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jd2001
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Joined: Jul 30, 2010
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 30, 2010 6:41 pm    Post subject: Unhappy with UNLIMITED (=3000min) international calling plan Reply with quote Back to top

Yesterday I received a mail from Vonage which notifies me that my account shows unusually heavy and/or irregular pattern of use and asked me to limit my calls below 3000 international minutes. "If your usage is not adjusted to reflect normal residential use, we will automatically change your service plan to our Power User plan at a rate of $49.99 per month (plus taxes and fees)."

I would like to notify that I use my Vonage phone system solely for my residential purposes.
Before I subscribed to your service I was using another service provider who had a limit of 3000 minutes international calls. I primarily moved to Vonage because Vonage advertised and sold this service by the name of “VONAGE WORLD” – “Unlimited local and long distance home phone service across the U.S. and Puerto Rico and to more than 60 countries around the world.”

Due to my personal need I need to talk frequent and longer duration to India and that’s why I moved to Vonage “UNLIMITED” plan. I had to suffer a number of problems since the number transfer could not be possible by Vonage.
I understand that it not only unethical to hide the truth under the cover it is also improper practice from business point of view.

Very limited number of customer reads a 5-10 page document before signing up for a service. I also did not read the terms of service before signing for the service.
I am however now reading it and have question:


5.2 Residential Use of Service and Device.
If you subscribe to our residential service plans, we provide you with service, features and the device solely for single family, normal residential, non-commercial use. Single family refers to you and those of your immediate family members who reside in your personal residence - e.g., spouse, domestic partner, and/or children. If you subscribe to a service plan which permits use of more than one device with the same voice line, the basis for assessing such use will not change.

- This term holds good for me.

5.5 Inconsistent with Normal Use.
If you use the service, any feature or the device in a way that is inconsistent with the normal use for your service, feature or plan, you will be required, at Vonage's sole discretion, to pay the rates for the service, feature or plan that would apply to the way you used the service, feature or device, or terminate the plan. For example, if you subscribe to one of our residential service plans, and your usage is inconsistent with normal residential use, you may thereafter be required to pay our applicable, higher rates for commercial service for all periods in which your use of our service or the device was inconsistent with normal residential use. Unlimited voice services are provided primarily for continuous live dialog between two individuals. Lack of continuous dialog activity, unusual call patterns, excessive conferencing or call forwarding, excessive numbers and/or consistent excessive usage (which may also apply to features such as Directory Assistance) will be considered indicators that use may be inconsistent with normal use, or that impermissible use may be occurring and may trigger an account review or further action by us. We may determine inconsistent use based on material deviations from the usage patterns and levels of most of our customers using the same and/or similar service plans, features or devices. Failure to contact Vonage in response to its notifications and/or failure to promptly correct usage activity to conform to normal use will result, in Vonage's sole discretion, in immediate mandatory transfer to another appropriate plan (which may be higher in cost), suspension or termination of service. You acknowledge that if your service is terminated under this provision, you are subject to all applicable disconnection and device or other rebate recovery charges. Vonage's right to terminate your account under Section 6.5(b) (with or no reason) is not limited by this provision. For a non-exhaustive list of examples of uses of our service inconsistent with normal residential use, click here.
• Commercial, not-for profit, governmental use or other similar use
• The use of the service at a multi-residential address for more than one single residence; or
• The use of the service by others who do not reside in your personal residence primarily by reason of its unlimited feature


- This term does not provide any quantitative limitation, so I don’t know what is called excessive (50 or 5000). Yes I and my family make long duration and frequent calls to my family, relatives and friends in India/UK/New Zealand and that is exactly the purpose of subscribing to unlimited plan as opposed to fixed times based plan.
If I have to limit my calls and talk time in a specific boundary (say 3000 min) then Vonage “UNLIMITED” is not correct unlimited plan for me. There are several Voip providers who offer real unlimited plans.

My issue is that Vonage could have advertised and/or told me that this plan provides 3000 minutes international calls and based on the truth I had chance to decide if I should have gone with Vonage. I understand Vonage needs to pay a cost to their international peers/vendors. Then why is the improper and directionless advertisement? Please tell truth while selling plans. This unlimited business works like lunch buffet. Someone would consume more and someone less to maintain the equilibrium. But in the buffet it is unethical to restrict one to consume more food.

