Anyone who has been reading this blog, or many of the Vonage forums very well knows about the patchy nature of the Vonage VoIP service. If you have used it, you have experienced the issues with Vonage first hand. Perhaps that is why I was surprised to read that PC World had named them their VoIP service of 2006. [Just updated the link. Sorry about that. They link Vonage profile to an old 2004 story, which is what I originally linked to! I have updated the post to reflect that.]
PC World in an older article said that Vonage set-up was easy, which is still pretty accurate. But then they praised their audio quality, and their support website.
I bet there is a lot of customers who disagree. One of the common refrains about the company has been its customer service. Regardless, I think the reason to use Vonage, if you have to is their softphone access, and using it as a back-up, especially when you are on the go.
43 thoughts on “PC World Rates Vonage Top VoIP… Seriously”
I may have to rethink my subscription to this mag. The article states concerning Vonage’s quality:
“Only a few people complained about the audio quality, which often was better than that of cell phones.”
Is this the pathetic or what?
… not that anyone else faired better according to the article, but since when did cell phone quality become the standard.
One thing voip should have in it’s favor by now is good clear wideband hi-fi call quality!
My wife hated the fact that we have Vonage. I keep it because of the price. We have cable broadband and I have not found a way to beat the free long distance and some of the features like having my voicemails emailed to me. That being said, every technical issue is your ISP’s fault according to them (and there are plenty of technical issues). How can I say otherwise?
Here are some of my favorites in no particular order:
I feel better now.
If there is a better service I have not heard of it.
maybe i would sound like a voip-luddite, but flat rate plans from phone companies that use the old technology are not that bad afterall?
I experience with Vonage was horrible. The first month everything worked fine. After the promotional period, making a call became as difficult as an arctic adventure. I switched to Skype long time ago.
Now I know why I cancelled my subscription to PC World.
I’ve too have experience horrible service with Vonage. I have one line to an internet provider, and another from the Vonage box.I had to hook up the telephone on the Vonage box, so I can use it for the house.Also, your other telephone is hook up in the wall jack for internet: you don’t use that phone at all. Your internet service have to know who is your phone provider. If my childrend was online, my Vonage phone starts to act up BAD. You can hear statics, people talking fast like you’re pressing a fast forward tape,. It was horrible!!! They technical help somewhat ok. You can tell they all form out of state, and they try to keep you as long as they can to resolved the problem. But they only thing I like is, they price is cheap. And if you cancelled before your contract expired, you have to pay the a fee. So good luck try at your own risk!!!
My experience with Vonage remains positive. The major issue I have had is infrequent inaccessibility of voice mail. Note that I am a simple residential customer only – I use no fancy services.
Is anyone else linking to old article here (May ’04 and mentions Dialpad) http://yahoo.pcworld.com/resource/printable/article/0,aid,115053,00.asp
I’ve had nothing but good experiences with Vonage in the 3 years I’ve had service with them. I’ve used the service with DSL, Cable, and now FIOS and other than a few minor glitches never had a problem. I haven’t tried the rest, but I know that from talking to people on Lingo or Packet 8, I’ll take the sound quality of Vonage over them any day.
Problems with Vonage? I’ve had none in over a year that I’ve been a customer. I have had problems where my cable service went down and hence Vonage didn’t work, but that’s Comcast’s fault.
The only problem I’ve had with Vonage is that it is too expensive and proprietary. I kept one line with them (I don’t dare try to “port” the phone number out to another service).
For softphone, there are other VoIP services that don’t lock you in and require you to add a line to get a softphone.
For example, ZingoTel uses Sipura ATA’s, but you can program any standard softphone to USE THE SAME PHONE NUMBER. I switched one Vonage line to ZingoTel’s $5/month limited plan and it is just fine.
If you have several extra lines and don’t make a lot of calls on them, the unlimited plans are just too expensive.
Before everyone starts name calling and attacking credibility, you’re basing your opinions on what might be a vocal minority. I’ve had Vonage for a year, with zero problems in terms of quality or uptime.
I pick up the phone, I dial, I talk to people.
I’ve had the product for two years with one issue – my ATA croaked after I moved to another city (I suspect it was packed at the bottom of a box of books – not the top). I replaced the device and I’ve had zero problems since. Many of my co-workers use it as well and I’ve heard no complaints from them.
My relatives use the Comcast “digitial voice” product and they’ve had more problems in two months’ of usage than I’ve had in two years.
However, my positive experience with their product wasn’t enough to lure me into purchasing their stock 🙂
Rich, you’re correct. This is referring to a 2004 article! Explains the old plans.
Om, what’s up with this?
