Monday, June 26, 2006

Gripe #8: The Agony of the Beep

The "beep" at the end of my voicemail greeting--compliments of Vonage--is best described as a noise somewhere between a vintage electronics screech, and torture. After receiving several voicemails from friends and relatives who were either so pissed off at the unexpected attack that they were sputtering and swearing, or so disoriented from the pain that they couldn't remember why they called, I decided to add a warning to my greeting so that people could move the phone away from their ears before the beep went off. This was, of course, in addition to the lengthy explanation required to inform callers that I was not likely to get their message even if they suffered through the beep--because Vonage sucks.

After speaking with my disappearing tech support friend, Stephen Toth at Vonage, I removed the message because I thought my Vonage problems would be fixed. They weren't, but I haven't taken the time to record a new warning. Consequently, I still get the shocked and angry voicemails from my callers who become unwitting victims. My mother, in particular, and my closest friend, get particularly harrassed by the penetrating aural scrawl of the Vonage beep.

I was going to post a few of the voicemails from these callers, but, of course, today when I went to my Vonage Dashboard to access my voicemails, I received this message, "Call Activity information is temporarily unavailable. This information should be available shortly. We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your patience."

Vonage sucks.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

More Voice Mail Woes

December 6, 2005

hey, there,

sorry i just missed your call. i had the phone plugged into the fax machine and bungled the switch back during your call.

then i tried to call your vm, but b/c vonage sucks, after i left mymessage, it said it couldn't hear me speaking and disconnected mycall. so...i'm trying this.

xxoo
ng

Gripe #7: Truncated Voice Mail

Sometimes Vonage lets me begin, but not finish a voice mail. It's a really fantastic trick. A joy to behold.

December 11, 2005

Got your voice mail. Vonage sucks huh? I was smart enough to check my office vox mail, knowing you never leave a 20 second message. Since no one else in my life has trouble with my voice mail, you can definitely put this high on the list of your Vonage complaints. :)

talk soon.

--xx

Gripe #6: Voice Mail Failure

Vonage neither reliably delivers nor allows me to leave voicemail.

December 20, 2005

hey, there,

after three failed voice mail attempts--2 on cell, one at work--i'm sending you an e-mail in a last-ditch effort to get through.

just wanted to check in...i haven't heard your voice in 24 hours--more, i think. i don't know if you got the messages i left last night from jon's? or if you got the one i left earlier today?

fucking vonage.

xxoo
ng

Grip #5: Stealing and "Customer Care"

January 6, 2006

Dear Customer Care:

This is my second e-mail on this topic.

I was not granted the first month free, as promised. I was, in fact, even billed for the month *before* my number was even switched over from Verizon to Vonage, a time for which I was promised I would be reimbursed.

I find it despicable that so much time has passed and my credits have not appeared and my e-mails have gone unnoticed by Customer Care.

I am deeply disappointed in my Vonage service and especially disappointed in the customer care. I have dissuaded to date ten people from joining Vonage and I will continue to spread the word about your shoddy service until I am satisfied that you have corrected the problem--starting with my reimbursement!

Taking money from someone is stealing. Making promises and not keeping them is fraud. If I do not hear from someone who will rectify this situation within the next seven business days, I will file a claim with the Better Business Bureau.

Sincerely (and incredibly agitated),

Naomi Graychase

Grip #4: "This Line Has Been Disconnected"

Vonage likes to randomly tell callers that my line has been disconnected. This is especially helpful when important personal or business callers get the recording.

Example: Missed important, time-sensitive call, but got this e-mail instead:

February 7th, 2006

Dear Naomi,

I called the number you gave, but it said it had been disconnected. Is it a 413 area code?

