Here’s an idea from Michael at GroovyGreen.com who commented on my Three Tries to Cancel Vonage post. When he called to cancel his Vonage service, he had this great yarn prepared:
“This is what you do: Call their HELP line, go to the cancellation option and then wait. (Luckily, I waited about 5 minutes.) Next, as soon as the person gets on the line say, “Hello, My name is Michael and I would like to cancel my account because I am moving to another country.” This will immediately cause them to lose most of their script and go to Page 2. The kind woman on the other line then asked me if the move was permanent. I told her that I would be overseas for the next 10 years. She countered by saying that Vonage could be used anywhere, it was one of the advantages, etc. I agreed that the thought had crossed my mind, but unfortunately I was moving to a place where Internet service was not allowed. She asked if she might know the location of this country. I told her Ethiopia. She asked if there were any towns nearby that might have Internet access, I told her no, because I was moving to a monastery and it was 100 miles away from the nearest town. Very remote. She became quiet and then asked if there was anyone living in the U.S. that could use the account while I was gone. As this point, I was like, ‘Jeeshâ€¦’, but I went on, “No, there’s nobody here in the U.S. I could transfer this too. That’s part of why I’m leaving the country. My family has passed away, my dog just died, and I just don’t value material possessions as much as I used to.’
She got started on canceling my accountâ€¦.”
Vonage users can now receive local traffic reports from their Vonage phone by dialing 511. The coverage is something like 30 511 systems in 26 states. Vonage now also provides local weather the same way. Dial 700-WEATHER and then enter a 5-digit zip code. Kind of cool. Andy Abramson has some thoughts on it, and Don Rosenbaum of FierceVOIP suggests that Vonage may be casting an eye towards a future mobile Vonage customer “People tend to need traffic and weather information when they’re in their cars; unless there’s a hotspot or mobile data connection” Hmmm.
If you’re thinking of cancelling Vonage, I suggest you read Tom Keating’s post on cancelling his Vonage service. He recorded the entire call with the Vonage customer service rep (what a rascal), and transcribed it.
All in all, don’t be surprised if Vonage does more than ask you a few questions to get you to reconsider your decision to abandon ship. Like Tom, I decided to cancel Vonage recently (after only about 6 months). My call quality was terrible. While I didn’t get into quite the same pressure cooker, the Vonage rep did try to get me to reconsider, offering a few free month’s service, a chat with tech support, etc.
The rep also tried to make me think I was making a big mistake, a bad decision. I was a little taken aback. When I return something in a store, often I’m asked for the reason for the return. Never do I get into a debate about it. Kind of unnerving.
I wonder if they’d have better success if they just said “I sorry you had this experience with Vonage. It sounds like you’re pretty frustrated. I see why you’d want to cancel. But is there any way I could get you to reconsider? Would you be willing to try a couple more things to fix your problems before cancelling?” And if the answer is No, then the answer is No. Thanks and goodbye.
As a little postscript to that Bye Bye Vonage post, I discovered that while Vonage customer support is 247, if you want to CANCEL their service you have to call during business hours (between 9 and 4:55 Eastern). I’m on Pacific time so it took me three tries. Guess they don’t want to make it too convenient if you plan on jumping ship!
But they were very polite, and even offered me free service for a few months to see if they could fix my voice quality problems. I was tempted, but like most people, I don’t want to spend my time friggin’ around with tech support trying to fix it. It ‘s not good use of my time. I want it just TO WORK.
I opted to pay the $50 cancellation fee and just move on…
If you are really looking for the best deals in residential VOIP services, look at providers with annual subscription rates. Most VOIP providers only offer monthly plans. Vonage for example is currently offering $24.99 per month for its basic unlimited service (free unlimited calling to anywhere in NA and Europe).
But as a way to reward and attract customers, VOIP companies are adopting what cell phone companies have been doing for years: offering the latest and greatest gear for free in return for long term committment.
SunRocket markets a similar package at $24.95 per month or an annual subscription at $199 per year. That works out to about $17 a month. So if you can handle prepaying for your service by the year instead of by the month, then an annual package is a good idea.
Packet8 has also recently adopted the annual package deal. For a flat rate of $199 per year, you get get unlimited calling within North Americal, calling features like voicemail and call waiting and a 100% discount on a Packet-8 enabled UIP1868P 5.8-GHz digital cordless phone system, which can be extended to work with multiple cordless handsets.
Well, after eight uneventful months, Vonage and I are parting ways. Perhaps not the most auspicious way to start off a blog about VoIP but I’m being honest here. I’m not going to go into a big rant. Flame throwing just isn’t my style. I don’t hate Vonage. The service just wasn’t financially making sense for me. The phone usage in my business isn’t enough to warrant a fixed monthly plan, even one as low as $24.99. Plus in my area the call quality wasn’t pristine. And some people do get excellent voice over Vonage. But I generally experienced crackling and lag on most calls.
If anyone has comments on Vonage quality in their area, let me know.
From the Vonage forums, it’s clear that call quality varies tremendously from region to region. My advice is that if the VOIP service, Vonage, SunRocket or whatever, isn’t what you expect, try something else. The VOIP marketplace is growing by leaps and bounds, and as a consumer you should shop around.
But now that I’ve done Vonage, it’s time to move on over to other VOIP solutions. Skype, SightSpeed, and Gizmo are the free ones on my radar and make the most sense for me given my business.