Vonage, the broadband phone company has been near perfect in keeping its hype machine humming nicely. The company continues to garner favorable coverage, has managed to rile the established phone company giants, and forced some to change their ways. Not bad for a company with less than 100,000 users. Its growth curve has been pretty steep. It reminds me of the early days of dot-com. However, till this morning, I never wondered about the service quality issues of Vonage. Then I got an email from Steve Sachs, a resident of Washington who had this to say:
I have had Vonage for about 7 months, and the experience has been a disaster. The problems: people say they call me and the phone doesn’t ring; sometimes there is no dialtone; sometimes I get a fast busy signal; some calls get dropped; and then the worst problem of all: I forward my calls from my Vonage line to my cell phone whenever I leave my home. If people leave a message on my cell phone, when I go to pick up the messages I am told that the message is 6 seconds long and it is almost always blank, i.e., no voice. Occasionally people are able to leave messages. Now that Vonage is working on it, they have made it worse: the calls don’t get forwarded at all. Add to that the fact that level-2 techs don’t appear to work over the weekend, and you’d better hope and pray that your problem gets solved by Friday afternoon! Except mine has been going on for months.
I am now wondering if the company’s popularity has resulted in all the issues that come with “scaling.” Is anyone else experiencing these same problems. I think Steve’s email shows that things are not that rosy yet in the VoIP land, despite what our friend Jeff Pulver might like us to believe. Don’t get me wrong, for I am a believer in the power of packet voice. But still quality of service is still an issue to be explored and I want your help. I would like you to share your Vonage/VoIP experiences and post them in the comment section.
31 thoughts on “Vonage Service Problems, Anyone?”
I have had Vonage for my small business since the beginning of 2004. I have experienced the following issues:
*Frequently dropped calls
*As long as 5 second delay in my voice being heard by the person I’m calling
*No dial tone
*Poor connection quality.
*Forwarded calls dropped.
I was so frustrated that I dropped the service. Thank God that my number hadn’t been transferred yet and that I had kept my old phone service, just in case. I think this is the phone system of the future, but the technology just isn’t quite there yet.
Vonage, like all of the other “VoIP providers” providing for-a-fee PSTN interconnection are going to have trouble scaling, not because of the IP/packet portion of the call, but rather because every call has to be circuit-switched finally. It’s in that that most problems lie. Consider that my FWD calls, pure IP, both from DSL/cable lines in the US and India to various parts of the world routinely have lower latency and better fidelity than a PSTN call; so, yes, VoIP _is_ ready for prime-time and no, you don’t need QoS to make it workable — but you need to stop PSTN interconnection to really see the higher quality. What will Vonage et al do when we all have broadband and can place end-to-end VoIP calls? Luckily for them, that day isn’t near.
I’ve had Vonage for two months. You need a working regular line in the house so that you can test your Vonage line to see if it receives calls and that they stay connected. If you have your Vonage hooked to a router than things get sticky. Should you use a static IP? My Vonage dropped calls are basically non-existent with a static IP# setup in the Vonage box. With the standard DHCP setup I received dropped calls. I don’t know why this was and I don’t think Vonage does either. If you need help with your Vonage you should goto http://www.dslreports.com/forum/voip . Alot of people there have developed Vonage setups that work.
*As long as 5 second delay in my voice being heard by the person IÌm calling and vice versa.
customer service was crap, sales was on the ball though for some reason. Finally a tech told me that it’s charter communications’s problem and to do the ping plotter, I also found out that the 509 area code was not Wenatchee but, Spokane, so technically, people calling me from down the street were calling long distance. Not Good, Cancelled right away. Got the money back.
A total waste.
I got this whole Vonage customer service thing started, and now I have an update: it turns out that my issues were not Vonage’s fault. After exhausting all possibilities with Vonage, Comcast came over and replaced some fittings outside the house. Comcast admitted that the corroded fittings were causing my Internet connection to be dropped. I have to say that replacing the fittings solved 99% of my problems with Vonage. I still don’t think the company or service is perfect, but there has been a dramatic improvement. Just wanted to clear the air.