A business needs to be based on unambiguous terms. E.g. "if you need 5 chocolate, pay 5 bucks" - is a quantitative unambiguous term.
I know I have to pay more to get 6.

Please let me know if there is any guidance for me about this.
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sethook
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Joined: Nov 02, 2007
Posts: 63

PostPosted: Fri Jul 30, 2010 7:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

It's not like this topic hasn't been beaten to death. If Vonage can't meet your needs, move on to another provider. Fifty hours a month on the phone every month, indicates to me that you should be in search of a life and get outdoors more often. Have you thought that you might be inhibiting your family from having a life also? Now if you are really using the phone for a business venture, that's another can of worms on a residential line.
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rebus
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Joined: Dec 04, 2004
Posts: 448
Location: Tampa Bay

PostPosted: Sun Aug 01, 2010 5:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Not to troll the thread, but remembering back to when my sister and I were teens, we used the phone several hours a day between the two of us.... friends, boyfriends/girlfriends, teen chatter.

50 hours/month is a tad more than an hour and a half per day-- NOT unreasonable for a family that has been relocated to another country. Pack up and move your own family overseas and see how easy it is for the whole family... combined... collectively... to rack up 100 minutes a day. That's 25 minutess per day, per person, for a family of 4.

That is HARDLY abusive. I find your comment to get a life to be rather ignorant, without knowing the facts or circumstances of the OP.

I agree with the OP, that if Vonage is going to offer "unlimited" service, then it should in fact BE unlimited. And yes, this argument has been beaten to death. But for what it's worth, the NY State Attorney General slammed the door Verizon when they promoted their wireless data card as "unlimited" when there was actually a 5 GB cap-- forcing them to remove the word "unlimited". The same should apply to Vonage.
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AnonCusRep
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Joined: Aug 03, 2010
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2010 1:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

While I can understand wanting to speak with family or loved ones, you really walked into this.

Remember the Terms of Service that you agreed to? Before you can even finish the signup process with Vonage, you must agree to this. Either a sales agent reads you the entire Terms of Service if you sign up over the phone (in which case you are making an active choice not to listen if you don't pay attention) or if you signed up online you are presented with a document containing the entire Terms of Service before you can activate your account.

And in this Terms of Service, it clearly dictates Vonage can choose to define "unlimited" basically however they want. If they want to say "unlimited" is 5 minutes, guess what? They can.

It may be cold hearted to say but honestly, you are paying for bottom of the barrel phone service. You can't really get much cheaper phone service than Vonage, other than MagicJack, whom has no over-the-phone support at all (and requires you to use a computer). What did you expect for super cheap phone service? World class service for bargain basement prices? You get what you pay for.

And yes, 5000 minutes is ridiculous. If you are honestly expecting a family to use 5000+ minutes, then you do not need a residential plan with Vonage, you need a business class plan or better because the Vonage service is not geared toward that much inbound and outbound phone traffic for residential service.

Life lesson; read the contract you signed
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dconnor
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Joined: Mar 05, 2003
Posts: 2264
Location: The Beach

PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2010 1:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

We get 100's of these posts, they never come back to reply. (OK, now he will because I said that, lol).

They started a calling center in a laundry mat, got busted by the Vonage TOS and came here to ****.

Been there, done that,... every post with this title has the same result.

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rebus
Vonage Forum Evangelist
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Joined: Dec 04, 2004
Posts: 448
Location: Tampa Bay

PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2010 7:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

My only, and I do mean ONLY, objection to the 5000 minute limit is calling it "unlimited". Unlimited means without limits.

Legally, I don't know how companies get away with calling a limited program "unlimited". Verizon was forced to stop doing it, and so should everyone else.

I would respect it if Vonage advertised it as a 5,000 minute plan. That's a lot of minutes, for not a lot of money. But just DON'T call it "unlimited" when it's ABSOLUTELY NOT unlimited.

That's as bad as me advertising Free Widgets, then charging $1 for them. Free means free, not $1. Unlimited means unlimited, not 5000 minutes.
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sethook
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Joined: Nov 02, 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

" And in this Terms of Service, it clearly dictates Vonage can choose to define "unlimited" basically however they want. If they want to say "unlimited" is 5 minutes, guess what? They can. "
Can't spell it out any better. As mentioned, a large percentage of these complaints come from scams set up by people to cheat the system for their personal enrichment. People can't accept that the "free lunch counters" closed years ago.
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rebus
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Joined: Dec 04, 2004
Posts: 448
Location: Tampa Bay

PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

sethook wrote:
" And in this Terms of Service, it clearly dictates Vonage can choose to define "unlimited" basically however they want. If they want to say "unlimited" is 5 minutes, guess what? They can. "


No. If they're going to use the word "unlimited", then they need to abide by the generally accepted definition of the word.

