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Flat out False Advertising by VoIP provider??

Posted on 2004-09-30
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Last Modified: 2010-04-12
   I just signed up for my 2nd line of service (*?!?*!??) with a VoIP provider that is absolutely flat out falsly stating that my 1st choice in 'rate centers' is still available even 10 days after I recieved my DTA Adapter, had it activated, only to find out that my 1st choice in rate centers was 'sold out'
   So I was forced to accept my 2nd choice
      After using it for a week I decided to try another line of service since my 1st choice in rate centers was again (or should I say still) listed as "Available" on the co's web site
    I decided to play it safe and call the VoIP provider and ask if my preffered rate center was 'actually' available - Of course it wasen't - but I was guarenteed that my 2nd choice was still available - so I 'took the bait' again
     And low and behold when my 2nd DTA adaptor arrived - I activated it and guess what - my 2nd choice rate center was NOT available and if I wanted to keep the line I had to actually choose a 3rd prefference - to replace the 2nd choice rate center that a live phone call to the VoIP provider assured my of recieving  - which was replacing the 1st choice that is still listed along with my 2nd choice TO THIS DAY on the web site of the provider as being AVAILABLE
    Sorry if this is getting complicated or monotonous but this provider is making customers sign up under the assumption that thier preffered rate centers are available when I have found out the contrary the hard way - Twice - that they are actually not
     And of course because of the way the provider has the activation procedure set up - you have to pay up front before they will "Allow" you find out that your prefference is NOT available
      I'm not writing this just to vent frustration
    This is just a notice to all VoIP 'future subscribers' - Don't think you will actually get a 'home town' rate center even if it is listed on what they claim is an updated web site  
         Beware of the number 'eight'
    A concerned EE member - just spreadin' the word
   ps
      I tried to assign 'zero' points to this commentary but to post it I have to assign a minimum of 20 points
          So seeing as how I am being forced to do something I preffer not to do again I beleive I will assign 500 points to the best reply
            Enjoy - and don't let your packets drop off
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Question by:gmd024
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Accepted Solution

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scampgb earned 500 total points
ID: 12198057
Hi gmd024,

This sounds like a clear case of false advertising, for which the provider should make efforts to put right.

What did the terms & conditions for the VoIP provider say about this?
Did the provider say that the rate you were looking for was available, and that's what you were signing up for?

I don't know who you're talking about, so can't look into it myself.
How did you pay for the service?  If you paid by credit card you may be able to get a refund from them.
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Author Comment

by:gmd024
ID: 12198935
   It's a Catch 22 situation - I've already emailed their customer care dept explaining the whole thing and mentioning 'false advertisement'
     I didn't think I would get a reply but 4 days later their responce was very appologetic and blamed the situation on the fact that their web site had not updated the list of available local 'rate centers' for my area
       When I tod the VoIP prov. that (TEN) days later I tried to get a 2nd line of service and both my 1st choice and my 2nd choice of local rate centers were still listed - but of course - were NOT available he just said "Oh thanks for bringing that to our attention" - We leave those rate centers listed on the web site because "some day" we may be able to obtain more #'s in that rate center - but of course the rate centers are decievingly listed as "Available Today" - not sometime in the future - which leads customers to sign up for the sercvice thinking they will be assigned a local # of their choice only to find out that they have already "paid up front" and upon activation find out that they are forced to choose a different rate center - which possibly makes all the phone calls from neighboring areas that used to be no-charge calls for your local friends and relatives a long distance toll chare to call the (non-local) number you were forced to choose  
      Nothing has changed - the local rate centers are still listed to date
     I believe the rate centers are still listed by choice not by 'accident'
     When signing up the Provider makes you pay upfront - then mails out the DTA adaptor and when you recieving it and activating it - this is where you find out the # you signed up for (that showed as available) is NOT available - It happened to me twice - back to back
     Sorry scampqb - I didn't read the terms and conditions - I doubt if any 'terms and conditions' could legally make an such obvious case of 'false advertising' 'legal'
     Don't get me wrong - the phone service works just fine and the 'savings' ARE there - it's just that the VoIP provider is decieving prospective customers by telling them that the local rate centers close to or right in there 'home towns' are always listed as available when truly they are not
     The VoIP provider said to call up the cust. care dept. to obtain a 'LIVE'/REALTIME list of available rate centers - which I did when I orderd my 2nd line of service - but of course the 'live updated' phone call didn't matter at all - when recieving and activating the 2nd DTA adaptor I found out that my 'live' choice was N/A - even though it was still listed on the web site and of course making the phone call to obtain a (LIVE phone call/updated list) was a complete waste of time
     Well there's the latest edition to the saga of the (Phantom), but always available local rate center #'s
      Beware of this new and uncontrolled/unregulated semi-outlaw type of phone service -  
       I'm sure it has happened to thousnds of new VoIP customers - but most of them have not chased the problem back around in a copmlete 'full circle' to where I have gotten to - which of course hasen't solved my problem - just brought light to the deceptive ways that these new VoIP service providers are enticing new customers
      thanks scampqb - later - (:-)
    gary
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Expert Comment

by:scampgb
ID: 12198972
gmd024,
From what you've said, you ought to be able to cancel the service and get a full refund for it.

As for the terms and conditions - it depends on what they say.  If it says that they'll allocate you any number they feel like, you've not got much of an argument if they do just that.

It's might be worthwhile you contacting your local citizens' advice organisation about it.


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Author Comment

by:gmd024
ID: 12261547
  One last comment - I have cancelled both lines of service with the VoIP provider that keeps the unavailable local rate centers listed as available and I have signed up with Vonage - One of the first and one of the largest providers - I beleive they are approaching the 1/4 million subscriber mark
   They seem to have their act together and they tell you "Up front" during the sign up processs if your preffered rate center is available before you give them any money and then find out to the contrary and they seem to also have one of the best small business plans available
      I hope this post helps any future VoIP "shoppers" to make their first choice in a VoIP provider the best choice
     Later - (:-)
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