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Post new topic   Reply to topic  Vonage® VoIP Forum - Vonage News, Reviews And Discussion » LNP – Local Number Portability
Author Message
Dan
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2004 9:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I called SBC today to ask why they hadn't acted on my lnp request. They said they never received it. I tend to think this is probably true. I think Vonage is using a convenient excuse - "the local phone company is dragging its feet" - to avoid coming clean about what is going on with lnp.

Vonage wouldn't tell me who they are using to handle the lnp transfers in my area. ("That's confidential information.") But since the area code and prefix of my temporary virtual number is registered to Focal Communications, I called Focal and acted like I already knew they handled lnp for Vonage in my region. Indeed, they confirmed this right away.

I told the Focal rep that SBC said that SBC had never received my request. I asked Focal why they hadn't forwarded my request to SBC. Focal said they couldn't find a record of my request, and suggested that I call Vonage and ask them what happened.

I know that right now Vonage thinks they can keep people in the dark about what is going on with the lnp transfers. However, I think that if enough people started calling the local CLEC's who are handling lnp for Vonage, that this would create some pressure on Vonage to be more forthcoming with information.

Let me go one step further: I think it is outrageous that Vonage tries to conceal the details of the number transfer process. I think they are taking advantage of the fact that they are unregulated. I don't mean to say that the local phone companies are pictures of virtue, but most of the time, the local carriers are willing to truthfully answer simple questions like, "When did you receive my lnp request?" Part of the reason they are more forthcoming than Vonage in situations like this is precisely because they *are* regulated.

Vonage and the other Voip startups want to avoid regulation, but poor customer service will end up building a strong argument *for* regulation.
loswald
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2004 9:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I signed up for Vonage for a number of reasons, but one very important one was that we could keep our numbers. We're a non-profit organization that has had the same numbers for 20 years. On the Vonage website it says that transfers take 15-20 days.

I ordered 3 lines on the same day (October 30), sent the line transfer paperwork on the same day (October 31), but for some reason the lines started getting transferred on different dates. (and well over the 15-20 days). The First line was transferred on 1/5/04, the second on 1/12/04, and the third is STILL going through the motions with no specific date of transfer set.

What this means is that I've been paying for my old phone service as well as Vonage for the past 3 months. I wrote a letter to Vonage customer service asking for a credit on my bill for any time over the 20 days that they specified that it took for each number to be transferred. They said yes and credited my account $58.50 for the 2 lines that have been transferred. This was low by about $25 so I wrote back to them asking for more details. They said that they can only credit me for business days. WHAT?! This makes no sense, so I wrote back to them asking that they credit me for EVERY day that my phones were not connected when they were supposed to be. They wrote back again saying that since they can not make any progress on non-business days, they can not give me a credit for that time. But I paid for the "non-business days regardless, so I wrote back to them saying that I would like someone that has the authority to issue me a credit for the days I paid for, but did not receive service. This is what I got in todays email inbox:

"I do understand how you feel about the transfer process, which is why
we did give you a credit of $58.50. However, we try to allow customers
to understand, when choosing to transfer a number, it takes at least 15- 20 business days, which means that is the least amount of time that it
takes for a transfer to be completed. If you have chosen the option to
take a new number, then you could have canceled your land-line
immediately and saved money. Again, i completely understand how you
feel about the transfer process, unfortunately that is the procedure
and sacrifice that one will take when they chose to have their number
transfered. Please do not hesitate to contact us for any additional
questions/concerns."

I don't know where to go from here. I feel as though this last email is telling me I have to make sacrifices but I feel that the company should have to make sacrifices in order to keep my business, am I wrong?
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dynastar
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Posts: 61

PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2004 3:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Just called the 866 number in the thread above. Someone answered on the second ring!!! And not a computer, or voice prompt thing. I gave them my account number, they put me on hold for about five minutes, and came back and told me that I'd be transferred on the 5th of Feb (they did not specify a year though come to think of it now.... Smile).

Anyhow, call the number, maybe you'll get lucky.

I'll be patient now till the fifth. We'll see what happens.

Later.
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Dan
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2004 9:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Loswald:

The reply you received is classic customer "service" insanity. The part about the need for *you* to make sacrifices is a really weird variation on the blame-the-customer ploy. I've already gone on a long tirade about this, so I will restrain myself here. Let me just point out:

1) No. We haven't agreed to make any personal "sacrifices" in order to get our numbers transferred. Does Vonage think they are the Peace Corps or something?

2) Vonage is playing semantic games with their statements about how long it takes to transfer a number. The FAQ asks, "Why does it take 15 to 20 business days to transfer my number?" This clearly suggests that 20 business days would be the maximum it should take. In the body of the FAQ it says, "Based on our experience it has taken at least 15 to 20 business days from the time we receive your 100% completed documents."

Now Vonage want to take advantage of the ambiguous "at least." The rep who sent you that message is saying, in effect, "We told you the quickest would be 15 days. We never said what the maximum could be. Therefore we are not violating our own guidelines." Right.