If they want to put limited, then they need to use a word OTHER THAN "unlimited".

Call it Premium. Deluxe. Supreme. Megaterrific. Uberfantastic.

Call it whatever else they want, I don't care.

Just DON'T call it "unlimited" when it is CLEARLY NOT unlimited.

As a continuous Vonage customer since 2004, I think I have earned the right to voice my complaint over what is clearly deceptive advertising.
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AnonCusRep
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Joined: Aug 03, 2010
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2010 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

rebus wrote:
My only, and I do mean ONLY, objection to the 5000 minute limit is calling it "unlimited". Unlimited means without limits.

Legally, I don't know how companies get away with calling a limited program "unlimited". Verizon was forced to stop doing it, and so should everyone else.

I would respect it if Vonage advertised it as a 5,000 minute plan. That's a lot of minutes, for not a lot of money. But just DON'T call it "unlimited" when it's ABSOLUTELY NOT unlimited.
.


Because the "law" doesn't have to recognize certain words. If a company choose in their contract, to define a word as what it pertains to their business, then they are allowed to advertise it as such.

It's just like fast food places advertising a hamburger for "under a dollar" yet you and I know, even though that burger costs 99 cents, once you add in tax it's going to be more than a dollar.
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jd2001
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Joined: Jul 30, 2010
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Friends,
I am glad to see that so many members are involved in the discussion. Technically, one’s purpose of talking over phone (be it love affair, serious family problem, taking care of ill parents or post mortem discussion about FIFA world cup with friends or whatever) is not a part of this discussion as long as it does not violate residential needs. In fact, I came to this messaging board to discuss and understand the logistics and activity of unlimited vs limited world instead of involving few brains in analyzing one’s bio-data (search of life or death etc).
We used to spend huge money per month for making international calls to my family/relative/friends. Moving far from own country where no one was known, the only way to survive was to call family/relative/friends. Now with technological advances we can make calls for less. Since Vonage came with ‘unlimited’ plan, I found it beneficial for me and subscribed to it. I understood that I’ll be paying a fixed amount and talking without fear of paying a high bill. People are signing up for this plan with Vonage exactly for the reason I described and that is the basis for Vonage’s success which they are contradicting now.

Let’s analyze the rationale of choosing Vonage vs other cheap providers.
1. Vonage effectively limits usage below 3000 mins (my usage was <3000 mins for prev 4 billing cycle and this billing cycle went above 3000 – I got notice). Now there are companies selling 1500 mins to my country per $10 -> I can talk for 3000 mins by spending $20 per month over a magicjack or skype phone, where I pay $34 for Vonage. The downside is that I need to dial access code, but dialing access code once per 30-40 mins call does not matter much for me or anyone who make longer duration calls. On the up side, those are pay per use with no expiry -> if I use 2000 min this month, I can use 4000 mins next month without anyone warning me for that.

I believe that I complained about two issues not addressed yet.
1. I have concern about saying it ‘unlimited’ when it is not. However, rationally, nothing except the universe can be unlimited in our finite world. My issue is that Vonage should have sold me the plan by other name, say, 3000 min plan, I would have known that I should be talking up to 3000min without worrying about being threatened. I want to live peaceful life, any warning/threatening harms my mental state at a disturbing level. For example, after I was issued the notice, I am calling mostly from calling card though I am entitled to talk unlimited from my Vonage.
2. Another disturbing issue is their terms are ‘vague’. It says about ‘inconsistent with normal residential use’, ‘unusual call patterns’, ‘excessive numbers and/or consistent excessive usage’. There is no quantitative explanation of these terms. How can one know about their expectation? I think this should immediately be fixed.

I agree Vonage is cheaper but not the cheapest, since in order to keep my Vonage ‘unlimited’ plan, I need to pay for Vonage + another calling card to meet my requirement. I have described my situation to many of my friends who came to this country recently and are looking for other options.


I’ll wait for the day when Vonage will have to change the name of this untrue ‘unlimited’ plan. May be, I and many of my friends won’t remain their customer that day.
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