How to Cancel Your Vonage Service

Dear Phone Guy: Sorry I Had to be Such a Jackass

As I mentioned yesterday, I cancelled my Vonage VOIP account. What I didn’t mention is that I was an impatient jerk when I did it. I have been reading too much about corporate “retention” programs on the internet, and it made me jumpy.

The most recent story is about a rep from AOL who dragged a client through a patience-shredding script as part of the cancellation process. What made it news was that the client recorded the ridiculous call, and it has since come out that this treatment, in large part, is policy for how AOL deals with any customers who try to leave. A former “retainer” made AOL’s manual available to the public. After going through all this stuff, and reading dozens of other horror stories about trying to cancel services of all kinds, I was ready to go to war to get rid of my Vonage account.

At first, I was talking to Jen, a happy customer service person. Maybe this won’t be so bad. I told her I wanted to cancel my service because I don’t use it anymore. Jen informed me she was forwarding my call to Vonage’s “Account Management” department. Of course, this is industry-speak for dumping you into a pit of vipers who do everything they can to keep you from cancelling. But I wasn’t interested in negotiating, or being up- or down-sold, I just wanted the account cancelled.

The guy who came on the phone never gave his name. He asked me why I wanted to cancel the account.

“Didn’t Jen tell you why? I already explained this to her,” I said. See what I mean? I was ready to rock-and-roll.

“She just said she had you on the line,” he said. Then he started the spiel. “I see you’ve been a customer with us for a long time–”

“Just cancel the account,” I said.

“Tell me why you want to cancel your service,” he said. He was pleasant, but you could hear him readying for a comeback.

“No,” I said. “Just cancel the account.”

“Sir, you have to tell me why you want to cancel.”

“No actually, I don’t,” I said. “I’m the customer, I’m done with your service, and I’m telling you to cancel the account. You don’t need a reason. Cancel the account.”

He was flustered. Rightly so; I was being an asshole as a preemptive strike against his future assholishness. “Sir, have I given you any attitude? Why are you giving me attitude? You have to tell me why you want to cancel.”

Ed’s Note: Josh was tempted to point out that “attitude” requires an adjective to indicate whether it is positive or negative. He did not.

Now I was revved up. It’s a genetic thing, where about once a year, I need to vent on a poor, unsuspecting person in retail. It’s my stress release.

“Get this into your head,” I said, calmly. “I do not need to give you a reason. If your computer system requires a reason, or your company requires a reason, it is the fault of your computer, or your company, and I don’t care. Cancel my account.”

“I need a reason,” he said.

I asked him if he had heard the AOL conversation. He hadn’t. I told him I was recording the call (another neat trick you can do quite easily with Skype and some extra software) in order to add to the growing pile of horrible customer service experiences. He insisted that he still needed a reason. I relented.

“I’m cancelling because it’s raining outside,” I said.

Ed’s Note: It was not raining. But this was probably better than his first inkling, which was “because your mother wears army boots.”

There was a pause. “Because it’s raining outside,” he repeated.

“Yes,” I said. “Do you see how asinine this is? We could be done by now, but you insist on needing information, which you don’t. Cancel the account.”

I heard typing sounds in the background. He was talking to himself, loudly enough so that I could hear: “… customer recording call… giving attitude… refused to provide reason for cancellation…”

At this point I was laughing; I know I contribute to the bad in the universe when I behave this way, but I also like to think that my targets are usually deserving of payback, so in some way I am balancing a scale, true to my Libran nature.

After a brief stint on hold while he finalized the cancellation, he came back, told me it was done, and I politely thanked him and told him to have a great day.

For future reference, if you want to cancel your account quickly, without conflict, and don’t mind lying, your best bet is to tell the service rep that you are moving to a new residence that already has the service. Obviously, not nearly as much fun.

(If you have a doozy of a customer service story, please add it to the comments!)

EDIT: I figured it out! Dilbert is handling Vonage’s tech support!

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  1. #1 by Anonymous - January 18th, 2007 at 05:12

    I would like to hear the recorded call. This was very amusing. I enjoyed it very much. Thanks for sharing. Very entertaining.

    …because its raining… awesome.

    • #2 by yoursinwriting - March 29th, 2009 at 08:30

      It actually turned out that I wasn’t recording the call. TIP: Make sure you know how to use the “record” feature of your phone before attempting to record a call 🙂

  2. #3 by Anonymous - February 1st, 2007 at 19:51

    wow! if u were in the rep’s shoes how wud u feel? he was just doing his job, for crying out loud! no wonder you people have a hard time cancelling services its because of your attitude…i pity you…

  3. #4 by yoursinwriting - February 1st, 2007 at 20:33

    Anonymous #2: You’re right, it was too aggressive. That’s why my subtitle said "Sorry about that." This article is part apology. I could have handled it better.

    However, I think it’s important to make noise about annoying "retention" programs. It should not be hard to cancel. The cancellation question should be "while I process your cancellation, would you like to give us any feedback on how we could have improved our service, or kept you as a customer?" And when I say "no," they say "OK, your account is cancelled. We hope to serve you again someday." I would go back to that kind of a company. No one should have to pass a test to cancel service. No one should have to provide a reason to cancel service. No one should have to waste their time justifying their decision to a retention rep who is hired specifically to prevent them from cancelling.

    Your point about having a hard time cancelling being due to the attitude of "you people" defies the concept of cause and effect. First of all, I hadn’t really given any attitude before the rep started in with the "Tell my why…" stuff, and refused to cancel my account without a reason. Second of all, it is IRRELEVANT how much attitude I give: I am the client. I want my service cancelled. I can be as big a jerk as I want, end of story. If he had just cancelled the service, there would be nothing to discuss, except perhaps the excellent customer service at Vonage.

    And in the end, Vonage made him a liar. He kept saying he needed a reason, but he really DIDN’T need a reason. Shouldn’t we treat liars–especially in business–with a certain amount of hostility?