--xxxxx

Gripe #3: Disappearing Tech Support Guy

Feb. 7, 2006

From: Stephen Toth Stephen.Toth@vonage.com

Naomi Graychase,

Thank you for your time and patience in working on resolving these issues. Hopefully some of these changes we have made have resolved the problems you encountered. Please monitor these issues over the next few days and let me know if any of these issues occurred and if so what they were, the number calling, and time of day. Please reply to this email and let me know if calls have been better, or the same. If need be I will look into further troubleshooting so that we can once and for all resolve these issues. Thank you.
Stephen TothTier 2 Tech Support

Feb. 7, 2006

Stephen,

Thank you for your friendly and diligent help this evening.

I'm writing to tell you about another issue, which I forgot to mention when we spoke earlier. I have just been reminded of it because it just happened to me--twice. (!)

Occasionally, when I make phone calls and am sent into the voice mailof the person I am calling, the voice mail doesn't register that I am speaking and after a second or two of my talking, a passive aggressive female voice says, "if you are satisfied with your message, pleasepress 1" or "thank you, goodbye" or some other version of message that indicates i'm not being heard or recorded.

I just placed two calls to xxx.xxx.xxxx. A landline from Verizon. And it happened twice. Approximately 7:32 and 7:33 pm. It happens when I call all sorts of numbers--cell phones, landlines, other Vonage customers--so the constant seems to be me and my phone service. I'm hoping we can do something about it. It's mindblowingly frustrating.

Thanks again for all your help. I'll let you know if I have any other issues to report.

Best wishes,
Naomi

[No Response was received from Stephen, or anyone else at Vonage.]

Feb. 10, 2006

Hi, Stephen,

Here's the latest update:

Yesterday, I had difficulty placing calls between 9:30pm and 10:30 pm.

It took several attempts to dial out each time I wanted to make acall. I had a solid dial tone. But when I dialed a number, I either received dead air for an extended period of time (so I hung up and re-dialed) or I received a rapid broken dial-tone, the kind that happens when you leave a landline off the hook.

It was incredibly frustrating as I was attempting to manage a crisis and needed to make these calls. I lost valuable time dialing, waiting, and re-dialing. It should not take three or four tries to place a call.I don't know if it matters, but the numbers I was attempting to call were xxx.xxx.xxxx, xxx.xxx.xxxx, and xxx.xxx.xxxx.

I also continue to have trouble leaving messages. Verizon voicemail does not recognize that I am speaking after the first few seconds of my messages and I am disconnected. It's as though the sound of my voice is not transmitted; voicemail recognizes my speaking as silence instead of voice, and ends the call.

Thanks for your help.

Best wishes,
Naomi

[Still no response from Stephen or anyone else at Vonage. Isn't it cute how I believed him when he said I should let him know if I had further issues so we could resolve them?]

March 2, 2006

Dear Stephen,

Today I tried to send a fax for the first time since our troubleshooting session. The same problem(s) still exist. I was unableto complete the transmission. It seems as though I am capable of sending one page faxes, so long as I am willing to try several times, but anything larger than that gets dropped part way through.Today, the failed fax was to 402.xxx.xxxx and was attempted at 3:44pm EST.

Thanks for your help.

[No response.]

March 8th, 2006

Stephen:

My latest Vonage woes...For the past two days, I have been experiencing a broken dial tone, but there are no voice mails in my inbox. Last week, people had left me messages, but I had no broken dial tone, so I did not know they were there.

Is there anything to be done?

I continue to be deeply dissatisfied with Vonage's service.

Thanks for your help.

Naomi

[As of June 20th, 2006 I had received no response and no further assistance from anyone at Vonage.]

Gripe #2: Unreliable Faxing

The average number of times it takes me to complete a fax transmission is seven. Seven tries to fax one three-page fax. But there's no guarantee that a fax with EVER go through, no matter how many times you try. Lately, I've taken to just putting things in the mail if the seven tries don't work. The USPS is one million times more reliable and efficient at data transmission than Vonage via fax.

