May 26, 2006 4:00 AM PDT

Vonage future looks troubled

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But some analysts fear competition is only one of the many worries that Vonage faces. The decline in the company's stock price over the last couple of days could spur lawsuits.

"There is always a risk of a lawsuit whenever you put together a public offering," said Jocelyn Arel, a partner at Goodwin Procter, a law firm based in Boston. "Nine times out of 10 when you see a company come out and take a nose dive like Vonage did, you see plaintiffs circling to file lawsuits."

Vonage also may have damaged its relationship with some of its customers. About 13.5 percent of the shares offered during the IPO were sold to customers. Demand was strong for the shares before the IPO, as some customers may have had flashbacks of the IPO heydays of the late 1990s. But now that the stock has fallen so fast and so quickly, some of those customers could be displeased.

"If customers got hung out to dry, they're not going to stick around with the service," said Comack of Zachary Investment Research. "And I'm sure they'll be wanting to get their money back some way."

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Vonage, Tivo, Ipod...
These three are essential to new technology products that come out. Nearly everyone associates a personal DVR as Tivo, even if it's not a Tivo box. Vonage has become the general descriptive word for VoIP. And Ipod, having the greatest market share for mp3 players, has been the associated name for an mp3 player. How many times do people refer to their new toys as being "like Tivo" or "Like Vonage".

Now it seems that Vonage is suffering along with Tivo, while the Ipod seems unstoppable. I myself have an Ipod and am signing up with Vonage this summer. Sadly, I do not have Tivo. But it's a shame to see these giants (of name-brand) floundering in the technology whose name they become household references for.

I am not an apple fanboy... so let me say that now. But the Ipod is largely successful for its simplistic use with iTunes. It seems that for Tivo and Vonage, competitor's are catching up both in price and features and there is becoming no benefit from going with the most famous brand. Perhaps if there were features unique to each brand, it would cause a more stable environment for them.
Posted by Xiibo (33 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Sad, but true
They did start with an idea of providing a service that has flourished, especially among larger businesses... VOIP. They were pioneers. What they really needed was to be bought by a telco that had the financial backing to expand the service. Vonage has done a terrific job of creating brand name recognition. Who hasn't heard of Vonage? It seems that it's a matter of timing that is the culprit here. I suspect they will eventually be snapped up by a telco for a bargain price and the stock holders are the ones who will have suffered.
Posted by Seaspray0 (9714 comments )
Link Flag
huh...!
I have never heard anyone actually refer to these technologies by the other name. I have never ever heard of VoIP being called Vonage instead, or a DVR being called a Tivo instead, or a general mp3 player as just an Ipod. I have talked to many tech savvy geeks (me being one of them) and have never heard of this type of association lingo.
Posted by canukhed (1 comment )
Link Flag
There are better deals out there
I initially signed up with Vonage over two years ago despite the fact that they didn't have numbers available in my area code. I kept that account for a year because my wife is from Thailand and it provided an easier alternative to using phone cards. After waiting for a year, and having to maintain my landline, I found Lingo (www.lingo.com). They had numbers available in my area code, the base price was several dollars less, and the rate for call to Thailand was less. I've been using them ever since with no problem. Meanwhile Time-Warner is hawking their service for $39 a month. The price is outrageous but for those lacking basic computer savy, it guess they have a market.
Posted by dclaryjr (30 comments )
Reply Link Flag
VONAGE Sucks
Maybe the reason their stock is tanking, is because their call quality and customer service is terrible. I had Vonage for a year, and literally every call I was ever on people would ask if i was on a cell phone, tell me they couldn't hear me, and i would usually have to call them back from my cell phone so they could hear what i was saying. I would do anything to not use the Telcos... but, Vonage ain't it.
Posted by smartleydunn (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Vonage does not suck
Most likely your problems are caused by your ISP or your equipment, I've had vonage for about 6 months and had only 1 problem. whereby callers were intermittently unable to here us although we could here them. the problem turned out to be my outdated cable modem (toshiba 1100cx). I replaced it with a Motorola 5120 and now vonage works 100%.
Posted by adam714 (1 comment )
Link Flag
Vonage sucks
I signed up Vonage service 7 months ago because it sounded cool and cheap. Eventually, I cancelled it after 2 months of frustration. First, about 3 months ago, the Vonage phone quit working on me. It took Vonage 2 weeks to find out the phone 1 jacket from Linksys phone adaptor (Vonage provides it) was defective. Since Vonage mailed me a new Motorola phone adaptor, I started to suffer from terrible static noise. It became so bad that I couldn't even hear anything on the phone. After near one month of struggle(tech support from Vonage kept asked me to unplug this, plug that in ....), I finally fed up. After I cancelled Vonage service, I was charged $39.99 disconnection fee. In addition, Vonage refused to refund the last month's up front charge despite they only provided 2 days' service before I cancelled it.
On top of 2 months' of "nothing works" phone service and 2 months' of "good for nothing" service charge, I also paid for early disconnection fee and, most radiculous of all, the service Vonage never provides.
Like Vonage said on their advertisement, "People do stupid things." I feel I am one of them.
Take my advice. Don't use Vonage. It sucks.
Posted by drtien (1 comment )
Link Flag
FREE VONAGE sucks trial for only $86.58
I am more than a bit irate with this company. First they send me a defective device. I can unserstand as that happens sometimes. After attemtping installation, I suffered a stroke and contacted Vonage to cancel via email. They said i had to call so I emailed them my physical condition and asked if someone could call them on my behalf since I can not talk.

