: Telephone Service Review: Vonage
I am currently wanting to do an article on Broadband telephony providers and I would like to get feedback from users of the Vonage service. (please no employees or user of other services)
I am only interested in objective feedback (not rants) that discuss the pros and cons of Vonages.
Be sure to let us know how long you've used the service and any other services you may have tried.
One post per member, this thread is not for discussion just everyone's opinion.
2006-08-31, 04:42 PM
I am moderately pleased with the service, although I do have some reservations about recommending it to others. I don't think this is a rant.
We have used Vonage since July 2005 and used Vonage exclusively since August 2006.
First is the quality of service. At times things are fine, but at other times we have had problems that are simply unacceptable. For example, on several days over a period of a couple of weeks outgoing calls would connect, and we could hear the other person, but the other person could not hear us. This is fundamentally unacceptable.
At other times we have unacceptable levels of echoing. People sometimes ask where we are calling from, if we are using a cel phone, or if we are having problems with our telephone line.
We have had occasions when people have reported they have been unable to call us.
Second is the delay of customer support. Emails have gone days before a response. About 9:00 PM (Pacific) yesterday when I telephoned for support the waiting time was estimated to be 15 minutes. There was no "call back" service as Shaw offers. I didn't bother waiting on hold for 15 minutes on my mobile phone.
Third is the quality of customer support. I have documented to Vonage that my calls from Vancouver Island to Vancouver (about 30 km) are being routed via Colorado to Chicago and New York with delays enroute, they are declining to reroute our calls to the nearer Los Angeles switching. I think that for Vonage to have useful service in Western Canada they ought to have and use switching facilities closer to the service location.
Fourth there is an inherent difficulty with the Vonage technology. My telephoning last night was because I had been unable to reach my home telephone number for several hours. When I finally contacted customer support, they said that my carrier had been dropped. The only solution was to unplug the DSL modem to reset the IP address. The CSR suggested I phone my wife and have her do that.
Of course, the problem is that I can't phone my wife because the Vonage line isn't working. We recently dropped our landline and went to dry DSL in favour of Vonage. The CSR seemed a bit perplexed at the idea that we had neither a landline nor two mobile phones in case of this eventuality.
Having said all of this, there are times when the quality of the voice line is within the acceptable range for us.
The cost savings are also significant. We spend probably several hours each week on long distance calls within BC and having a Vancouver area code number means that friends and relatives in Vancouver can call us any time without having to pay long distance charges. (It does raise eyebrows locally when we give out our telephone number and people assume we live in Vancouver.)
We never use all of the time that is included in our account. At times I wish we made more long distance calls, but then I remember that I hate talking on the phone. :)
2006-09-01, 06:54 AM
I've had Vonage for the last two years.
I've also had problems sometimes with Echo in the conversations and alot of problems with the Wife Acceptance Factor.
Some dropped calls as well at cetrain times.
I still love the extra features and call forwarding when the internet was down.
I went to call to disconnect and was cut off after being on hold for 8 to 10 times.
Lets just say I wasn't a happy camper after that. So I'm not very impressed with their customer service.
They also gave me direct phone numbers to call to cancel which I couldn't even phone from my landline.
If the echo problems were fixed I might have stayed with them, but I think thats what the problem was with the Wife acceptance factor.
I could live with some of the problems, but guess who won out.
I've given up and went back to Distributel.
For the same $20, I now get unlimited calling US and Canada just like vonage and I've added reverse calling for a few bucks more and I'm back on landline.
I was basically using my Vonage line for Long distance calls.
I'm much happier with Distributel and NO more NAGGING WIFE !
2006-09-02, 10:02 AM
I have used Vonage exclusively since March 2005. There was many problems the first month or two. I could call someone i could hear them, they could not here me. Sometimes really bad echoing, or they could here voices or some kind of interference on their end.
Call display, well the name on it still to this day rarely works. Out of 5000 calls i maybe seen a name to the number 3 times..
Customer service is horrible, tech support is worse. If you have a major problem a email will be a thorn in your side. I have seen it sometimes take up too a month for a response. As for tech support, they are pretty much useless most of the time.. If they use the line they will call you back. They NEVER DO!
That is their way of getting rid of you, and going back on the hold game to call them again.
If you do send a email for help demand Tier 2 or 3 Tech support, as you move up to someone that has a idea of problems you might have.
Overall voice quality now is 90% with a occasional hiccup, local prefixes. If your like me an live in Manitoba we have been stuck with one useless Winnipeg prefix for all of Manitoba. Unacceptable!! I Don't live in Winnipeg. I am in a city 2 hours west!
I now can contact people very high up in the company so i have no need for tech support or email support. I have personal email addresses of people very high up so my issues are resolved with 2 hours max.
