    A friend recommended Vonage and, lo and behold, I cut my monthly phone bill in half. And, get this, long distance calls were included! No more need for a separate carrier!

    That was back in 2008, and then I began noticing something. Over the course of the seven years when I used Vonage, I noticed my bill rising back to Qwest levels.

    In 2015, a friend recommended a WiFi-based phone service, Republic Wireless, and that’s what I use now. Works for me, and I recommend it. At most, my bill has been around 15 bucks a month.

  22. Jean

    Yves, my sympathies and regrets at your having no choice to keep your land line because of living in a “civilized place” like NYC.

    Words of advice for ‘young Uns…

    Never give up your land line if you have one.
    It is comprised of a “twisted copper pair”. (Little tiny rainbow striped wires two of which equal a telephone number terminating at a physical jack in the wall)
    We have ten pairs coming into our house. The different color coding on each wire allows them to be distinguished from each other as they lead down the street to a technician accessible box with terminals that can be mixed and matched and connected to a large fat cable that leads to the Telephone Switching office a few miles away.

    Don’t be fooled into abandoning your landline for cell service and “convenience.” Your landline’s 40 volts are battery backed up at the switching office. If you have a phone you can plug directly into the jack in your wall, without a power plug needed/answering machine/wireless set, your phone will most likely still work in a power failure and might save your life or property.

    9-11 will know your address and send cops/fire if you call with a land line. Cell service requires a connection and a verbal description of where and what the problem is.

    AT&T and other phone companies used to be regulated and had to maintain these lines. Now they are attempting to abandon them wherever possible. Consumer apathy helps them do this. Fight to keep your landline.

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