VOIP quality almost totally depends on the quality of your internet connection.
I’ve tried Lingo and currently use SunRocket (for the price) and they’ve both been excellent, overall.
Vonage works for most people but anecdotally speaking the voice quality I experience when calling relatives that have it, is not very good.
My husband had a Vonage account on one of his lines and thought the service was in his words “horrible.” I cannot confirm this. I can however confirm that their customer service was in my words “a bad nightmare” –after I tried to become a customer and their reps screwed up my order. After several hours of trying to resolve their errors, i cancelled my attempts to become a customer. Perhaps in the future they can iron out these significant deficiencies in their quality and customer service. If so, i’d be willing to try the “artic adventure” again.
Same old story. Back in 2002/3 when AT&T Wireless was really going down the toilet the service still did well in competative tests and internal metrics were at an all time high. That didn’t stop many in the press from branding the service as being bad. One thing that really did go bad was customer service and that more than actual phone service was what got the anti-AT&T crowd going. 1 Unhappy customer is louder than 1,000 satisfied ones. The sad thing is when it comes to customer service you don’t actually have to be good, just better than everybody else. That’s the secret to Comcast’s success, as their mediocre efforts still trump the average cable company’s seemly active campaigns to piss off their customers.
rich and rick, ended up entering the wrong url. my bad. i have updated the links and also linked to the press release. the error is regretted.
In the year I’ve had Vonage, I’ve had excellent audio quality – no complaints there.
Initially, I contacted customer service when the VoIP router they shipped was destroyed in transit and again when I had problems with phones not cleanly ending calls. I can tell you both those support experiences were painful and tedious, though probably not much different than most customer support these days. That’s the figurative price we pay for inexpensive service.
I have had Vonage for almost 2 years now and have had very few problems. The call quality problems I have are 80% caused by my outbound bandwidth saturation due to stuff I am doing with other systems. I will rarely get garbled voices, where every other half second seems to get dropped.
All in all, I am somewhat satisfied with the service.
Vonage customer for 2 years now. I’ve had no technical issues, sound quality as good as my old landline, and far better prices. I’ve not had occasion to call their support, so I can’t comment about that.
Vonage is without question the best phone service I’ve ever had. Hands down. Quality all the way from performance to customer service to price. And VOIP, no less.
For a while I had intermittent cable outages a couple times a day which my friend was sure due to Vonage. Cox tech support had no answers. Turns out Cox cable has known about it for months. They just announced they need to replace all the Toshiba modems. They didn’t tell the customers according to the Cox store guy because they were afraid demand would outstrip supply.
Now it’s all good.
I’m stickin with Vonage for sure.
Well I don’t have Vonage, but I have been using Voip in my home since Jan 2005. Works awesome, and I get paid to use it. How about that? Have a look at my website. http://www.voip2cash.com
Those who say it cannot be done, should not interrupt those who are doing it!
“If you have used it, you have experienced the issues with Vonage first hand.”
Ok, I’ve used it for nearly a year now and I still have no idea what you’re talking about. Voicemail had a couple rough spots where it continually thought a message was waiting, but otherwise, smooth sailing (far more than I can say for Skype).
I even turned my parents onto Vonage (far from techno experts) and their experience has been overwhelmingly positive. In fact, when they switched from Verizon POTS, they noted clearer sound (a quite noticable line hum was always present with Verizon).
My parents use Vonage – my dad has been a customer since 2002 (I think) when I (being more technologically aware than he) was scratching my head about the idea of a little device controlling phone calls through the Internet. He has no complaints at all. It normally is the ISP at fault when the service fails.
I, on the other hand, use Packet8 because it’s cheaper and uses a better compression ratio to transmit phone calls. It just works for me!
I have been using it for a couple of years…for my needs it works great. I use the phone from India a lot, and for that its fantastic..simple set up..just remember what order to plug in the wires and your off. Dont use anything but phone and voicemail though, so dont know if the extras are whats dissapointing people.
I have been on Vonage for over a year, and in the beginning occasionally ran into “stutters” when suddenly the caller on the other end would slow down to darth vader on xanax.
I called Vonage, they blamed the ISP. I did some independent testing (pings from my pc to a closeby server) and noticed much slower response times when the call got choppy (leading me to believe it was in fact my ISP). Since I get a good package for my cable and internet, I just upgraded my Adelphia cable to their 8mbit service, and the choppiness has smoothed out to the point of occuring for 10 seconds maybe once a month. I personally dont blame Vonage at all.
My only complaint like otheres is occasional interruptions in access to voicemail, but not too severe. I think the bad rap vonage is getting is like other have said, from a vocal minority (encourage by their highly regarded blogger obviously hating vonage).