Overall Vonage is alot better sound quality wise than it was a year ago, and is finally fixing 800,888 dialing. I have gotten 6 months free total for various complaints. Try getting that with your local pots!
Overall i give Vonage Canada 8/10.
They need to have a canada switching station instead of routing calls to the USA and back to canada. Fix call display issues once and for all. Do a massive local prefix layout threw out Canada, not just BC, AB, and ON. An solve the toll free dialing, saying the number can't be reached. But usually after 3 or 4 tries your call would go threw.
It is not quite main stream yet but they are getting there!
2006-09-02, 04:49 PM
I live in Montreal, but have a US vonage account I use for my small business. I signed up for Vonage business in January 2005, and removed all my other lines in April 2005, making it almost 18 months using Vonage exclusively. I timed it so that Vonage shipped the phone router to my US business address when I was in the US, then brought it back with me. At first I was concerned about portability and customer service issues (US account in Canada), but it is a non-issue; in fact, sometimes it's quite handy!
The pros are dramatic cost savings, loads of standards features and several cool features. The cons are intermittent quality (the echo problem) and connection problems, as well as the odd spike here or there or nearly unusable service (very rare).
Overall, the cost savings is by far the best part - by going with Vonage and adding a virtual number, I was able to drop my monthly phone fees by almost 75%; I'm paying about 25% what I used to, compared to having a US business line and a 2nd line at home and long distance fees. It also makes 3-way calling stress-free since both parties are almost alway long distance, and I never have to worry about costs. Since I run my business from home, my wife and I also use the line for our personal long distance calls (now that UK/Europe is included for free, and with a virtual UK number, I feel next door to my relatives in the UK). So our home landline has zero long distance charges, although Bell's basic service is still expensive. We also got a free fax number which we use as an alternate number, so we picked an exchange so that my wife's family can call us free too.
The caller ID works almost 100% of the time for me, as does voicemail, 3-way calling, etc. Having voice messages emailed to me as a WAV file is really nice, especially when travelling, as is the simultaneous ring, which goes to my cel phone in case I'm expecting a call but need to head out.
On the down side especially earlier on, the service oftentimes had a noticeable echo - sometimes unusably so, most oftentimes just a minor annoyance. For informal calls, a redial would fix the problem. I never had a client or customer complain, many people are probably so used to overseas support calls by now anyways. I also suffer like most where maybe 3-4% of the calls don't connect through properly - I can hear one end only, or vice versa. These are annoying, and require redialing again. Not sure why this would be, but I never have this problem calling or receiving calls from US numbers; it's only calls in Canada (cel phones in particular) that seem dicey.
The worst part of the service is where once in a while there will be a 1-2 day cycle where it seems that many calls are dropped mid-call; these are horrible, because there's a difference between not connecting properly at the start and re-dialing, vs. being cut off right in the middle of a call - in my opinion, that is inexcusable, and that's the sort of thing that can really annoy clients or customers. It was really bad about a week ago, but seems to have been fixed since then.
On the plus side, there are a few bonuses to having a US phone in Canada - I can use 800/888 toll-free US numbers; if I ever chose to (won't admit to anything in public), I can participate in US reality show call-in numbers; and the pricing is better for the US service.
I've only had to call in to customer service 2 or 3 times, always for quality of service. I've never had long waits, and they did always call back immediately to test the status of the phone; not sure if it's because I'm calling US support, but certainly no bad experiences yet. Probably the worst aspect was waiting for my original carrier to transfer over the number, which took a long time; this wasn't Vonage's fault, but Vonage did set unrealistic expectations for me.
I'm still not convinced voip (or at least Vonage for sure) is a suitable replacement for all landlines. For home use, I'd have to say that unless you're making tons of long distance calls, saving $10 or so might not be worth the headache of dropped/disconnected calls and call quality. But in my case, I'm saving well over $100 per month, and with 1-2 problems per month, the math is worth it.
I have absolutely no vested interest in Vonage, and was lucky enough to avoid their whole friends and family pre-IPO fiasco. IMO, this was the worst thing Vonage has done to date...
Overall, it's been worth it for me, and I'd rate just under extremely positive; the troubles with calls can be very annoying, but my expectation wasn't super high to begin with. And for the amount of money I'm saving, I'm actually willing to put up with more than I would have thought.