    Hey… you don’t work for Vonage, do you? Have you been hired to spin/discredit bad press against Vonage?

    You’re right about the poor phone rep, though. Unfortunately, he IS Vonage when he deals with me, so my anger with their policies must be taken out on him. So your pity is better spent on him. Give Vonage customer service a call, ask to cancel an account, and then tell the retention rep that you pity them. I’m sure they’ll appreciate it.

  4. #5 by Anonymous - February 7th, 2007 at 14:53

    Dude, first of it’s illegal to record a call WITHOUT the permission of the Agent. What you did was an illegal act. And you WERE a jerk, you HAVE NO IDEA what goes on in call centers, work at one, then you will know.

    • #6 by attorney - March 18th, 2011 at 07:35

      It is not always illegal to record a call. Some states require two party notification while many only require one party notification. I have canceled Vonage in writing five times. They have refused to cancel. What is illegal is for Vonage to continue to take money out of your account when you have already cancelled the service. Get this through your head, that is called stealing. It is a crime and Vonage is guilty of it. You have every right to be mean nasty and rude to these people and in many states you have no liability when recording the calls.

  5. #7 by yoursinwriting - February 7th, 2007 at 16:01

    Dear Anonymous (why don’t people at least post a first name?!?):

    You’re absolutely right about needing permission before recording a call. But when I call support and I hear the message "This call is being recorded for QA and training purposes," I can assume that the agent– or at least the company– acknowledges the call is (or could be) recorded. So I have the right to make my own copy. I’m sorry that the post made it seem like I was doing it illegally.

    Here’s a question for you: is the agent being a jerk by refusing to cancel my account? Perhaps the larger question is whether Vonage, by extension, is the jerk? Have you seriously considered the incredible disrepect that this retention practice shows to customers? What you’re not acknowledging is that if I had provided my legitimate reason for cancelling, I would have been lured into an ever-expanding script of counter arguments meant to confuse or frustrate me into agreeing to keep my service. Vonage, and all other companies who do this, should be ashamed of themsevles.

    I’ve already admitted that my behaviour was over the top. But really, if you don’t like verbal abuse, don’t work in a call centre that forces you to treat its customers like prisoners.

    I have no doubt that working a call centre is hard. Have you worked in a call centre? If so, please tell me some stories about the experience, and maybe I’ll be able to see this in a different light. But how do you think understanding of the difficulties of the job will make me feel sympathetic? I think I *do* have some idea of what goes on in call centres: the competition, the quotas, the threat of dismissal, the physical discomfort, the annoyed customers, etc. Every job has its difficulties, and I didn’t want these ones, so I don’t work at a call centre. Perhaps if enough people chose not to work in these kinds of call centres, the call centres would have to reevaluate their policies, and treat their customers like human beings.


  6. #8 by Deborah - February 8th, 2007 at 18:57

    I just got off the phone with Vonage. I subscribed to the "service" in Oct 2006, made 8 mins in calls and called to cancel right before moving to another location. I went through the same song and dance but finally told them to just cancel and hung up. It is now Feb 2007 and they have been billing me every month since. When I realized this today, (my husband had taken over bill paying) I called again. I had paid a total of $121 and actually was taking it as a loss being I didn’t notice. First I talked to May who went through the song and finally said fine but I will charge you $40. I told them I was not paying the fee as I had already paid $121 for 8 minutes and to not debit my account for anything and she said ok then, we will continue service and regular billing, is there anything else I can help you with today??. I swear, I talked to May, Russell and John (who told me he refuses to escalate this call any further up the supervisor line!), I spoke with Nicole who was sweet and apologetic but gave me to Felicia who refused to give me Corporate Director info saying I could get it online but "she was not at liberty to give out that info" herself. All these people and they ALL still refuse to cancel my service and insist they are going to debit my account even though I told them if they took one cent I would sue them! What now?? I will continue to call tomorrow (Jeff Citron maybe??) and would love to record these conversations if I knew how. Any advice? P.S. I WAS extremely rude and even came to where I had my voice raised. I do not care about the "poor call center personnel", they certainly did not care about me or my situation and they ought to work for a company with more integrity.

  7. #9 by Anonymous - March 27th, 2007 at 21:00

    You all forget to do one thing after you request to cancel. Cancel the Credit Card they have. Get a new one… new numbers. Send back the Equipment return receipt… Then… you are finished. They do not have the chance to continue charging…. and you document everything. What more can they say!

    Have a great day!

  8. #10 by Fredo Lureni - April 10th, 2007 at 15:25

    Anonymous….sheesh. Get a life, will ya? I have Vonage myself, and I know all about the customer service. I was forewarned, as well. I went to cancel, as my cordless phone went out, and I really only use my cell phone now, so I figured I’d dump Vonage. Well, they sent me a new cordless phone to keep me. Fine, but I still intend to cancel. And all this bullshit about the call center rep? Give me a break, will ya? It’s in India! Vonage doesn’t care enough about me as a customer to get me someone that speaks reasonably good English! If they wanted to make me happy, they’d figure out a way I could use a softphone with my main line, but when I called and asked about that, instead of being pitched the "9.99, add one on" deal, they qouted me another 24.99 a month! Even after I told them that I already HAVE VONAGE!

    Josh is absolutely correct….we don’t need "retention departments", or to be "escalated" to the next level.

    Just service the fucking account, and shut up. You do that, and I’ll keep paying. Deal?


  9. #11 by Tommi Infamous - April 10th, 2007 at 22:07

    well i work for the vonage company. this is truely sad that you would actually feel strongly enough not only to feel as if you were creating some sort of corporate holy war against some random call center employee, but you were actually moved to write a blog about it. its amazing that the most interesting thing that happened to you on this day was calling vonage waiting on hold and really "sticking it to" your account manager. perhaps taking 2 seconds to speak to someone like a human would actually work. start being human and perhaps people will treat you as one. there is nothing wrong,illegal,immoral or pressing about the retention program. some customers simply have issues that can be resolved without cancelation of their account. you are making yourself sound like an asshole by saying "i dont need to give you a reason". you are correct, you dont HAVE to give anyone a reason however why wouldnt vonage or any other company try to resolve issues that their customers are having? wouldnt you want to resolve your customers issues if you ran a business?i know it must be taxing to be a teacher, writer, geek, music,sports enthusiast, and zealot for clear communication in all forms however it is rather impressive that you fit in time to be a pretentious cock sucker.