‘ve had Vonage for over two years without incident. I dial and talk just fine, send faxes, and the Brinks alarm system works perfectly with Vonage. I even have the calls forwarded to my cellphone.
I love the service, but I sure stayed away from their IPO.
I’ve used Vonage for over 3 years and have been extremely satisfied. I average 1000-1500 minutes per month. I have no problems making calls and the sound quality is completely satisfactory. I would recommend the service to anyone with a decent connection to the Internet.
I have used Vonage via Comcast for 18 months,
and am very pleased with the service. It just works.
Excellent voice quality. No outages. Porting my phone
number was frustrating and took 2 months. I would have
given up, but Vonage gave me free service till the number
was ported, and I have had no regrets since.
Finally, somebody IDENTIFIES the main reason most folks are happy with any voip service is the friggin INTERNET connection they have…alot of folks blame Vonage or Packet8 or SunRocket on their call quality but its REALLY their Internet Provider…I use Comcast for Internet and Packet8 and my service has been almost PERFECT…well worth the $21 per month with Flat Rate Unlimited Long Distance…
if your Internet GOES OFF, your phone dont work…sort of like cell service , your talking away and all of a sudden a dropped call…what do you do???? throw your Cell out the window of your car????? no, you call the person back…at zero costs! I love my Packet8 and its been almost PERFECT for the past 8 months ======Flawless!
My service works great, but god help you if you ever have to call Vonage about anything. Assuming the support person speaks English, my wait times are long, disconnects not infrequent and the support unhelpful. If you can get support using their website do so, if not, don’t call at night and be prepared to spend a long time not getting your issue resolved.
It’s March 2007 and Vonage is worst than when I got it in March 2006. I am going to bail as the one year penality phase is up. Looks like I am gong to have to cancel my credit card to do it because many posts say that Vonage won’t acknowledge that you cancelled and they keep charging your credit card long after the service is disconnected.
I disagree with much of what you said. I have had vonage for about a year and will get rid of it after the penality phase ends after one year. That is provided that I can actually get them to cancel the account and they do not keep charging me even after I have disconnected.
I still cannot figure out why I was such a fool to go with Vongae. Now I crusade against the company. I HATE VONAGE. People do stupid things.. they sign up for Vonage.
I had plenty of issues with support… I was actually hung up on over 5 times in one day. Not hard to see that I’m not a fan of the service.
Vonage lost thier patent suit. They will try and squim thier way out paying for that, too.
All the complaints people made about Vonage are true. Those who do not have problems are lucky. I hope vonage goes bankrupt and is sued into oblivian.
Vonage is the worst service I have ever used. If you call for help you wait 30-60 minutes and talk to someone in India that does not understand you and cares less about your problem. You get “escalated” to level after level of manager, waiting another 30 mintues with no resolution. All vonage wants is to lock you into the service and then give no service. DO NOT GET VONAGE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.
VONAGE is an unscrupulous company and I refuse to do business Vonage. Vonage refuses to cancel my account after approximately two weeks of repeatedly trying to cancel my Vonage account by telephone and email. To end the phone conversation Vonage has repeatedly said Vonage computers are down and to call back.
I filed a complaint against Vonage with the Better Business Bureau (complaint number: 5576109) 3 Oct 07.
I filed a complaint against Vonage with the Federal Communications Commission (complaint number: FORM475: 07-W13431095) 4 Oct 07.
I filed a complaint against Vonage with Florida Congressman Jeff Miller 4 Oct 07..
I filed a complaint against Vonage with Florida Senator Bill Nelson 4 Oct 07..
I filed a complaint against Vonage with Florida Senator Mel Martinez 4 Oct 07..
I am pursuing legal action against Vonage.
For further evidence of Vonage’s behavior and what kind of reputation Vonage has developed go to http://www.wehatevonage.com/, http://www.consumercompare.org/review.php?provider=vonage, and/or search the Internet for “I HATE VONAGE”.
I signed up with Vonage to save money on home office calls. It was for a new number, so I didn’t have all the hassle of waiting for the switch, but I ordered a phone from them that didn’t come and didn’t come and eventually I had to call back to get another one sent. Finally, I get another one, and despite my high-speed DSL connection, the phone quality was terrible. My boss could not hear me properly and my calls kept getting dropped. So my boss told me to disconnect the service and since they were paying for it, I tried. Vonage Customer Abuse line told me that I could not disconnect without being charged a $50 rebate recovery fee before 6 months of service. I said that was ridiculous and that their service was the problem. They offered me 2 months free service to make it up to me, which would take me to 6 months. I figured, fine, I can remember to call back in 2 months. No mention of the disconnect charge at this point, and I even confirmed with the rep that there would be NO FEE to disconnect. She agreed.