2006-09-04, 12:41 AM
I have been with Vonage since March of 2004. I was fed up with my huge Bell phone bills. I was paying ~$110 per month for phone service due to the long distance calling. However, ~50% of that charge was just for local phone service with voicemail, call waiting and caller id. I decided to try Vonage, and keep my Bell service for a period of 30 days. If I did not like the quality of Vonage, I would return it and keep Bell. If I liked Vonage, I would have my Bell line disconnected. I could not believe how easy the Vonage ATA was to setup. I was sure that I would never get a dial tone, but low and behold I picked up my receiver after plugging everything in and turning on the power and voilą! A dial tone! After using Vonage for a period of 1 week I was convinced I could get rid of my Bell POTS line. In fact, I could not get rid of them fast enough. Over the years I have remained a Vonage customer. I have had no problems with audio quality. I have traveled to Florida, Vancouver, Halifax, Montreal, Boston and Chicago with my ATA and it worked great in every city. During power failures my phone system will still work for up to 80 minutes due to a UPS that I have purchased. I fully recommend Vonage and am so happy that they came along. They have most certainly given Ma Bell a run for her money. Competition is always good. This technology is evolving so fast. I'm quite excited to see what will happen next.
I am thinking of moving to a new home on the other side of the city by the end of this year. When I do that, I have one less bill to pay for hook-up. Phone service in Ottawa costs over $100 to install. Even if the lines are already connected to your home, Bell will charge dearly to flip a switch to turn the line on. With Vonage, I have no worries about this. I also don't have to worry about losing my number. I can keep my same number which is not always possible with POTS.
The only negative comment I might make is that they could offer a few more calling features, such as "Do Not Disturb" and a type of "Remote Phone" service.
So far, I have saved more than $3,000 since March 2004 due to switching. Isn't that something? THANK YOU VONAGE.
2006-10-18, 12:49 PM
I was a Vonage customer for more than one year, and in the same time a customer to a European VoIP company having a European phone number.
First I want to say a few things about my experience being a Vonage customer:
The audio quality is as good as your internet connection. I had cable 2Mb/s download, 280kb/s upload. Very good quality with others Vonage customers, generally good and sometimes some echo with other landlines. My problem begins when I start running file transfer applications on my PC (ftp & http servers). When someone was downloading a file from my server during a phone call or I was sending e-mails with large attachments (pictures) the audio quality was affected: I was able to hear as before but the other party was not able to understand what I was saying (my upload). Nothing strange until now, but the thing is that I had the second VoIP provider and with that provider I was able to talk on the phone while file transfer was in progress. That looked to me like a difference in settings between the adapters (same hardware). I tried choosing different band settings on my web account at Vonage, call technical support (bad and incompetent). I could not access my Vonage device because that is against their policy (they keep them locked from the user), so not only that they did not let me try to solve the problem myself, but they were not able to solve the problem themselves! My advice is that anyone in the same situation should consider having a traffic limiter program installed on the PC or/and a router with Qos.
Second I think we have everywhere comparison between old classic phone service and Vonage while I think we should compare old classic phone service with VoIP phone service, then compare all VoIP providers -including Vonage. I see all those people saying with Vonage I can do this, with Vonage I can do that. That is no big deal, all VoIP providers can do this and that, generally at the lower price or offer more services at the same price. Vonage is making more advertising (finally I think the Vonage users are paying for that cost too), and they are at TV and in every store; probably a user need to have a problem to start looking and find out about other providers. To me, the transition from Vonage to other providers was like others describe the transition from old phone company to Vonage: I am paying less, I am having more features and I am in control of them. There is no disconnect fee, I do not have to pay extra for a soft phone, I set my adapter so I can receive (free for them) phone calls from others phone networks or from anyone having a computer connected to the internet, I can bridge phone calls at no forwarding cost, use an asterisk server... So I think every user should consider first switching to VoIP service: Pros: Less expensive, more features: Cons: Dependent of internet connection, sometimes affected by power failures (I have a UPS and if power failure does not affect the internet provider I still have phone service). Then every user should select the VoIP provider that is best for his situation: considering to who or what country they place/receive calls to/from. Even users who want to keep the land line can choose the lowest plan for that line and have a zero monthly plan (if you do not talk then you pay nothing) for the VoIP line and use that for long distance calls or for free calls with someone else (family or friend) having a VoIP adapter or a computer.
2007-01-09, 04:24 PM
We have been with Vonage since our move nearly two years ago. Apart from some initial problems with caller id (no name displaying) and times when you could hear the other person but they couldn't hear you (all were cleared up within the first 3-4 months) we've been very happy with the service.
We do experience the occasional call that has the echoing problem, but that only happens on maybe 10% of the calls. A few billing issues around credits were quickly and easily resolved and there have even been months were we've received credits we weren't expecting (usually $5).
With our bill being about 1/3 of what it was when we were with Bell or Sprint (and they weren't problem free either!), with many more features, we're very happy.
2007-06-23, 08:44 PM
I've been with Vonage for over a year when YAK terminated all their customers. I had been very happy with YAK no problems at all just a few billing issues but then they dumped us.