Not only do I not get a refund, they tried to charge me more after no service. Right after their email notifying me they attmpted unsuccessfully to charge my card, they sent me a cancellation email right after.

So for right now it looks like I sm only stuck with the original $42.79 they charged me for the 'free' trial, plus whatever they are going to charge me for shipping back thei defective device and whatever it costs to cancel my credit card and get another one sent to me as I will not pay their current charge and will put in a statement with the BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU. I will also never make a purchase over the internet again.

Aloha

ShakaNui
Posted by ShakaNui (2 comments )
Link Flag
Want to cancel? Reserve 30 minutes
I originally called Vonage to cancel with the possibility of coming back to them in one or two years or so but after that "customer service" call, forget it. They tryed every way in the world to persuade me to stay... Do you want to transfer the service to my family or friends? NO!!! Do you want me to just put it on suspend for a month free of charge? NOOO!!! Do you want me to change to your new area code free of charge?? NOOOOO!!!!! Then they put me on hold, I went through the whole ordeal with her "supervisor" (probably her with a different voice), she puts me on hold, comes back sees I'm still there, and THEN she cancels after I confirm that I want to cancel. Never EVER EVER EVER will I go back to this crap company again. The phone is going on Ebay right now and if I get $5, that's $5 more than I expect. That's too bad because the service itself was fine. Outsource customer service to India and lose your customers.. I'm the newest one to get smart and get out.
Posted by carsonky (3 comments )
Link Flag
Verizon: The Plague
I have no experience with Vonage, but I've been a very satisfied
customer of AT&T's CallVantave VoIP service for about 18
months. I slipped for short time, switching to Verizon's
VoiceWing and it was an unmitigated disaster. They couldn't get
the number switched over properly, and then there was a month
with a cascade of problems. I've had zero problems with
CallVantage. Early on I tried Lingo, but most of the time the
phone would never ring when a call arrived. They didn't have a
clue. Now they serve only a few area because they don't meet
the 911 requirements. It would be good if Vonage were able to
compete with the majors, but it looks now like management is
content to burn through cash and crash and burn.
Posted by nicmart (1829 comments )
Reply Link Flag
IN RESPONSE TO VONAGE SUCKS,VONAGE RULES
I have had vonage service for about 5 months and all calls are clear as a bell in both directions. Could it be your equipment is at fault. Internet connection, the telephone your using, router, cables ect. I have no affiliation with Vonage just love the service.
Posted by mmmarkmm (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Vonage is the worst!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I love telecom and love features. Years ago I had intellidial from bell atlantic (i loved call transfer).

Well when vonage came along I thought it was the greatest and most innovative product that ever existed. Boy was I wrong.

Yes, I could make phone calls- i did not even mind the static- the great part was i could set up a call on vonage and xfer it to my land line for better call quality. Even better was vonage would count the call as completed so I would get unlimited international calls for only 1 min charge.

