2009-06-07 dialogue with Vonage

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Preface

This message was sent regarding the Vonage phone for vbz.net, which I officially decided doesn't need a phone for now at least.

notes

I linked to this page from a comment on a discussion about difficulties getting Vonage to accept a fax message to cancel an account.

Dialogue

to Vonage

I would like to cancel my service, as I haven't been using it for many months now. Do you need the phone adapter returned, and if so to what address should I send it? Thank you!

from Vonage

Dear Nick Staddon,

Thank you for contacting Vonage, the award winning digital phone service!

I understand you would like to cancel your account.

We are sorry to hear that you wish to cancel your account. We value your business and would like to address any concerns you may have regarding our service. Therefore, please let us know your issue so that we may address it before canceling your account.

We have received your cancellation request. Our security policy prevents us from processing cancellation requests received through email. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Please call our Account Management at the Toll Free number given at the end. Our Account Management Department is available to assist you Monday - Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. EST. Speaking to a live agent enables us to quickly validate the account owner, review the request and make a final determination.

Since you are long term customer, there is no need to return your Vonage phone adapter. Moreover, you will not be charged for it.

If you have any questions, your Vonage team is available to assist you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact us whenever and however it suits you!

If you call us for Technical Support, in order for our highly trained specialists to successfully assist you, it is highly recommended that you are near the Vonage phone adapter you are calling about and in the location you intend to use your Vonage service.

Thanks again for choosing Vonage, a better phone service for less!

Sincerely,

Sasi
Vonage Customer Care

to Vonage

Thank you for your response.

I would really rather not do this over the phone, for a number of reasons.

If you will give me a mailing address for correspondence, I will be happy to mail my cancellation request there via the post office.

I have not been unhappy with the service -- and indeed, we still have two additional Vonage lines under a separate account -- it is just that I no longer need this particular line. My main unhappiness at this time is that I cannot cancel service via the web site.

Thank you,

from Vonage

Dear Nick Staddon,

I understand that you would like to cancel your account.

Nick, I apologize for any inconvenience but as previously communicated we are unable to process cancellation requests through email. Cancellation requests require a phone call to our Account Management Department. In order to handle your cancellation request, we need to verbally verify the owner of the account. This is to prevent another person from terminating your account without your knowledge.

All requests to disconnect service without speaking with an Account Management Representative via telephone cannot be processed or considered an official cancellation request. Hence I request you to call our Account Management Department.

If you have any questions, your Vonage team is available to assist you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact us whenever and however it suits you!

If you call us for Technical Support, in order for our highly trained specialists to successfully assist you, it is highly recommended that you are near the Vonage phone adapter you are calling about and in the location you intend to use your Vonage service.

Thanks again for choosing Vonage, a better phone service for less!

Sincerely,

Sunil
Vonage Customer Care

to Vonage

Sent to Vonage's dispute arbitration address as given here, 2009-06-08 14:43

I seem to be having a disagreement with your customer service department about acceptable ways of terminating a business arrangement.

I wish to cancel one of my accounts with Vonage (account #[redacted]), but so far your customer service department has refused to do so, insisting that I must call them.

I do see in the Vonage Terms of Service where you require that termination must be made via phone call, but it seems to me that you are legally required to accept a notice of termination in writing -- especially since I apparently do not need to return any equipment (according to your representative).

In any case, whether or not you can make a legal case that I cannot terminate in writing, it seems to me that enforcing this requirement would be very bad customer relations. One of Vonage's main selling points is that it gives the customer far more control over their phone service. Indeed, this fact figured heavily in our decision to switch both of our Verizon landlines to Vonage (under a different account, which we do not need to terminate at this time).

Preventing the customer from exercising the ultimate control over their service -- i.e. cancellation -- belies and undercuts much of the promise of that flexibility, and presents future potential customers with the fear of being "sucked in" to an arrangement from which it may be very difficult to escape (nobody likes dealing with phone trees or waiting on hold), in much the same way that Verizon makes it difficult for their customers to escape by taking away certain elements of control over their account.

If you want to be more like Verizon, that's your decision as a company -- but I will be rather less enthusiastic about continuing to endorse Vonage if that turns out to be the case.