Vonage is great when it is good and horrid when it is bad. Unfortunately there have been far more bad days then good. We get dropped calls, echo, no dial out or in. Vonage is my primary phone number so I had to get a cel number for all the outages we have had with Vonage. It I hadn't bought all this equipment for Vonage and changed my number again I would switch but I am hoping they will get their act together and fix the problems.
Its been not too bad this past few weeks however I'm on Shaw and we have had quite a number of service outages this past week, but that is shaws problem not Vonage.
I say you get what you pay for, if you want a cheap phone under $25.00 for 500 minutes outgoing calls then you can't beat the price but be prepared for bad reception and service outages, if I could get the same services and minutes of long distance for the same price through a landline I would switch back in a heartbeat.
Edited to add.....
In trying to fix these problems I have spent countless hours on the phone with Vonage customer service as well with tech support, sending e-mails back and forth as well when I can't make calls out, only to be told to call customer service, that was priceless! They have switch my phone line from the modem to line 2 instead of line 1 and this has helped decrease the amount of echo's. The dropped calls still happen though. We have also bought new phones, cordless, better quality phone higher GHZ to 5.8., tried using wired phones as well. But this too has done nothing to fix the problem. We also ran new telephone line and new cable lines to the modem to help but this didn't help either. I think I'm just stuck with poor quality phone for a GREAT price.
2008-08-27, 11:03 AM
I tried Vonage for one year with absolutely horrible service and they seem to NEVER keep track of anything. Echo's, replaces phones, routers, didn't matter same issue. Then charge you to cancel. I have spent so many hours on the phone with them, I can't even tell you. Don't use them!
I switched to shaw digital, but it now actually works.
When I first got vonage I had problems because my router was rebooting. Since then I have had ZERO issues with them. The clarity is on par or better than the pots line I had with Bell. Occasionally the bell line had some type of noise.
For home use. It is perfect and great price.
2008-08-27, 08:54 PM
Worst phone service ever.
I had them for just over a year and feared every time I had to use it.
It never ever worked correctly for fax machines.
I have since replaced it with a TalkSwitch and use BabyTel service. Love it. Everything works, and I also now use IP phones for my home and business.
Been using them for four years without a problem. Very happy with the service.
2010-04-15, 09:42 AM
I got a Vonage line for my daughter who moved out of town to go to university almost 3 years ago. I got her a local number and got another adapter for myself so we can talk "toll free". They both have been working great with no problems except when there was some problem with my home network or the internet service. Occasionally there will be some echo or poor sound quality, but really not much of a problem. Overall I have been very happy.
2010-06-29, 01:55 AM
We've been with Vonage for several years also and are very happy. When we first started there were random echo/bad quality calls but in the last few years it's been crystal clear and 100% reliable, never know we were on VOIP as opposed to landline. A feature I really like is when the internet/power goes out you can set up all calls to go to your cell... very handy. I set up automatic billing to my credit card and haven't had to contact them in 3 years or so!
2010-06-30, 08:12 PM
(Firstly, thank you Hugh for managing such a consumer-useful site.)
Vonage Tech Support: prompt answering, on time, knowledegable, mostly clear English accents, high quality & intelligent, friendly tones. Phoned again within a day to check all was well.
DEVICE: with LED window, we can review without being on line. Good box to protect attractive black & orange unit, which I carry around with me to various Canadian & international cities, by plane & auto & train & bus.
SOUND: mostly clear, instant on when reconnecting. Sometimes echo & intermittent.
FAX: 2 or 3 different tech supporters showed superior assistance & knowledge to Primus & the fax units I use (Canon & Brother). Of course, much better than Bell. Fax still not reliable, yet more sure than fax on Primus or my former Bell (ugh). Once settings are per Vonage's guidance (Primus advice was negligible), sending on Vonage or Primus usually works, receiving is more suspect with both.
PRICING: half my former MTS in Manitoba bill, for more services & usefullness, e.g. emailed voicemails.
WEBSITE: really well laid out, comprehensive.
SUMMARY: I shall recommend only Vonage & will change from Primus on my business line within 2 years when latter will no longer charge me $200 to leave them.
2012-01-02, 02:40 PM
Please beware of vonage...
they keep charging to my credit card even after I requested to cancel the service and refused to credit the money...
Customer service is the worst in the industry...
Quality of service is also very poor..always had echo...
2012-01-09, 07:28 PM
Switched from a Telus land line to Vonage about 4 years ago, to save $30/mo. We have the occasional problem, but some of those are attributable to the internet feed. I've had good customer service, and have added and removed services (including fax) without a hitch. I added a UPS to the phone set up, and usually have service through power outages now too.
I'd do it again.