    Tommi Infamous

  10. #12 by yoursinwriting - April 11th, 2007 at 00:45

    Tommi, thanks for your feedback from the perspective of an actual Vonage employee. Are you a phone rep? If so, there is no reason to feel personally offended– I’m upset with the corporate motive behind you, not you yourself. And I’d hardly call this a "holy war"– this is just a single tiny blog page where I explained what happened, why I did it, and even apologized. Taken in that context, I’m not sure it’s *my* writing that seems overly strong.

    I agree that it is sad that I felt I needed to blog about this, but that sadness reflects on Vonage, and other companies using intimidating retention programs. That sadness comes from being treated like an asset instead of a human being. If you take a second to look around the internet for similar stories, you’ll see that there are literally thousands of people who have taken the time to write down similar experiences. We’ve tried being human, but corporate retention programs have frustrated and demoralized us.

    When you said that retention programs aren’t "wrong, illegal, immoral or pressing," whose perspective were you using? In my case (and, I would offer, in most cases), there was no need to resolve any issues. Therefore, isn’t purposefully try to frustrate, confuse, or otherwise hinder my attempt to cancel my service wrong? Pressing? Rude, at the very least?

    Do you see any irony in taking the time to post a comment telling me it’s sad that I would post about this? Any hypocrisy in telling me that I’m rude, and then finishing by calling me a name? That perhaps you will only inspire more bad blood, and fewer customers, when other folks get here, read my explanation/apology in the comments (you did read that above, right?), and see a purported Vonage employee posting hateful insults? Just something to consider.

    And I left your web site links, because I think it’s gutsy of you to insult a web site owner and then try to get advertising from it, and I like guts.

    I hope your band makes it! Unless you’re really, really liking your job at Vonage, in which case, keep the status quo!

    • #13 by Darrell - May 17th, 2009 at 09:10

      Vonage refused to cancel my account after I spoke with several employees. They tried and tried to offer me better deals and such, and even told me that they were unable to cancel my account at night time. It took me 4 months in total to finally get it canceled. I loved reading your blog about this. I think you handled it perfectly. When a customer wants to leave, they have the right to leave. None of this nonsense should ever take place.

  11. #14 by Anonymous - April 26th, 2007 at 14:44

    Well, I am a VONAGE customer care representative… I’ve been working for vonage.. if you decide to cancel the service just say "because I dont need internet anymore so the vonage phone won’t work". You’ll probably be asked why you dont need Internet.. and this is a gooood answer "For personal and confidential reason and to protect my privacy I cannot answer that question". This answer is good because when you call vonage they always say "for security reasons I need to veryfy your email.. bla bla bla." I am a vonage agents, and to be honest I dont care whether customers wants to cancel account or whaetever I just do it for the money,

  12. #15 by Brian - April 27th, 2007 at 09:18

    I have been with vonage since September of 2005. I barely ever use the phone. When I do, it works fine.

    The router (Linksys wireless needs to be reset about once a week or internet connectivity goes to $hit. I tried the same route as 100,000’s of other users have to fix this …Linksys says its a Vonage’s problem…Vonage says its a Linksys’s problem.??????
    GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE! I gave up the fight for improvement in that area. As long as resetting it regularly works I can live with it.

    When i signed up, you had to stay a customer with them for 1 year, or pay a $3#+ cancellation penalty. According to Wikipedia in Feb of 2007 they changed that to two years, BET YOU $1.00 they try and stick me with that one.

    I haven’t used vonage much because I had to get a number in a town that is 2 1/2 hours away…SUCKS. Vonage reps. told me any time now they would get prefixes (1st 3 #’s in my city)…NEVER HAPPENED! I call and request a progess update. Its about like the Router issues….Runaround, always someone, or some other companies’ fault.

    Well, despite these irritations (I also forgot they raised my bill up to $19 even though I signed up for the $14.95 plan….was $17 but "new fees" added the extra amount).

    On March 7th 2007 I got a cold call from them, asking if I wanted two free months of service on an additional line…with unlimited calling. WHY I DIDN"T SAY R U FUCKING KIDDING ME I WILL NEVER KNOW! But I allowed them to do it, on the stipulation…(((and I used my $14.95 phone recording dongle to tape on a mini cassette recorder))) that I would have zero, no fees no extra charges, no taxes etc. I asked by what day do I need to cancel to avoid any charges what so ever. ANSWER "MAY 7th" makes sense 2 months is 2 months, right?

    Well my april charge from Vonage came and had an extra little somein’ somein’ tacked on. (April 13th 2007). I was pissed. I had never used that extra line I didn’t want the damn thing and I was pissed. I called them and told them that I wanted it refunded… I found the language dialect frustrating! They kept trying to explain to me that the FIRST FREE MONTH WAS FROM MARCH 7th until MARCH 13th and then my second month was from MARCH 13th to APRIL 13th. I explained again & again that that was not correct, that I completely understood what they were telling me, but that they were simply incorrect.

    This is a company that has been happy for my $17 and then $19 for more than 1 1/2 years now and is trying to take me for an extra charge? I asked to speak to her supervisor. I was steaming mad! They put me back on hold for another 10 minutes. I waited, what do I care? 2 More times I spoke with representatives as they passed me around like a reverse hookah (blowing the smoke up me instead of sucking it out)!

    I told them exactly what I was going to do if the didn’t solve my minor complaint their mistake… Cancel my credit card. I asked them to file a report for the extra erroneous incorrectly charged money to be credited back to my account. I told them I wanted a written copy of that request, could they do that?> OH yes sir with in 72 hours… Been a week still no email.

