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LuisPR
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Posts: 292

PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2005 2:42 pm    Post subject: Connecticut Files Suit: Vonage Misrepresented 9-1-1 Reply with quote Back to top

Connecticut Attorney General's Office
Press Release

STATE OF CONNECTICUT
NEWS RELEASE
ATTORNEY GENERAL RICHARD BLUMENTHAL
DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER PROTECTION
COMMISSIONER EDWIN R. RODRIGUEZ

Attorney General, DCP Sue Broadband Phone Company For
Misrepresenting Its 9-1-1 Emergency Capabilities

May 3, 2005

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal today announced a lawsuit against Vonage Holdings Corporation for misrepresenting its ability to connect broadband telephone consumers to local 9-1-1 emergency dispatchers.


Blumenthal is filing the suit in cooperation with Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) Commissioner Edwin R. Rodriguez, alleging Vonage violated the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA).


Vonage is one of the largest providers of Internet-based telephone service – also known as "Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP)." Companies offer Voip as the affordable alternative to conventional telephone services, but some fail to provide the same 9-1-1 emergency network access.


The lawsuit alleges that Vonage misrepresents its 9-1-1 dialing feature by failing to properly disclose that 9-1-1 calls over its service may take longer; may not be routed to a live operator; and are at greater risk of encountering a busy signal. Buried in fine print, the company also advises consumers to maintain other means of calling 9-1-1. These limitations could delay – or completely prevent – emergency response.


"This lawsuit should send an emergency message to Vonage – and every Internet phone provider – that 9-1-1 is too important for half-truths," Blumenthal said. "Inadequate disclosure about 9-1-1 capabilities is not only bad business – it's life threatening. The company deceptively leads consumers to believe their emergency access will be as reliable as conventional landlines. Every second wasted routing calls could mean life or death. This lawsuit should sound an alarm: Consumers need and deserve to know whether 9-1-1 means real, immediate human help, or an answering machine."


"Consumers need to know exactly what their 9-1-1 emergency dialing capabilities are," Rodriguez said. "How Vonage represents those capabilities leaves a false impression that dialing 9-1-1 will result in direct contact with emergency dispatchers. There is evidence that that is not the case. As a matter of public safety, consumers need full disclosure of the facts in order to make a decision that could have life or death consequences."


Blumenthal and Rodriguez urge consumer caution when subscribing to Voip services.


Some Voip services do not offer 9-1-1 access at all. Others may route 9-1-1 calls through administrative lines to call centers – rather than directly to local 9-1-1 emergency dispatchers. Emergency dispatchers may have more difficulty verifying the caller's address in these cases, causing response delays.


In one recent incident, a Torrington woman dialed 9-1-1 when her infant son required immediate medical attention. Rather than connecting to an emergency dispatcher, the woman's call was routed to the police department's main number where she was greeted by a recording.


The state's lawsuit against Vonage seeks financial penalties and improved disclosures to consumers about its 9-1-1 service capabilities.
http://www.cslib.org/attygenl/mainlinks/tabindex4.htm
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kenn10
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Joined: Jun 07, 2004
Posts: 196
Location: Kennesaw, GA

PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2005 3:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

What a bunch of political posturing. I don't think that will get very far in court. Vonage could not be more clear when you sign up. But then, I am a moderately low-intelligence person so maybe Vonage should do it in movies or pictures so that people dumber than me can understand it.

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jdr30
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Joined: Nov 24, 2004
Posts: 215

PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2005 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

As per the terms of service:

You acknowledge and understand that the Service does NOT support traditional 911 or E911 access to emergency services. Vonage does offer a limited 911-type service available only on Vonage Devices as described herein, but you acknowledge and understand that 911-type dialing is NOT automatic, that you must separately take affirmative steps, as described in this Agreement and on Vonage’s website, to activate such 911-type dialing capabilities and that such 911-type dialing is different in a number of important ways (some, but not necessarily all, of which are described in this Agreement) from traditional 911 service.

You acknowledge and understand that Vonage's liability is limited for any Service outage and/or inability to dial 911 from your line or to access emergency service personnel, as set forth in this document. You agree to defend, indemnify, and hold harmless Vonage, its officers, directors, employees, affiliates and agents and any other service provider who furnishes services to Customer in connection with this Agreement or the Service, from any and all claims, losses, damages, fines, penalties, costs and expenses (including, without limitation, reasonable attorneys fees) by, or on behalf of, Customer or any third party or user of Customer's Service relating to the absence, failure or outage of the Service, including 911 dialing and/or inability of Customer or any third person or party or user of Customer's Service to be able to dial 911 or to access emergency service

2.8 Possibility of Network Congestion and/or Reduced Speed for Routing or Answering 911

You acknowledge that Vonage does not offer primary line or lifeline services. You should always have an alternative means of accessing traditional E911 services.

And I thought you had to know how to read to be attorney general ... Rolling Eyes
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