Vonage: How To Make Your Customers Disloyal

It is very rare that I have an experience that ends in such utter failure as the one I just had with Vonage.

I signed up for Vonage two years ago, liking the idea of getting a phone line that was less expensive than the landline offered by my local phone company and not quite ready to dump our phones for cell phones. But over the past two years, our need for a home phone became less and less, getting to the point where all of our time spent on the phone could easily be done within the cell minutes.

Unlike others on the web, I had a few connection issues but always had a good experience when calling their support or using their systems. The problem didn’t arise until I tried to cancel. The word deceptive practices is an understatement.

So I called two months ago to cancel, waited on the phone a short time for a representative. When he came on, he told me he could handle that for me, no problem. He politely offered a few options to keep me on, as I’d expect. No company likes losing a customer and they were actually good deals. He offered to cut my bill in half for a year, for example. But when I politely said no, he said he’d have the phone disconnected on December 3, giving me the interim time free in case I wanted to change my mind.

I confirmed all this, got a confirmation number and hung up, thinking I’d been taken care of.

December 3 came and went. We still had a dial tone. December 4 came and went. Still had a dial tone. December 5 I called to find out what was going on.

The first person looked at my account and immediately transferred me to a manager. The manager was cordial, apologized for the mis-communication and explained to me that by accepting the free month, they required me to call back again to disconnect! News to me, as I would not have accepted the free month if that was the case. She immediately disconnected the number, gave me a refund for the month (although she still charged me $.90 or so, which I can only assume was the 1-day fee for the month) and sent me on my way.

I don’t mind having to jump through a hoop to disconnect by making the phone call. Nor do I mind that they spend a bunch of my time trying to get me to stay on. What I do mind, though, is the deception. The key to customer satisfaction is pretty simple, I think. Say what you’re going to do, do it, then tell them it’s done.

Now, Vonage lost me. (And apparently I’m not alone.) If I ever need a home or business number again, it sure won’t be with them. And before, when I recommended them to friends and associates, now I’m telling everyone who reads my blog — thousands of people every month — not to touch them with a ten foot pole.

One thought on “Vonage: How To Make Your Customers Disloyal

  1. Vonage has a dead business model anyway. If someone else is selling your same product/service for free (skype), you’ll have a hard time making money yourself.

    Long distance is a commodity, and it won’t be long before vonage has to close its doors for good. Ten years ago, we were paying $0.10 per minute long distance and about $1 international. Today, we pay pennies.

    Vonage’s days were numbered before it opened its doors. I think it’s desperation that breeds deception.

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