    I am calling back after I finish this rant.
    VONAGE has enough trouble with stocks starting at an Initial Public Offering of $17+ in 2006 now down to sub $4.00 OUCH! They were found guilty (but are appealing a $58 million penalty & 5.5% of all accounts judgement against them for patent infringement (3 out of 6 charges) pay out to Verizon in April 2007.

    Word gets out that if your customer service sucks then THEY SUCK! I am cancelling and going over to sunrocket on the $9.99 200 minute plan to start with.

    Some information to the few Anony’s that piped in the first two responses.
    NO, it is not illegal to record a conversation. EACH STATE HAS IT’S OWN LAWS… SOME STATES HAVE WHAT IS CALLED (1) party consent. So you turn on the tape recorder and you ask yourself do I agree to the taping of this conversation. (I’d answer yes); legality issues SOLVED.

    (Also it isn’t that it is "ILLEGAL" it is that the "Evidence" would be inadmissible … but the two are NOT THE SAME! If there isn’t a law that says you can’t record a phone conversation then it isn’t illegal).

    In other states there are a number of ways to record legally. Its as simple as a beep every 5-10 seconds in some states. Ever been called and heard a beep…your are being recorded w/o YOUR CONSENT, perfectly legal.

    If they require you to call them for example vonage requires you to call to cancel and make some b/s statement that they may be recording you….YOU CAN RECORD THEM!!! There is no expectation of privacy in a company that advises you they may be recording you!

    So "LIGHTEN UP FRANCIS!" Just for you idiots I am going to make the first representative CRY! It’s FRACKING PERSONAL NOW!

  13. #16 by Craig - May 4th, 2007 at 10:24

    Josh – thanks for your information on your blog. What I found interesting were the schmucks who left messages in a defensive manner – especially Tommi (who obviously needs to learn some type of grammar guidelines). That in itself shows the type of people that Vonage brings to its CS department. As far as the "Jail house lawyers" here, telephone recording laws are individualistic in their own right, and state controlled (
    And to the VONAGE customer "care" agent – to give advice to customers on what to say to you is idiotic! Any way – seeing how the patent case is going, that person will soon be on the chopping block. Thanks again Josh for helping me in my decision as it pertains to Vonage!

  14. #17 by Mags - May 9th, 2007 at 02:55

    Funny! I get so annoyed with nosy questions, myself. Usually I cop out and tell them some kind of reason; but I have been tempted to just tear into them like this.

  15. #18 by Jan Wilder - June 19th, 2007 at 08:59

    VONAGE – oh how I wish I had never heard of this company. DO NOT SIGN UP WITH THEM!!!!!!You can get service, but you can NEVER cancel. They just keep charging you after you have called and called and called. And if you are a customer care agent for this company you need to get a new job for an honest company, because THIS company is going to go out of business as a result of their dishonest policies. I have called and called and called and I am still charged. VONAGE in my opinion is NOT an honest viable company…what do you call poeple who keep charging you for a service you have cancelled over and over and over and over? I can think of several things and none of them are nice.

  16. #19 by Anonymous - July 9th, 2007 at 19:48

    I am at work listening to a co-worker 2 cubes down trying in desperation to cancel her Vonage service. She has been on the phone with this nitwit for 45 minutes. Now she is tripped into speaking back to her in broken English "I am obliged to understand your end" to see if she understands. It seems to have worked, but now he’s trying to hit with a cancellation fee. I keep laughing and she things I somehow set this thing up. As a third party observer, I strongly recommend that nobody ever, EVER put themselves in the position of having to speak with anyone at Vonage.

  17. #20 by hardman - August 14th, 2007 at 18:54

    I just cancelled my service. I went through a 4 tiered tree to get there but I only waited about 3 minutes to get an operator. I told her I needed to cancel my account because I no longer have internet where I live so I don’t need the service anymore, I just use a cell phone. She told me that if I referred two friends then I could get 2 months free, I told her I wasn’t interested and she just repeted the save attempt, so I told her that I wasn’t interested in being a salesperson for her company (felt bad, she was nice, but she asked for it). Then she put me on hold for 23 minutes (I timed it) then picked up and told me that my account was closed. Was she just trying to get me to hang up by having me on hold for a long time? Is this their policy?

  18. #21 by Anonymous - August 20th, 2007 at 00:29

    I understand all of your concerns about Vonage. Although I don’t have the service yet, maybe you should check their Terms of Service first before you complain about disconnection fees, automatic billing, etc. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention…?

    As for the reps of Vonage I would say that there might be some bad apples but I’ve already called them a few times to inquire about the service and I’ve yet to experience an unpleasant conversation. Although it is a possibility that that may not be the case when you’re already a customer. Anyways, just please make informed decisions. Thanks. (",)

  19. #22 by Eric Moon - August 25th, 2007 at 22:15

    man F*** VONAGE.
    They do treat you like a king when you sign up and when you dont need a service and try to cancel, they make it impossible. I have alerady talked to 3 different account managers and wrote many emails to their corporate. Is anyone interested in making a boycott group for Vonage? I am very well interested if there isnt one.

    my email is if anyone is interested.

  20. #23 by Anonymous - September 13th, 2007 at 10:26

    I have had residential vonage service for a couple of years and it’s been excellent and cheap – after I removed a bit of fiberglass insulation from my cable tv cabling! I hope they don’t go out of business because they offer a good value/reliability mix to me. No I don’t work or get paid by them in any way for saying this…

  21. #24 by Anonymous - September 26th, 2007 at 11:19



  22. #25 by Vernon Davis - October 18th, 2007 at 14:50

    Never, never , never open an account with vonage i made the mistake of doing that and this is the worst customer service i have ever encountered. i have been trying to cancel my account that was not activated and i have been on the phone for the past six weeks trying to get a refund i have been given every excuse in the book why i have not recieved my refund vonage is a fradulent company that steals money from unsuspecting customers, so please DO NOT OPEN AN ACCOUNT WITH VONAGE. AND JUST TO ADDRESS MR ERICK MOON’S SUGESTION OF A BOYCUT I PERSONALY WILL JOIN YOU SIR IN CHAMPIONING A BOYCUT OF THESE THIEVES

  23. #26 by Anonymous - October 19th, 2007 at 15:50

    VONAGE USES INTIMIDATION BY USING A COLLECTION SERVICE IN WHITE PLAINS, NEW YORK. THEY CALL YOU SEVERAL TIMES A DAY, (AN AUTOMATED CALL, sometimes 6 or 7 times a day). The phone number that you get is from VISION FINANCIAL. It will be 1-866-591-0300.