3) WHY does it take so long??? The most likely reason is that Vonage is swamped with these requests and can't get to all of them in a timely manner. If that is the problem, why don't they just say so!

Given all the MBA-type studies about customer service, how is it possible that Vonage doesn't know that lying, covering up, and blaming the customer are just losing strategies? Why can't they just say, "We are very sorry but due to the recent rapid increase in requests for number transfer our processing time has increased to 2 or 3 months. We are working hard to correct the problem and will provide updates as they are available."

If there is some other "secret" reason Vonage can't say what the problem is, then perhaps this is a sign they aren't ready yet to offer number portability.

There are a couple other strange and interesting things in the message you received. Consider this gem:
"If you [had] chosen the option to take a new number, then you could have canceled your land-line immediately and saved money." Here once again is the blame-the-customer ploy. But the logic at work is really ironic. Congress mandated number portability because they bought the argument made by telephone competitors and consumers, that even if a competing carrier's rates were lower, if the customer couldn't transfer their number, this would be a deterrent to competition. Now we have Vonage - the competing carrier par excellence - arguing that you should have been satisfied to lose your old number in exchange for Vonage's lower rates.

The strangest part of the message you received is the business about the "sacrifice that one will take when they chose to have their number transferred." It is amazing how much is communicated unconsciously in the words people use to express themselves. The rep wants to say something that he knows he shouldn't, but it is spilling out anyway. What he is saying is this: "Yeah, some of our service really ****. Like all our screw-ups with Number Portability. But what do you expect when you are spending so little money? What you are sacrificing when you chose really cheap rates is high quality customer service. If you want premium customer service, then you should go somewhere else and pay premium rates."

All I will say is that if that is Vonage's philosophy, if that is the dominant thinking within Vonage, then they are going to disappearing faster that the popping of an internet bubble.

Loswald, you asked what you should do. Here's what I would suggest if you have the patience and time. Write a letter to the FCC and your state public utilities commission. Tell them that according to Vonage they transferred your request for number portability to your carrier many many weeks ago and according to Vonage your carrier has not responded. Tell the FCC and the puc that if this is true, it is clearly a violation of the FCC's Local Number Portability rules. Ask the FCC and the puc to investigate. Mention to the FCC that there are many, many people reporting the same story on Vonage's forum and on dslreports.com. Then send a copy of the letter(s) to Jeffery Citron, Vonage's CEO, and ask him if you have the facts right. Also tell him you still want a refund.

By the way, were all 3 numbers in the same area code/exchange?
mikefitz
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Joined: Jan 31, 2004
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2004 12:44 am    Post subject: Any good luck? Reply with quote Back to top

Maybe this is the wrong place to ask, but... has anyone had good or decent luck transferring their home phone number to Vonage?

I'm especially interested in people with experience transferring from SBC in the SF Bay Area, but would like to hear about any positive experiences people have had to date.

Thanks,
/mike
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dynastar
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Joined: Dec 04, 2003
Posts: 61

PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2004 3:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Well finally today, I've gotten the holy grail of emails. Number transfer approved by carrier on Feb 3rd. Nice. So by the 5th I'll be 100% Vonage.

Can you say FINALLY? Smile Ok, so it's really only 18 days past the 20 day window, but that's still double right? But in retrospect it's not that bad I guess.

John
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alect
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Joined: Dec 16, 2003
Posts: 28

PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2004 5:21 pm    Post subject: Righty on Dan Reply with quote Back to top

I agree wholeheartedly with Dan's comments - my thoughts exactly when I received an almost exact email response.

My History

310 area code - POTs - Comcast

Signed up for service Dec 17 2003
Sent in my Authorization for transfer Dec 17 2003
Called in and they said no LOA received
Resent LOA - Dec 23 2003
Transfer sent to Carrier - Jan 2, 2004
Carrier Approved Transfer - Jan 30 2004
Transfer complete - Feb 2 2004

But I had contacted them during Jan as I had called Comcast and they told me they had not received the request to transfer.

I received the "sacrifices" email back from Vonage - including instructions on how virtual numbers work (which I don't need as I understand it completely but it doesn't solve my problem of paying for 2 lines).

Anyway in the end my transfer took just over 20 business days. But I am not sure whether that's because I harassed them during the process - right after the 15 days mark.
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RM
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2004 8:07 pm    Post subject: Re:LNP Reply with quote Back to top

FWIW...

SBC Chicago far W suburban number (847 area code) ported to Vonage in 24 days...
tta
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2004 10:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

alect wrote:

Transfer sent to Carrier - Jan 2, 2004

Is this Carrier the local carrier contracted by Vonage, or is it the current carrier that the customer is trying to get away from ? If it's the carrier contracted by Vonage, does anyone know who that is for area code 630 ?
Dan
Guest





PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2004 12:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

tta:
I could never get Vonage to answer that question clearly. When I really pressed it with someone in the lnp department they said the information was "confidential."

Anyway, if you have the area code and the prefix for your temp virtual number you can find out the clec who owns the number. That is likely the carrier who is handling the lnp for Vonage. There is a really great area code/prefix search tool at
http://www.telcodata.us/
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