Friday, March 16, 2007

Vonage sucks at customer service

vonageYou've probably heard that Vonage lost a $58Mil lawsuit to Verizon over some VOIP patents -- if you haven't, you can read the article here.  I would think that when you are losing so much over a process that you can't entirely control (I would guess that Vonage wasn't specifically operating under the assumption that they were violating patents) that you would focus your efforts on things you can control like customer service.  Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be the case.

I called to cancel my Vonage service today that I've had for 3+ years because it's just not being used and the extra $20 per month in savings can pay for lots more minutes on cell phone plans for my wife and I.  Below is the text of an e-mail that I sent to Vonage detailing my experience -- I have deleted out names and account numbers where appropriate.

Ms. [deleted],

Although you may not be the correct contact for this
e-mail, yours was one of the few e-mail addresses at Vonage that I
could find on the web -- please feel free to forward this to the
appropriate person.

Today I called to cancel my Vonage account simply due to the
fact that I was not using the service; up to this point I had been a
customer for 3+ years and not had any sort of problem with the
service.  After getting through to a customer service representative, I
explained that I wished to cancel the service, gave all of the account
information, and even provided some reasons why I would not be
continuing the service.  When the representative asked me specific
questions about my cellular service plans, I refused to give him the
information and asked that he simply cancel the account.  Instead of
completing the account cancellation, he offered me a $9.99 plan for 100
minutes, which I refused, and then asked me if I had children in the
house.  At this point I very politely thanked the representative for
trying his best to keep me as a customer and explained that I felt I
had 2 options: (1) cancel the account today with him, or (2) call my
credit card company and explain to them that I had attempted to cancel
the account, but Vonage refused to do so and I needed to dispute the
charges.  Following my explanation of my options, the representative
tried to explain the benefits of a home phone and again asked if their
were children in my house.  I responded that I had already declined to
answer his question, that I had already made several requests for
cancellation, and that I now wanted to speak to his supervisor.  The
representative responded that he was a supervisor as he was in "account
management", asked if there was anyone I would recommend Vonage to (to
which I responded that I would have prior to my interaction with him),
and then began speaking sarcastically about me to someone else in the
call center, making comments about my wanting to speak to someone
above. than him -- these comments were followed by his disconnecting
the call.

called back and spoke to a different representative and she was able to
not only help me cancel the account, but provided me with the last name
of the first representative: [deleted].  She did suggest that if I wished
to file a complaint that I contact the corporate office and provided me
with the corporate office number, but I felt that filing the complaint
via e-mail was a more effective method.

My former telephone number was [deleted] and the former account number was [deleted].

Please let me know if you need any further information from me.


Ross Hollman 

Amazingly bad customer service from the first representative, although I will admit that the second representative not only quickly closed my account, but did provide me with the information I needed to make a complaint.  Note that I did have to do a Google search to find an e-mail address at Vonage because they don't provide an easy way to get in touch with them via e-mail; perhaps they should look at either having a form for "other" complaints on their website or simply providing a generic customer service e-mail address that is checked periodically.  By the way: I'm not making this complaint in the hope of receiving anything from Vonage, it's just that if I were in a management position over there, I would certainly want to know about stuff like this.

I'll let you know when and if anyone ever gets back to me.


Anonymous said...

I have had nothing but trouble with Vonage customer service. There is no customer service chat available as everything is automated. The reps I have spoken with just keep telling my to try the same things over and over. I can't seem to find a way to escalate my issue. Would you please let me know a Vonage email for their corporate location in N.J.? Thank You, M

Ross said...

The initial person I sent the e-mail to was simply a press inquiry contact, so I'm not going to post her e-mail address here.

I did actually receive a response to my complaint after about 4 weeks, and here it is (this came from

Dear Ross Hollman,

Thank you for bringing your experience to my attention. We will address the improper
action with the responsible party. If you have any question or concerns related to
this matter, please call me at the number below.

We are dedicated to customer satisfaction.


Alan Goldberg
Escalation Manager
Executive Response Team
US:888.580.4020 ext 22799 | F:732.231.6783
UK: 01618706995 ext 22799
Monday-Friday 9:00am-5:30pm

Maybe Alan can help you with your needs.

Good luck!


Anonymous said...

The service is crappy, the customer service is terrible!
I started with this poor company in 2006. That was my first mistake. After countless calls to tech support, Vonage told me my problems was with my Broadband Carrier, which was not true, but I checked it out anyway. Nope not the problem. Then they told me that I had to get a better phone. Did that! Not the Problem. So I decided to stay with them for the term of my contract,1 yr. hoping that they get their crap together. Also they never got a 808 prefix, which is in Hawaii, so everyone had to call me long distance.
I finally discontinued my service, then 1 month later, they sent me a letter stating that the service was better and since I had all the equipment already they will waive all charges. So I made the 2nd mistake and got my number back,since I did have that number out there for my business contacts. Did I really F@#& up!
The service still sucked and then I was stuck fro another year,so I got on the lowest plan. I totally wasted money for another 12 months. Then I tried to cancel service and they gave me 2 months free, I told them that I don't even log 20 minutes of the service cause it was so bad. The rep said just take it for 2 months and if I decide to keep the service , that they will give me unlimited plan for on 14.95. I was calling on my lunch hr, so I to go and I said ,"what the heck, Im still not going to stay". When I had time , about a month later, I called to complete my cancellation process. I was then told that I was going to be charged a $40.00 cancellation fee because my agreement was for 2 years. WTF! I told the rep that I would never agree to a 2 year agreement and that I was not informed about this. I asked for the Mgr. Damm she was a total B@*ch!
She was argumentative and downright rude. I told her to show or give me proof that I agreed to a 2year agreement and I would pay them. She told me that the 2year agreement is automatic and there was nothing that they could do. I then asked her again to provide me proof and then she hung up on me. 5 minutes later I received a email stating that they billed my Credit card 41.07 and sorry for your cancellation. I was furious. 2 days before Christmas!
I called and spoke to what was supposed to be a Account Manager, Yea Right! I thought I would have this resolved.LOL He had the nerve to tell me that nobody there will ever refund money! He also had the guts to say that the account rep that took my order may have forgot to mention the 2 year agreement.! Can you believe this! Then I asked to speak to someone to file a complaint about closing my account without authorization, charging my credit card,the 2 year agreement and the rudeness of their employees. He then gave me a snail mail address to somewhere in NJ, and told me to file a complaint and try to get a credit.
I will be going to my bank and dispute the charge, file a complaint with the BBB and actively make it my mission to tell everyone about this poorly ran company!