    Contact the corporate office of Vision Financial in NEW YORK, and bombard them with complaints about harassment, what they do is illegal. The phone number of the collection agency (Vision Financial) is 1-914-220-0800.

  24. #27 by Anonymous - October 29th, 2007 at 04:31

    I’ve been attempting to cancel my account for about 6 months with no luck. Its insane. I transferred my number to a cell phone and haven’t used their service since, yet they still bill me. Thankfully I’ve changed credit cards, so maybe, just maybe they will get the idea.

  25. #28 by Vonage Tech Agent - October 30th, 2007 at 10:03

    thak you for being an asshole, I think you should go to a Vonage call center and try to be an agent for a week, people as soon as you pick up the phone calling you a fucking bastard, and that they are going to sue you. Because, YES, I went in to your account and changes all your audio settings just so you would have to call in and yell at me. Thanks alot jerk

  26. #29 by yoursinwriting - October 30th, 2007 at 16:51

    @Vonage Tech Agent:

    What do you think is more likely?

    a) All people are assholes.
    b) Vonage’s account retention policies are infuriating people to the point where they have no choice but to behave like an asshole to get something fixed, or at least vent some frustration?

    …I’m going with b) personally.

    Again: if you don’t like people abusing you, don’t work for a company that has a formal policy to make its customers angry, and then sets them loose on you.

  27. #30 by Teresa - May 12th, 2008 at 18:49

    I can beat everyone! After a very polite attempt to cancel my service I was told that I could not UNTIL after I paid the $39.00 cancellation fee. Are you kidding me? I am quite used to being billed for a cancellation fee, but to refuse to cancel my account until AFTER I pay the fee…can you say HIJACK? The unfortunate part is that I truly enjoyed the service…I really did move to a location that only has dial up.

  28. #31 by Jose M Pere - December 13th, 2007 at 10:47

    This is a nightmare. I have been trying to cancel Vonage service since Sept. 15,2007. It is December 13,2007 and they are still charging me for a service I stopped using back in Septermber. I have gone through countless calls wher I repeat my story over and over again, but the service apparently is still on. I had been a Vonage user for two years. The accounting department apparently did not disconect my service when I orininally called, after that I never am able to talk to somenone. The last time I called I was kept on hold for 1/2 an hour. I called again told my story over again to someone at customer service and they put me through to accounting and was put on hold for another 45 minutes. I do not know what to do anymore.

  29. #32 by Shirley - March 31st, 2008 at 15:01

    If you are keeping it forever like till you DIE go ahead because Vonage is awful to cancel! Now I will tell the whole world DO NOT GET VONAGE! For what it’s worth I did not have too many problems with Vonage’s phone service. I’ve been with them since July 2005. Well my Cable company got me. I just could not pass a great all in one deal when I see one. So today I call Vonage to CANCEL because the cable guys are coming out tomorrow. It was awful. I even began to lie just so she would help me cancel. First I told her all the info she needed and then the questions came flying! Why do you want to cancel? Because I’m going with the cable company. Why did you go to the cable company? Why this? Why that? Why I ask (myself not her still trying to be nice) does she even need to know this. If I wanted something else I believe I would have called for that not to cancel. So her last question was so why do you really want to cancel? So yes I started to lie to her I said well you see I’m moving to my sisters house and we will be living with her so I don’t need a phone she has one. Then she asked where does she live. Then the s**t hit the fan I said you don’t need to know where she lives. I just want to cancel. Yes I was getting mad. Being honest did not work lying did not work. So my husband was listening on the other phone and I said you can ask my husband WE WANT TO CANCEL. So my husband said WE WANT TO CANCEL. Then she said do you want to transfer your service? It took all I had not to curse or yell at her. But I calmly said I’m not stupid nor dumb if I wanted to transfer the service I would have called and done that. Then my husband said WE WANT TO CANCEL. She says I quote " if you would like to cancel please say cancel. I was thinking to myself are you f**king kidding me? I was at my wits end with this lady. My husband said CANCEL. She knew he was pissed. Finally she said ok your account is now cancelled. Also I cancelled the credit card they have on file for my account. They are not going to treat me like I’m dumb and stupid then steal money from me too. Screw me once shame on you screw me twice shame on me it’s not happening. I will be sure to go to the BBB and let them know also how we were treated. We are not dumb Americans and we do not need to be treated has if we are.. If this is the way some Vonage reps. have to do there job people get a different job. No one could pay me to treat people badly just to keep them.I wish I would have recorded my call. I will not go through that ever again!!

  30. #33 by Anonymous - March 31st, 2008 at 16:28

    On March 27, 2007 this company’s membership in the BBB was revoked by the BBB’s Board of Directors also The BBB processed a total of 7626 complaints about this company in the last 36 months

  31. #34 by Anonymous - February 17th, 2008 at 13:42

    I’m about to start tech support with Vonage in a month or so. I researched the company ahead of time, and I agree there motives are shady. Looking up on, seems the better business bureau revoked their membership due to 7,087 or so complaints! This doesnt account for the thousands that go unreported. Let’s be realistic, not many are knowledged enough to make a bbb complaint.
    I do know for a fact after speaking with techs there, that phone calls do get routed around when one does not know how to deal with it or just don’t want too. 14$hrly paid employees, what can one expect.

