Sunday, March 06, 2005

Vonage is About to Lose a Customer (part 4)

So, we finally recovered from the blown adapter, phone service was up and running perfectly for a few days, then things started going haywire again.

My lovely and perceptive wife brought the phone to me and mentioned that she was having trouble calling a neighbor. The phone line would ring twice, then go to a fast busy signal. So I tried calling my office. Same result. So I tried calling her cell phone. Same result. So I tried calling my parent’s house long distance. Surprise, I got their answering machine.

After some experimentation, we determined that we were unable to dial any number in the 770 or 404 area codes. This is a problem, as Atlanta is covered by those two particular area codes, and we live in Atlanta. I tried re-booting the ATA to no avail.

Finally, hopeful for a fast resolution, but fearful of a repeat performance, I dialed the Vonage Technical Support and Endless Mind-Numbing Hold Music number.

While on hold, I managed to eat dinner and bathe two children. I left the phone on speaker, and the children enjoyed dancing to the insipid instrumentals. (It’ll take years of therapy to remove that from their psyches.) Forty two minutes later, someone finally answered the phone.

I explained the problem - several times, since the person on the phone seemed confused. In the end, she explained that there was some problem with the network, and she was just taking names and numbers so that someone in technical support could call back later.

Over forty minutes on hold so that you can take my number and get back to me? Unacceptable. Especially when you have options such as placing a service notice on the web page (none was ever posted that I saw – even later in the evening) or even mentioning that there is a problem in your hold messages.

We received a mailing from BellSouth today asking us to come back and offering nice prizes. We know that Vonage is a great deal, and as a telecommunications professional, I want them to succeed. However, my lovely and telephone-deprived wife has posted that BellSouth flyer on the bulletin board next to the phone.

One more chance, Vonage. Another screw-up like this with technical support this poor, and we’ll decide that the reliability of BellSouth is worth the extra money. And we’ll tell two friends, who will tell two friends, and so on, and so on.


CLD said...

OK, so it's now October of 2006. How has the customer service improved, if at all? Are you still using the service? And do you still like it?

I am technically savvy, so I have no problem with being able to connect all my phones in the house to the vonage phone adapter, and disconnecting the wiring outside the house. I just want to get the hell out from under BellSouth's thumb and their ridiculously high rates.

Thanks for all the great info!

Scott said...

I apologize. I forgot to add a link to the final stage of the saga. Here it is.

Goodbye Vonage

The short answer is that I had to drop Vonage primarily because my cable company's modem service (Comcast) was too unreliable. When I moved to DSL (from BellSouth), they forced me to get a phone line as well - so no benefit to having Vonage. Long distance is now done via cell phone (usually).

The cost of BellSouth service is significantly higher, and I will certainly consider Vonage again when and if I move to another house with a more reliable cable connection. I will go in with eyes open, though, and won't expect much in the way of customer service.

Good luck.