You should rewrite the premise for this thread, as Steves original rant tuned out to have had the carpet pulled out from underneath of it.
I’m a huge fan of VoIP and Vonage. I recommended it to friends and so far I haven’t had any of the technical issues mentioned above. But as to “scaling”, I would agree that they need to dump some bucks into their Customer Service department. Emails go without response. You wait on the phone forever and never get any help. My issue is simple – I can’t remember my voicemail password (by the way, their online password changer doesn’t seem to work) but I can imagine if someone had serious issues they’d really be p###ed. I hope Vonage works on this because right now I’m a little nervous recommending them to anyone because of Customer Service.
I love Vonage. I have had it for over a year and have no problems with it. I have had some router problems but that was not Vonage’s fault.
I have vonage for aboout a year now and I am having problems when I am on the phone and the internet at the same time. The person on the other line cannot hear me clearly on the phone but I could hear them. The vonage equipment is connected to a Linksys router. I also using an RCA modem for my broadband connection. Any advice on how to resolve the router problems? None of the companies involved is taking responsibility for the issues I am having. They are all blaming it on each other.
my expierence with vonage has really sucked! at first everything was fine then on the day i made my first payment my router stopped working. AND I AM GETTING THE RUN AROUND WITH TECH SUPPORT! very unhappy
I’ve had at least 12 hours of customer service calls – mostly to India – on the issue of dropped calls. – I have about 1.8mb upload and 10 to 12mb dnload speeds with cablevision. – after about 12 hours and numerous reboots I finally got level 3 tech support – who in turn spoke to the engineers who in turn had my linksys adapter re-route the calls to a different server within vonage.
1) prior to the server switch virtually ALL calls would drop between 6 to 10 minutes.
2) after the new server – some calls drop within about 1.5 minutes (about 50%) while others have sustained 15 minutes.
I think it’s time for vonage to do some real serious soul searching as to how long a person has to talk to tech support before even attempting to offer a resolution that even had “some” effect.
I personally,have just finished with Vonage.From poor quality audio,to being billed aftter closing the account,i am one of thousands,still suffering the Vonage headache.I have launched formal complaints in the USA,with the FTC,FCC and the BBB.the refusal by vonage,to shut off the account when asked,allows them to charge you another months service and some people still have money taken from their accounts,months after service is discontinued.For examples of these problems,may i draw your attention to http://www.ripoffreport.com/vonage
I got vonage about 3 mos ago, It worked great for 6 weeks, and then the troubles began. I have done all the recommended tests and still have the problems. A tech told me I need DOCSIS 1.1 or 2.0.The tech said that 1.0 wasn`t good enough. Does anyone know what comcast uses? I have a SB 3100 cable modem, is that a 1.0?
Comcast uses docsis 2.0 in florida and 3everywhere else in the us
My wife and I are currently without a dialtone and the internet is out…Comcast is pointing the finger at Vonage and Vonage is pointing the finger at Comcast…we dropped Comcast phone service a couple months ago due to poor connections, missed calls, etc…then went with Vonage…Vonage worked great until yesterday when every thing went out…the service rep from Vonage is from India (can’t understand him)and he dosen’t seem concerned about the problem other than saying that it is a Comcast issue…Comcast will be comming to the house today to replace their modem with a “less powerful” model since we dropped their phone service… my wife wanted both company reps to be there, but Vonage refused to send someone until the Comcast modem is replaced…I’m close to calling Verizon (from work) and reconnecting phone service with them and get the DSL and drop Comcast (except fot the t.v.).
We had Vonage for at least 6 months before service started to crap out. All the same stuff happened when trying to get Tech Support from India, round & round and then nothing ever got solved. They blamed Comcast cable, who came out 4 times, replaced all our cable lines. I put in a new cable modem and router. Still lousy service and dropped calls. To top it off, Vonage continued to bill my credit card. When I called to complain and request a credit, they inform me that I have to pay 39.99 termination fee (per line x 2)if I pull out before 1 full year! Never signed to that! Amazing that they can rape their customers like that when THEY can’t provide reliable phone service. I’m gone, and my next call is to The MN Attorney Generals Office to complain.