It's utterly impossible to fax more than three pages at a time. Vonage tech support told me they can't handle the "data packets" or some shit. It would have helped if they'd told me this BEFORE I signed up. They promote their product as a true land-line replacement. But landlines don't drop calls. And land lines? They can send faxes.

Bastards. Liars. Shoveling steaming piles of camel dung is more pleasant than attempting to fax using Vonage.

Gripe #1: Auto-billing

Vonage will not send you bills.

There is no way to withhold payment from these lowlifes. If you don't sign up for auto-withdrawal from your checking account or credit card, you can't be a customer. This removes any leverage you, as a customer, have in the arrangement.

I know all too well how easy it is for them to ignore customer service complaints and continue swiping money from my account. Why should they listen? They're going to take my money whether they provide me with service or not!?

All Work and No Dial Tone Makes Naomi a Dull Boy

It's almost impossible to describe the fury that roils through me when Vonage fucks me over. But for you, I will try.

Today, when I was talking to Jon, the call dropped. I was right in the middle of telling a story. I was really into the conversation and really glad for the distraction from my work. In short, I wanted to talk. But what did Vonage want me to do? Scream into the silence.

Fury does not come close to descrbing the feeling of losing a call--ON YOUR OWN DAMN HOME PHONE. I am not a mobile phone subscriber. I did not drive through a tunnel or step into a stell and concrete parking structure. I was sitting at my desk. One minute, phone call. Next minute, echoing silence. My dial tone was nowhere to be found.

After a few futile "hello?"s. A few clicks of the phone, on and off. I began the troubleshooting routine.

Does the phone have power? Yes.
Is my Internet connection solid? Yes.
Double check that--Yes.
Triple check that--Yes.
Can the fax machine get a dial tone? No.
Log on to Vonage's Web site. Any known outtages? No.
Get out an old phone from the closet. Plug it in. No dial tone.
Re-set the router. No dial tone.
Re-set it again. No dial tone.
Go across the street to see if neighbors who also have Vonage have service. Not home.
Come back. Try both phones again. And again. And again. No dial tone. No dial tone. No dial tone.
Try speaker phone. No dial tone.
Call Jon from Tracphone (approximate cost, $2) to explain.
"Fuck Vonage," he says.
"Fuck Vonage," I say.
Check phone power source. Plug into UPS. No dial tone. Phone has power--but no dial tone.
Check cable modem. All is well. No dial tone.
Growl. Growl again. Make fists and visualize smashing brains of Vonage executives into marble counter top. Take deep breath. Decide to definitely switch to a land line and DSL. Except Verizon sucks almost as bad. And because I'm a Comcast subscriber if I switch to their VoIP, they'll screw me with the rates. (How is that a good idea, I ask you??) and relying on only a cell phone would be too expensive. Decide to switch anyway. Fuck Vonage.
Check Vonage Web page again. Nothing.
No dial tone.
Check router power source. Seems Fine. Unplug it anyway. Wait.
Plug it back in.
... dial tone.

Jesus Fucking H. Christ. What does a girl have to do around here to get a motherfreaking dial tone?????

Vonage Sucks

This blog is dedicated exclusively to a chronicling of my miserable, infuriating, exasperating experience as a Vonage "customer."

Whatever you do, don't make the mistake I made: never, ever, ever subscribe to Vonage. Once you're in, it's so hard to escape. So, please--just stay AWAY. Spare yourself the suffering. Use ANYONE else for your phone service. I mean it. Stay. Away. From. Vonage.

I'm sure you're asking yourself, "Why doesn't she just switch providers, if she hates it so much?"

The answer is, money. Plain and simple.

As much as I HATE the service, I stay because I can't afford to switch--yet. But my eyes are on the prize. As soon as I can afford to fork over $600 more a year for phone service, you can bet your damn bippy that I will.

In the meantime--stay away from Vonage--and stay tuned for the amusing, tedious, and horrifying anecdotes from my nightmarish life as a Vonage subscriber.

Curse you, Vonage! Curse you!