  32. #35 by Josh - January 17th, 2008 at 21:46

    To correct a misunderstanding which reared its head early on in this thread, I wanted to mention the facts about recording telephone calls. (For what it’s worth, I’m a federal prosecutor, and I know the relevant federal and state statutes pretty well.) It goes like this: Some states are "two-party notification" states, in which both participants in the phone call must know that they are being recorded; other states are "one-party notification" states, in which it’s enough that just ONE of the call’s participants is aware of the ongoing recording. So, in NY, for instance, if Tom and Jerry are speaking on the phone, it’s OK for anyone at all (even someone other than Tom or Jerry) to record the conversation as long as EITHER Tom or Jerry is aware of the recording. But in PA, for example, both Tom and Jerry would need to be aware. And, for what it’s worth, it’s never a requirement that any party give actual "permission." The question is simply: Is this a one-party or two-party state? If it’s a one-party state, it’s enough that I know that I’m recording the call. If it’s a two-party state, I need to notify — NOTIFY, but not necessarily get "permission" from — the other party. (If he wants to refuse to participate in the recorded call once he’s notified that it’s being recorded, he’s got the option to hang up.)

    As to the actual point being discussed (and, in working my way through school, I did, indeed, spend a few years at a couple of different call centers, so I’ve been on both sides of this): I wonder why the Vonage guy didn’t just say: "I’m happy to cancel your service for you, but if you wouldn’t mind, I’d like very much to know why you want to do so. Is it the price? Is it the service? I can always find a plan to suit you better, and I can fix any service issue you’ve got, but I can only improve our company’s performance if we know where you think we went wrong."

    As a call center rep, I found this approach — which is respectful of the customer and deferential to him/her — to be effective. Very few people refused to answer, and even those who did were at least polite, because they heard that I was treating them in the vein of "the customer is always right."

    And, as a subscriber to a service, I can say that I’d always spend a few minutes with someone polite enough to be respectful of my time.

    But lying about the "need" to have a reason? And having no regard for the fact that — well, let’s face it: the call center dude is getting paid, while I’m wasting my time on the call, right? — I’ve got things to do and want to get off the phone? Not a good way to help the image of the company. Maybe I had just been a guy who was moving overseas for six months and planning to restore service at that point, but now Vonage has created a little fountain of bad-mouth publicity, y’ know?

  33. #36 by Vonage – Just say no! - December 27th, 2007 at 12:26

    Same problem here. I am one of the original subscribers to the service and it did qork quite well for a while. I cancelled months ago and am still being billed. The customer service agent at the time just kept ramblig on about free service and other incentives and oher people who might want my adaptor and leaving the account open at no charge so that i could give it to someone without a singup fee, and on, andon, and on. I said I was not using the service and would not be using the service. He kept rambling. I may have agreed to something by not telling him to simply stop speaking and confirm concisely that their would be no further charges. Whatever I said was definitely qualified with "as long as there are no further charges to the account". There have been charges and these charges are definitely unauthorized. The customer service agent (Amanda) this morning says she can cancel today but not credit what has gone on in the past because the account is still active (although there have been no calls for months). Round, round we go, just say no. If you want to cancell, just say you want to cancell, ask the agent to stop speaking and listen. Then say that you want confirmation that there will be no further charges to your account and that it has been cacelled. If you don’t, you will fall prey to their slimey business practices and the great training provided to their "customer retention" (I’d call them obfuscation) people.
    Vonage – never again.

  34. #37 by Anonymous - January 9th, 2008 at 01:55

    It is not upto the retention agent’s discretion as to who comes our way or not, nor is it the evil Vonage corp. It is whomever you dealt with on the Customer Care side of your phone call. They determine if your reason for leaving the company can be remedied by our help.

    Many times our customers become frustrated due to poor service from one of our vendor installation companies that set them up improperly, or retail stores that sell Vonage products/services who don’t bother understanding the customer’s needs and wind up setting them up with plans or hardware that doesn’t fit their needs. Those people, if they choose to hear us out might still find the value of our service to fit their needs, and wish to stay after we correct their issue, and offer them some compensation.

    Don’t get me wrong, I do understand your point. However, retention agents are a part of us showing that we value keeping you as a customer. You wouldn’t be happy if any of your personal relationships were allowed to fall apart without your significant other making a spirited effort to find a common ground and reconcile. Why should your business relationship be any different.

    I mostly took offense to the "viper-pit" comment tbqh. I mean it’s not like we get on the phone threatening you to remain a customer, or making demands. We sit there, LISTEN to your problems, try our best to make amends for past problems with account credits and reimbursement, and anticipate your future problems as thoroughly as our retail counterparts, and installation contractors should’ve in the first place.

    Yes, fully 1/4 of those who come our way are fully disgruntled. But I would venture a guess that only 1/4th of that 1/4 are leaving because we don’t offer a product of value for them.

    You want to exact some revenge in the corporate world, retention agents are probably the last people deserving of it. We’re generally the most talented sales people within the company. And that talent lies in the fact that unlike retail sales, or customer service reps, we actually LISTEN to your needs, and bother having enough of an understanding of our own service/products to take a common sense approach to the matters, and try our best to prove we’ll go to the mat to keep you. Even though that generally means dealing with very hostile customers, that find us very easy targets of their frustration.

  35. #38 by yoursinwriting - January 8th, 2008 at 12:35

    @Anonymous Vonage Person:

    Thanks for your comment, and your congratulations! While I’ve already addressed my awful mean-spirited behaviour in the comments (and hey, in the article subtitle!) I will happily admit that I was a bastard and I am sorry.

    What’s interesting to me is that you casually mention that dealing with hostility is an everyday part of your job ("7.3 of 10 callers finds those acceptable, even after initially being hostile toward us"), but that most of your reps are "really good guy[s]." Doesn’t this suggest that the problem is systemic? That your company is responsible for you being "underpaid, and WAAAAY over-stressed?"