I was in good shape with vonage for about 6 weeks,then today I started getting dropped calls,people trying to call me and line saying it(my number has been disconnectd,It hasnt)or all curcuits are busy.Then the strangrst thing I kept getting calls from my sisters cell phone(she wasnt using her phone)kept calling me and swuitching from my home phone to my cell(i have this set up in case of phone outage).I finally just had to turn off both phones.Now phone is static .No problems before today.Any ideas to whats happenning..
Last night I thought everyone that tried to call me had auto-redialers. At about 7:45est my system just went crazy, I would get calls but couldnt answer them, when I would hang up, the call would come in again. I later checked my cell phone which is my call forwarding number and I had 81 entries and 11 “no message” voicemails. I went to bed after waiting 45 minutes to be connected to a Vonage tech and was awaken at 3am by a few more redialers, I disconnected my phone, went online and disabled call-forwarding and will probably look for a new service tommorrow, any suggestions?
Amazing, because yesterday afternoon and evening (December 14), I had similar problems as the last two posters. I tried calling my office line — at 6:45 cst — and ended up with one ring, then a busy signal. I made three attempts. The calls, if unanswered, go to my cell phone. About an hour later, my cell phone started ringing repeatedly with forwarded calls from my office number. The caller ID for those calls was from my cell phone. Eventually, I figured out I had to answer the phone to get it to stop ringing, and after I answered three times, the nonsense stopped. I’ve been thinking of returning to traditional service, but I like the portability and the features and had much better call quality after replacing an old router with a newer one. After seeing the previous posts, I wonder though if anyone’s Vonage service anywhere was working last evening.
I started with Vonage almost 2 years ago this Feb. For about 10 months I had perfect service, not a problem at all. For the past year I have had nothing but trouble– dropped calls, no service, whistling when calls cut off I heard a sound like a slamming metal door– you name it, it happened.
Wanted to switch to TWC digital phone, but couldn’t. (another long story) Finally realized that all my problems started when TWC started their takeover of Adelphia. TWC said my modem was good- strong signal, etc. Asked them to bring out a new modem. Lo and behold, not a single problem since.
Now I am not saying that Vonage is perfect. Their customer service is horrible at best and being transferred to someone overseas that I cannot understand is completely frustrating.
Just wanted to let everyone know that if you are having problems to please call your internet provider and see if there is something they can do on their end. Insist on a new router. Also, move your router so that it is away from the modem. Not sure which of these actually worked for me, but all I can say is everything works perfect now.
Have a great day all!
Posted this in wrong section, so reposting here.
January 31st, 2008
6:32 AM PT
Vonage Tech Rep said:
So I work in Tech Support for Vonage. I see both ends. I hear about the long wait times. I know that there is a long wait time to cancel b/c Account Management spends so much time putting credits on people’s accounts, where the customer did not intend to cancel but only get empathy and credit. I believe there are about 4000 Tech Support agents. Calls are steady throughout the day and night. Most technical issues are either no dialtone, where a customer needs to just power cycle their network b/c their modem has temporarily gone offline and the devices (most) are not intelligent enough to reboot themselves. The other issues are audio, which are 99% of the time ISP related. This really annoys people and they hate Vonage for it. Most times if a customer would turn their whole network off and disconnect their DSL line or Coax cable for one minute and then reconnect it and then power network back up.
I do feel for customers but really there are too many people who have Vonage and do not really understand the technology and it causes alot of frustration on both the customer’s end and support end, and sales could do alot better job of informing the customer, but I have worked in Sales for 6 years previously and I know that Sales in general is not what it should be.
January 31st, 2008
6:43 AM PT
Vonage Tech Rep said:
Most times if a customer would turn their whole network off and disconnect their DSL line or Coax cable for one minute and then reconnect it and then power network back up, it would resolve most audio issues, because normally there are low Upload speeds (less than 150 Kbps) or have a bad Trace Route, where the latency is above 150ms or there are packets of information being dropped, where a Trace Route reveals “Request Timed Out”, on more than several lines beyond line 4 (which is normally outside the customer’s own network and is on the Internet at that point).
