Ten Reasons Why You Should Not Buy Service from Vonage

Vonage is not all bad. I actually still use their service, but I am not currently using the service the same way I was using it when I first signed up. Vonage can work really well in certain instances. First, I will give a few instances in which Vonage may work well. Then, I will list the ten reasons why it probably will not work well (and may even be dangerous) for everyone else.

Vonage may work well for you if:

  • You have a regular non-VoIP land line as backup for the times when Vonage is not working properly, and you don’t want to bother getting all your friends and family signed up on Skype.
  • You hardly ever talk on the phone, and have a cell phone or a neighbor’s phone you can rely on in case of an emergency.
  • You have an extremely stable high speed Internet connection that basically never goes down, and that is the connection you will set up your Vonage line on.

    This is my current situation. I have a home based business, so I now have a T1 line coming to my house that never goes down (unless it’s a short planned outage), even in the stormiest weather.

If you do not fit in one of these categories, then please pay close attention to the following list of ten reasons you should not buy service from Vonage. Before I got my T1 line, this list would have been very important to me.

1. Using Vonage as your only phone line can actually be dangerous unless you have an extremely stable Internet connection. That is because you cannot call for help (such as 911) in an emergency when your Internet connection is down.

2. Your phone often will not work if your Internet connection is unstable. Each time your Internet connection goes down, your phone goes down with it. This is extremely annoying when the phone cuts off in the middle of a conversation. The quality of the sound can also be very poor if your Internet connection is fluctuating or slow. Sometimes the quality can be so bad that you can’t tell what the other person is saying.

3. If your Internet service goes down, your phone still may not work when the connection comes back online. You may have to reset your phone router. Sometimes that doesn’t work either, you end up having to reset your Internet device as well, which can be really annoying.

4. Vonage has poor customer service. You won’t often need them, but in the rare cases when the Vonage service itself is down, or you are having other problems with the service, it can take a long time to contact Vonage, and they are not always helpful. Some of their customer service reps do not speak English well, and it can be extremely difficult to understand what they are saying, or to even get them to understand what you are trying to say.

5. Some other services don’t work with Vonage. For example, the Tivo dial-up service won’t work with it, and many fax machines do not work properly with it, even when you hook them up to dedicated Vonage fax lines. This is not something they warn you about before you sign up, so if you are not prepared, you may be in for a great deal of frustration.

When I first signed up for Vonage, my Tivo service was down for several weeks until I was able to get a wireless USB connection, and wireless router. I also had many problems with my standard HP fax machineafter switching to Vonage, and had to be walked through an extremely long and confusing configuration process which seems to reverse itself every few days.

6. They have a horrible website. Sometimes you have to log in on the Vonage website to manage various services or get a question answered. Their descriptions for where to go for certain information is often wrong or confusing, and many of the links or not intuitive. You may find yourself being led in circles.

7. The FAQ on their site is laughable. When you look up a specific problem you are having with a service, you will most likely be presented with a single sentence describing what the service is, rather than how to use the service, or any common problems with the service.

8. You may not be able to keep your old phone number with Vonage. Even if you can, be prepared to have a new phone number for several months. Switching your old phone number to Vonage may take many months.

9. You have to connect all of your phone bases to a single router approved by Vonage. This does not give you much flexibility with the physical layout or configuration of your equipment. This may not matter to most users, but it may matter quite a bit to someone running a home-based business.

10. If you have a regular non-VoIP land line as backup, and you don’t mind setting your friends and family up with a Skype connection, then Skype may be a better choice than Vonage. First of all, Skype is free, so it’s definitely a better deal.

Secondly, Skype may be better if you have friends or relatives outside countries covered by Vonage. The USA, Canada and Puerto Rico are currently the only areas covered under the basic Vonage flat rate, which means if you dial outside those areas, it can still cost you a great deal of money. With Skype on the other hand, you can call other Skype users in any country in the world for free.

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