    From your stats, more than 1 in 4 customers wants to cancel regardless of any incentives to stay. I was obviously one of those people, but Vonage doesn’t trust you to use your discretion as to who might need to be put through your retention script, and who can be allowed to cancel without delay. This is disrespectful not only of the customer, but also of you as a tactful and experienced employee. If I were you, I would be even more upset at Vonage than all of the disgruntled customers who have commented here, and on dozens of other sites on the web!

  36. #39 by Anonymous - January 8th, 2008 at 02:21

    I work as a retention rep for Vonage at their hq office and I have to say, while your method may well have been effective, it was unnecessary. That rep didn’t ask you to sign up for Vonage, and he certainly had no control on whether the service was good for you or not.

    What balance in the world did you bring by putting someone who’s underpaid, and WAAAAAY over-stressed into a rough position? If he had a member from quality assurance listening in on the line, he would recieve a fail for not at least getting basic information from you.

    As a retention agent we’re not there to make your life miserable. We’re there to try and convince you to stay. We offer free months of service, cost reduction, new devices, upgrades. 7.3 of 10 callers finds those acceptable, even after intitially being hostile toward us, so you can’t blame him for at least attempting to find the root cause of your problem.

    Knowing most of the retention deptartment for the U.S., I can tell you that you probably treated a really good guy like crap, for no fault of his own, except he’s busting his ass to afford his rent in an entry level position. Congrats.

  37. #40 by Alois Ballweber - March 12th, 2009 at 00:44

    Used Vonage for almost 6 Years and cannot complain about their VOIP Service however having Cell Phones made the use of VOIP unnecessary for the time being. Cancelling Phone Service with Vonage is just as bad as AOL Hell. My Vonage Phone Service was always paid one month ahead and i expected to keep the service for the remainder of the time/month it is paid for but in order to keep the service i already paid for, Vonage insisted i call them the day before the next monthly service cycle begins claiming this is a Federal Mandate for Customers to call one day before the cancellation date begins or they will bill me again but i insisted it is their job following proper procedure and if they disconnect my VOIP Service at the moment of cancellation i expect them to reimburse me prorated. Well i cancelled my Vonage Service and was disconnected the same moment. Vonage just closed the door to ever have me again as a customer and the same goes for many former Vonage Customers and You folks can take this to the Bank, this is a Class Action in the making. Vonage is just another Corporate Thief stealing from its Customers.

  38. #41 by Sandra - September 5th, 2007 at 14:24

    Vonage is the service from Hell!!! I activated the service 6/21/07. I have a business, and I was told that I could use my 4-line phones, that I could fax from each office and from the computer. I was told that all four offices can use their phones and fax simultaneously. I was also told that if a customer calls our office that all four phones will ring, and if one line is busy, that the calls will rollover to another line. It is now 9/5/07 and I have yet to have any service what so ever. I have called Vonage on several occasions trying to get this resolved. I have had technician after technician come out. Vonage even sent one of theirs out. Guess what, I still don’t have service, but they have no problem billing me monthly for a service I can have. Not only that, for some reason, each phone number is a separate account. Guess what that means, if I try and cancel they will bill me $95.00 for each of those three lines to disconnect. Disconnect a service I don’t have. There has been no activity on those accounts since June 2007!!! The wont credit me any money for non-service. The tech that came out said "Vonage lied to me and I should have not been told I could be provided the service they promised"! I have yet to cancel or have any service. At present, they are sending out the same installation company again to try again. This should be rich!! Anyway, I am interested in getting a class action suit against Vonage. I have learned that the BBB has delisted them because of the unanswered customer complaints. I have heard from many people about this dissatisfaction. If anyone has a surefire way of getting out of this, let me know! They won’t let me cancel, and yet they won’t provide me the service promised.

  39. #42 by raven - August 9th, 2009 at 19:35

    When I recently canceled my Vonage account, I was prepared for them to give me “attitude” about it, so I called and politely told them that I was moving to Africa and would not have internet service. They STILL attempted to hard sell me their service, claiming that they would still save me money.

    I repeatedly explained that it would not be saving me money to pay for service I was unable to EVER use. She kept repeating that I could use Vonage abroad. I had to put on a little bit of attitude, mentioning no fewer than 3 TIMES that I would NOT HAVE INTERNET ACCESS before she stopped the hard- sell and VERY reluctantly agreed to cancel my account.

    I wish I had never gotten their service. The quality is HORRIBLE and it was a total waste of time and money dealing with them.

  40. #43 by raven - August 9th, 2009 at 19:39

    #34, Some of the most talented sales people in the company? GMAB- You read from a script and don’t listen to the customer at all. Most people who DO decide to stay likely do so from sheer frustration at your tactics. That isn’t sales talent- It’s holding customers hostage.

  41. #44 by Rob - July 14th, 2010 at 10:34

    You’re the reason why retail and customer services rep have bad days. You’re just an a**hole.

  42. #45 by Josh - July 14th, 2010 at 16:21

    @Rob: You seem to have some insight into the csr experience. I wish you would have taken a moment to enrich the conversation. Yours in assholery,

  43. #46 by scott renou - September 23rd, 2010 at 13:27

    Vonage is the worst company I have ever dealt with. I set up a business account with them for a business line and fax line for 80$ a month. I then had business cards made up for myself and business partners and my website updated.

    My fax line worked outgoing only. I could not recieve faxes. We tried with vonage to fix the problem for months. I repeated tried my best to problem solve the issues and put up with how long they were taking to fix this. But at 80$ a month for a service that isn’t working you grow tired of that.

    They then told me they couldnt fix the line and needed to give me a new number. I asked what they intended to do about the lost costs of my business cards and month charges for an unusable service. At this point i had been with them for 6 months at 80$ a month and was about 400$ in loss from the fire paper that I now had as cards and their solution was to give me a 40$ credit for a months worth of fax line service.