To perform a Trace Route:
Start >> Run >> type: cmd >> enter >> tracert http://www.yahoo.com
Start button then Run then “cmd” then enter then “tracert http://www.yahoo.com“
Speed Test: http://www.speedtest.net (This is great b/c it chooses a server geographically close to the customer) Upload needs to be ideally between 200-300 kbps. Download speeds are usually never an issue.
Also if a customer has a Belkin or Netgear router which have SPI (Stateful Packet Inspection) Firewalls on them, in front of their Telephone Adapter it will cause choppy audio, and having a wireless router in front of the Telephone Adapter will cause choppy audio or loss of dialtone b/c Wireless Routers have a tendency to fall offline and interfere with cordless phones. Any router manufacturer will tell you that Wireless Routers and cordless phones have interference issues. Sometimes the phone will knock the router offline, and sometimes the router will break up the audio on the phone.
January 31st, 2008
6:46 AM PT
Vonage Tech Rep said:
One more correction:
I did not type the “http://” for the yahoo address. It does not belong in the command line. Do NOT type the http:// in there just the “tracert then the space key and then the website name.”
HORRIBLE CUSTOMER SERVICE!!! I CANCELLED MY SERVICE WITH THEM BECAUSE I WAS JUST HAVING TROUBLE WITH THE PHONE THEY JUST INFORMED ME I HAVE TO PAY $39.99 DISCONNECTION FEE + I HAVE TO PAY FOR THE VONAGE DEVICE THEY SENT ME SO I HAVE TO PAY THEM A TOTAL OF $119.00!!! CAN YOU BELEIVE THIS
THEY WON’T TAKE THE DEVICE BACK AND GIVE ME A CREDIT, THEY TOLD ME I HAVE TO KEEP THE DEVICE OR I CAN SEND IT BACK BUT I WOULD STILL HAVE TO PAY FOR IT!!! I WOULD NOT RECOMMENT THIS COMPANY TO ANYONE.
I had vonage for oh three months! I just cancelled my service with them today! They suck and I told them they did! Screamed and flipped out on them! They did not help me in any of my issues! Droped calls, 10 second delays, internet running slow! the list just goes on…Everytime I call the complan they never took note of speaking to me and the hours I was on the phone trying to fix the prob. They suck and I will never go back to them! They made me pay $92.98 to shut off my service! Now I do not know what the hell to do with this box that is junk! I will not recommend this to anyone! They SUCK!
I started to open an account with Vonage on September 30th. The Sales Rep I spoke with was all too willing to get me signed up. This took approximately 1 hour.. I should have reliazed that there was a problem, but still tried to be patient with the Sales Rep since he had a lot of problems with the English language. He was really cute sounding when he would tell me in his broken English, “no problem, I do this with customers all day long. Don’t hang up, cause I will help you.” October 1st, I started receiving emails with instructions for transferring to Vonage. All in all, I received about 18 emails of which most were in triplicate. I really got upset with the one that requested that I fill out a form for transfer authorization and when I clicked on the site to get to the form, all I could get was a message that my transfer was verified. NO form. I tried to reach someone for help and everytime I would get someone that didn’t know what I was talking about. By the way, don’t you just love that female computer that comes in and sounds so perky and wants to help. She’s cool. She’s the only one that knows what is going on at Vonage. Anyway, October 2nd has come and I am not getting anywhere with Vonage. I threaten to stop the process with the next sales rep. He says, “no problem I will help you. You won’t be on phone but ten minutes.” Well, by now I have heard this crap way too much, so I tell the sales rep I’ll get back with him since I am at work and cannot tie up my phone lines. I come home and start again spending approximately one hour on the phone trying to resolve issues so that my transfer over will run smooth. Then on October 3rd, I get an email stating that I needed to call AT&T and request that they assist me in a stand alone with my DSL. I needed to have a dryloop. I think this means that I need to have another phone line open in order for Vonage to operate. So I did call. Yes, I would have two phone bills. One with AT&T and one with Vonage. So I call Vonage to cancel the transfer. By the way the adapter arrived on October 3rd. I cancelled the transfer on October 3rd. Yes they are charging me $39.99 to cancel a phone service that I never had. And if I don’t send the adapter back as they request, I don’t get my money back. Needless to say, I am going to make sure that I send it back to the letter with witnesses and through certified mail. Again extra cost because I don’t trust them. Also, another note. If your electricity is out, you have no phone. Why? Because you don’t have DSL. I should of thought that through more, but I too was mislead by the false promises that Vonage made. Nonetheless, if anyone out there is thinking about using Vonage, please learn from my mistake. Don’t use them!!!!!