Please let me know whether this email is acceptable as a substitute for a mailed termination; if not, I will be happy to mail a signed termination letter via the post office.

Thank you,

from Vonage - automated

Thank you for submitting your Notice of Dispute to Vonage. We apologize if you have been dissatisfied with our services thus far, but appreciate the opportunity to address your complaint. Pursuant to section 14.3 of our Terms of Service, please allow Vonage up to thirty (30) days to resolve your dispute. Your issue will be assigned to an Escalation Manager, who will respond to your complaint shortly.

With Regards,

Vonage

from Vonage, 6/9

Dear Nick Staddon,

I understand that you have an issue that requires immediate attention. I apologize for the delays you have experienced. Your issue has been escalated to the Executive Response Team and I will personally assist you in this matter.

I understand you are requesting to disconnect your account. I attempted to contact you today in regards to your request. For security purposes, we require verbal confirmation in order to disconnect your account. I apologize you are dissatisfied however we must have a verbal confirmation. You may give me a call at the number provided below in order to confirm disconnection.

We look forward to your reply.


Sincerely,

Sultan Burch
Executive Response Team

to Vonage, 6/10

Why must you have a verbal confirmation? If it is a security matter, as your customer service representative stated, then please explain to me how a verbal confirmation is more secure than a written and signed request.

Thank you,

from Vonage

Dear Nick Staddon,

Please email your request to disconnect your account from the email address listed on the account. Also, please forward any additional information that will help verify your identity relating to the account in order to honor your request.

Sincerely,

to Vonage

This email should come through with a return address of "vonage-2014-10-25-00:33-spam@hypertwinsspam.org". (Note that my sending with that return address is *not* a verification that I own that address; what verifies it is if you send something to that address and I respond to it -- which is something you could have initiated. This is not a problem; I'm just pointing it out.) Please let me know if it does not, and I will double-check the configuration of my email application.

I normally do not use this address for sending email; most addresses at hypertwins.org are forwarded via a "catch-all" to my real POP3 account. You can check the whois for hypertwins.org to verify this; it is registered to my home address, which is the same as the credit card billing address.

To repeat the request, per your instructions:

Please discontinue service on this account (#1002095554) and discontinue billing my credit card. I recently updated the billing information on this account to a Visa ending in 0027-8467, expires 11/11.

I can send you a scan of my driver's license or credit card, if that will help.

Thank you,

Nick Staddon
122 Pinecrest Rd.
Durham, NC 27705

notes

I wish I hadn't had to mention the whole thing with the email domain's mailing address, because it's not something that most other people trying to cancel their accounts would be able to say -- but on the other hand, most other people would probably be using the same email address for everything, so the question wouldn't have come up.

from Vonage, 6/12

Dear Nick Staddon,

Per your request, your account has been disconnected. Once again, I apologize for the inconvenience this has caused you.

Please contact me if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Sultan Burch
Executive Response Team

from Vonage

Dear Nick Staddon,

We are sorry to lose you as a Vonage customer and have cancelled your account, as requested.

IMPORTANT:
Your Vonage account number [redacted] has been deactivated. You will still have access to your Vonage call and billing history via your Online Account for up to 90 days after this cancellation. The account will not be active. But, you can still view your account information.

Thank you for your business and we hope to welcome you back as a Vonage customer in the near future. Vonage is continuously making improvements and enhancements to our service - such as new innovative features and expanded coverage areas.

SAVING MONEY EVEN IF YOU'RE NOT A VONAGE CUSTOMER
And remember, you can still call your friends and family who are Vonage customers by using V-Access. V-Access enables you to make calls to any Vonage phone number or 800 number, without paying for long distance or international fees.* Currently available in Canada, France, Italy, Mexico, Spain, the UK and US. For a list of V-Access numbers, just visit http://www.vonage.com.

This email was sent from a mailbox that does not accept replies. To send us an email, please visit our Contact Us page.

If you should require a change in your phone service in the future, or your needs change, please consider Vonage and visit us at http://www.vonage.com or contact Customer Care at 1-VONAGE-HELP (1-866-243-4357).

Sincerely,
Vonage Customer Care

*Local calling area varies by provider and calling plan chosen. Please check with your local telephone company to see if charges for calls to your closest V-Access number apply.