    I was offended with that and at that point i cancelled my service with them. I called a new provider and they sent notice to vonage to port the numbers. Vonage then continued to charge me for 2 more additional months of service. I spent about 10 hours on the phone trying to get a credit back and then was billed 140$ cancellation fee and asked if I might be interested in keeping vonage as a back up line.

    I hope this company goes bankrupt!

  44. #47 by what does my name mean - December 16th, 2010 at 15:55

    Good read. Thank You.

  45. #48 by Jill - February 6th, 2011 at 18:35

    I cursed out 3 Vonage reps today (only one hung up on me) due to the fact I’ve been trying to cancel my service since November (and back then was in fact told by the rep that my account was canceled). Of course, they are still stealing money from my bank account. At rep #4 I FINALLY got a confirmation number and email and am closing my bank account just to make sure they can’t keep siphoning money out of my account. I don’t like giving people a hard time, but when you mess with my money I have to “go there”. I can’t believe this company is still in business.

  46. #49 by Bredband - February 28th, 2011 at 10:42

    I have Vonage. I called a new provider and they sent notice to vonage to port the numbers. Vonage then continued to charge me. I’m done with Vonage.

  47. #50 by christine crowley - March 15th, 2014 at 14:05

    Is there any way to stop Vonage from taking money out of my checking account? We have not had service with them since 2008..

  48. #51 by Dan - May 12th, 2014 at 08:27

    Hello, thanks for your story. After you finally got them to cancel the service did they keep charging your credit card the months aftewards?

    • #52 by yoursinwriting - July 28th, 2014 at 11:51

      No, there were no more charges. I’d record the call, get the confirmation that it was cancelled, and then keep that evidence to challenge any chequing or credit card charges. These “chargebacks” cost Vonage a lot of money (like, ~$20 per incident) whether they are legitimate or not, so they want to avoid them. If you explain that you will be watching your accounts and refuting any future charges, they may think twice before continuing to charge.

      • #53 by Samiullah - February 20th, 2015 at 18:16

        Well if you find that strange, you souhld have listen to a talk I had with some HP tech support guy.I had a problem in a month old notebook, the screen had some kind of scramble of frequency, also know as can’t see shit due to garble . This phenomenon happened everywere, Windows, Linux, BIOS screen.So I rang HP tech support. The guy who talked to me advised me to reinstall Windows to sort it out. I told him that it couldn’t be a Windows problem cause I had it in BIOS and Linux. That stupid smart-ass stood by his feet that the problem was with Windows all during the conversation, you couldn’t reason with him.Final solutin? Returned the notebook to the HP dealear, wrote a complain letter to HP and went to buy an ACER.Cheers

  49. #54 by Carlos H - December 19th, 2014 at 15:54

    Brilliant! I followed your suggestion and told them that I was moving to a house that already had Vonage. The customer rep went on and on about options, etc – I’m sure that he had a long script he had to read through or he’d be yelled at. I had to tell him that the Vonage plan at the place I was “moving” to was the same as the one as I had. Either way, my Vonage phone service was cancelled in 8 minutes flat and I got an e-mail confirming the cancellation. 🙂 Now I just have to make sure they don’t siphon money out of my account next month.

  50. #55 by Carlos H - December 19th, 2014 at 16:03

    P.S. It was a polite conversation. And I got rid of Vonage simply because I was no longer using it. I have no major complaints about the service itself.

  51. #56 by i Harris - April 18th, 2016 at 12:44

    I have been a vonage customer for a number of years – but i see the end coming.
    all i need is a virtual number in country xyz, and i will go to Magicjack. i can go on vacation with magic jack but very difficult with vonage – as i must use rj45 wired net or another box ie LTE / hotel ip and this requires a call to hotel IT and an explanation why i cant use the hotel phone.
    I am very happy with vonage that i can move a number or line via the web instantly , but not every vonage helper knew this.. in fact they told me no initially, for the most part, i am happy very.
    when it hurt my budget – they adjusted both my services in two countries – and even offered to merge the accounts.
    last big gripe i do not have a US mobile and i cant obtain Vonage software for Android (must be a issue with regulators not vonage) so this is a reason to just go skype…..
    wake up Vonage – get a adapter like Magicjackplus with USB so i have the choice while travelling.

  52. #57 by Garrett Flagg - January 4th, 2017 at 12:50

    My service provider said they could no longer provide service on my Lenovo smart phone so I went on line and found VONAGE which advertised phone service for $9.99/month. I was moving, and had closed my Time Warner Cable account. When VONAGE’s router arrived I discovered I needed internet access to use their phone, which their ad didn’t say I would need. Frustrated, I bought a BLU phone at Target and a refundable$10 Consumer Cellular chip which installed, thereby obtaining phone service onmy BLU smart phone. A month later, I acquired internet service via Earthlink which turned out to be a subsidiary of TWC. Since I had never installed or used VONAGE’s router/service I was under the impression I would that no charges had been incurred. VONAGE’s customer service representative informed me that billing began when I signed up and I would be billed automatically each month regardless of installation or use. My credit card statements showed automatic billings made to my account. I went to my Credit Union and they recommended getting a new card to stop VONAGE’s $24 automated billings for a service that was never installed or used. When I asked to have my account closed, I was referred instead to an international phone number and that I would have to wait 30 minutes or more to talk to a representative. I saw this as a ploy to get my phone number and be subjected to endless harassment calls. I still get annoying emails about paying for a service I never used. I am retired, on limited income, and don’t need two phones.

  53. #58 by Deb Davis - August 13th, 2018 at 06:56

    I have been getting a notice from Vonage on my email regarding a Payment Alert from their Customer Care. It is not to my proper name as it is spelled incorrectly and the middle initial is also incorrect. I do not have nor have I ever had a Vonage account. They list an account number and say that I owe them $18.39. Is this a scam? Should I just disregard this email or call the Account Management phone number given and ask for the fraud department and explain to them? I almost hate to contact them at all about this after reading all of the horror stories! Thanks so much for any response!

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