I have been living in Portland, OR, for nearly a year. Shortly after moving here, I enrolled via COMCAST for my broadband internet service. After being enrolled in the standard broadband services for nearly three(3) months, I learned, to my chagrin, that my vonage system interferes with my reception of broadband internet access. For what is now nearly a full year, I have not been able to use my vonage phone system.
I will soon be choosing another service because I have been paying a regular monthly fee for my vonage phone sercvice, but have not been able to use it at all. All charges and phone calls are being made through my AT&T cell phone because of this ongoing glitsch.
I have had Vonage for four years now. I have never had ANY service issues. I am here now because my father in law just got Vonage and he gets choppy service when his computer is on. Has anyone here tried the Vonage tech’s advice of having the cable company check their equipment and wiring? I hate to see people shy away from Vonage due to a Time Warner or Comcast problem.
Talk about some of the awfulest phone service a person can get!!!!!!! I can hear the caller, yet they can’t hear me. They say I sound like i’m breaking up. I’ve called vonage and guess what? They haven’t fixed a darn thing, yet they sure do bill my card and get their money. I WANT MY MONEY”S WORTH ALSO!!! I’m sick and tired of my calls not going through or not even getting calls at various other times. A word to the wise; DON’T EVER GET VONAGE PHONE SERVICE. THEY’LL RIP YOU OFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Fix YOUR service first before you decide to put it on the market !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I have had Vonage for just over a year. Fantasic…. until 4 weeks ago. From one day to the next, I went from great service to dropping calls, no dialtone, choppy conversations, poor audio, etc.
I have two high-speed lines: one cable and one DSL. Did not matter which one it was on, and I tried it with no other load. Upon complaining, Vonage “upgraded my terminal” remotely. Now when people call, they sometimes get an “ear blast” of high pitched squeal.
My sense is that Vonage moves things around, and that some of their switches and equipment is buggy while others isn’t. For us, we need to move to another provider.
I also very much believe that Vonage is reaching a peek of manageability that they do not know how to grow past. My view as a past CIO for a wireless services company is that they are in for some very hard times given the pattern of issues they are having. I would definitely not recommend Vonage for anyone in the near term until they prove their abilities at the next level.
I have been using vonage since 2006 and had not had any issues, until most recently. I for the past month have not been able to browse the internet while being connected to the vonage device, however I have no problem when I’m connected just using my dsl modem. I have been through almost the entire tech support unit of Vonage and all they have managed to do is send me two additional devices that are giving me the same results. I called to cancel my subscription and they want to charge me a fee of $125.80 for early termination of aggreement. Apparently I’m considered a new customer because I was forced to take a new account number after not being able to restore my old account within 30 days.
As said before, I have not had any issues with vonage until most recently, and my issue is that I’m not able to browse the internet while being connected to my vonage device; a problem that vonage wants to ignore.
My Vonage modum continues to blink on the #1 phone line. Also I get an intermitent blink on the eathernet line. When I pick up the phone instead of getting a dial tone like usual, it will beep several times before I get a dial tone. Is this something you can fix or do I have to do it. Up until now the system has been working perfectly and I have been very happy that I switched to Vonage.