So, I call back 2 months later and after waiting over 20 minutes on hold, I tell them I want to disconnect, they try to give me more free months, discounted services…bla, bla, bla. I tell them nicely “no thank you, please just disconnect me.” Then the Customer Abuse Rep tells me that I have to pay a fee to disconnect. I said “what?” I was told that there would be no fee. She argues and argues with me saying that there was this other fee, but then there is this now additional fee, I tell her that the previous rep told me there would be no fee. After 10 minutes round and round, she offers to waive the fee if I sign up my friends… WHAT??? After all the hassle that this has caused, I wouldn’t sign anyone up for this abuse. Geez. I tell them I would rather pay the fee nad not subject my friends to this type of treatment. I hang up and about 15 seconds later get an email saying my service has been disconnected and my credit card has been charged $44.79… I paid almost $45 for a 10 second disconnection and a lot of hassle and abuse.
Here’s the moral – STAY AWAY FROM VONAGE – they are ridiculous to deal with and lie, cheat and steal to get customers. By the way, I told them that I would be warning everyone about their tactics online – please post on as many places as you can find too, maybe together we can stop their bad business practices
Vonage unfairly misrepresents their penalties for cancellation.
I am unsatisfied with the quality of vonage service (line quality, frequent service interuptions) which I attributed to my ISP. I thought that cancellation would be easy since the service is advertised as
“no contract” and the equiptment is advertised as “free”. When I called to cancel I was told that if I cancel now I will be given a $40 dollar charge for cancellation and $80 charge for “rebate recovery” for equiptment that I was never informed about. Furthermore Vonage makes
cancellation difficult by limiting hours when cancellations are accepted, routing calls for cancellation to longer hold time and delaying numbers from being ported to other carriers. This contributed to my inability to cancel sooner (within the refund period).
I have just dealt with Vonage. They are absolutely the worst of the VoiP that I can imagine. There service for international calling was very very poor. We were charged for many many calls that never rang or ever were connected. About half of our bill each month was for these calls. After making several calls to tech support the service still continued to be unusable. When I tried to cancel the service the rep tried to force me to continue service despite several very clear statements that I wanted to cancel. He clearly lied to me several time and then tried to make me pay many fees that I did not owe. There was even some credit on my billing that was made prior to canceling for non-connected calls that suddenly disappeared. After several long phone calls and the return of their equipment, they agreed to give me a full refund. After waiting for their stated grace period only a quarter of the agreed amount shows up in my account. After another long (One Hour) phone call I have again been promised, after another 7 day grace period, that I will be credited with a full refund. From past experience there is little hope that this will actually happen. My recommendation: If there is someone who has really wronged you, send them to Vonage…they deserve each other.
I’ve had vonage for six months now. They have messed up my billing numerous times, lost of overcharges. I had a V-Tech vonage phone that the base module went bad. They said they were going to replace it free of charge. Then they told me they had to add an additional line to ship it out to me, but I would not be charged. Guess again! I got charged. When I called back and they tried to adjust the amount I was being charged they did not recredit me for the misc charges like tax, 911 and regulatory charges they charged me for too, and only credited back the 9.95 missing the other 7.00 in misc charges that came with that charge. I will say aside from the very annoying automated system you have to deal with EVERY time you call in, and the occassional person who has no clue what is going on, most of the customer service reps at vonage where by far some of the best I have had to deal with. That aside the phone service itself I would rate around 75% satisfaction, billing accuracy I would rate 0% satisfaction, coordination inside the company I would rate at 33% satisfaction, billing amount 80% satisfaction, and technical features I rate 85% [When they actually work. If they worked all the time I would rate them 100%.] My biggest problem with vonage has been the fact that I had my credit card stolen. I called vonage as soon as possible to let them know my bank was re-issuing me a credit card as soon as possible, but that I would not be able to make a payment for a week after my bill was due. They kept my phone on but shut me out of my voice mail! And worse they never told me this was going to happen or I would have just turned my answering machine on! Overall I would not recommend vonage to anyone unless it was not a primary line, and they bought it for their children to talk on endlessly for the $30 a month that you spend on it. Which is far cheaper than a cell phone bill. But be aware there are many problems you will face. The road with vonage is a long one, but a cheap one. I guess remember the old adage, you only get what you pay for. Well I am now determined to see if I can find better VOIP service than vonage. Maybe one that actually does what it says. Next stop skype.