But for all these great features I was paying a very high price: PEOPLE could not reach me- there would be messages that my number was not in service or the static on incoming forwarded calls was so bad I could not hear the people.

It took forever and a psc complaint to port my number back to verizon. Then it took another year and an email to the vonage CEO to get my number removed from their network. Vonage people kept getting a recording that i was out of service.

IF YOU need the phone to actually make a living you need another phone company. If you keep vonage they will bring you down as they go down!

The problems are many the solutions for vonage are few. VOIP works when your provider controls the last mile of the connection. VOIP does not work if the provider is trying to sell much more of it than they have backbone to support. They will not survive, this makes me happy.

Anyone who thinks that vonage is good or works well, works for vonage and is a plant or never uses the phone.

BYE BYE Vonage!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted by vonageoracle (4 comments )
Link Flag
bad commercials
Vonage has some of the most obnoxious commercials on TV.
They create an image of a company more interested in
blasting out noise than in providing a service.
Posted by Jackson Cracker (272 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Vonage and the future
Voange have a great product - you plug it in and it works. You don't have to tinker with the PC or continually download software upgrades. Normally the call quality is very clear, though in some cases the other end may hear clicks on the "line".

Their problem is that the spending on advertising is out of control.

Watch out for one of the large mobile companies, such as Vodafone, coming along and scooping up all of the shares once that the price has dropped enough. This would give them a large population of users, a Brand name and an infrastructure at relatively low cost. It will help them deal with the fusion of roaming mobiles and home/office based Wifi. They could cut back on the advertising and waste the profligate Vonage executives.
Posted by Brockleybadger (10 comments )
Reply Link Flag
They race to acquire customers they can't serve
I am one of the lucky Vonage users to have decided not to participate in the company's IPO. Reason: I just couldn't rationalize owning shares in a company whose service I loathe.

It's clear that Vonage is spending all of its effort in acquiring new customers but little of it in being able to service them. The service I get (over a 1mpbs DSL connection) is the pits. Sometimes it will take 3-4 tries just to dial a call. Voicemail is often very slow or down. People I call will stop being able to hear me in mid-conversation. International calling is a total crapshoot. And customer service? Forget it. Just trying getting tech support when there's a voice mail problem.

I'm actively looking for alternatives now that the botched IPO is putting the company even more in trouble.
Posted by billrosenblatt (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Viatalk is the best
You can get Viatalk for between $9-$16 per month with twice as many features as Vonage. Had Vonage and said Sianara...Beware the cancellation charges for them. They will try and delay you cancelling until they "screw" you. They tried to bill me $170 for cancellation fees. Not worth the price of admission, don't fall into this trap.

All the other VOIP love them because they are driving people to VOIP and then switching to these other providers because they cant hold on to their customers. Viatalk is absorbing all their business and is booming. They just had a deal for $199 for two years of unlimited service, but they have different promotions all the time.
Posted by dwbradshaw (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
www.vonagesucks.com
In order to prevent someone from creating a website on one of the most popular web searches, they reserved the vonagesucks.com domain name. Do a WHOIS and you'll see =).

I have audio of a CSR trying to lie to me regarding continuing service and no cancellation charges. Its hillarious, wish I could post it here.
Posted by dwbradshaw (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Vonage does Suck
one of there reps told me to go to hell just because of a voice mail issue so I told them I would be change providers and did so I'm now with Digital voice and there C.S. treat me right they even have a no disconnect fee if you want my ref link email me at mattford1@cox.net

have a great day,

Matt
Posted by mattford1 (2 comments )
Link Flag
Vonage Problems
I have been reading consumers' posts regarding Vonage's practices. I work for a consumer rights law firm and I'm investigating Vonage's actions. I would like to hear from consumers about their experiences with Vonage. If you are interested in sharing your story, please email me at abby1100ny@yahoo.com
Posted by abby1100ny (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Sue them and sue them now
Vonage is the worst customer service experience I have ever encountered. I am shocked by their policies, their false promises and their poor service. They will try and string you along for days and weeks to keep your bill active, knowing that they cannot fix whatever issue you have. I'd like to see them fold. I've never hated a company more and I'm a pretty rational person.
Posted by teraines (1 comment )
Link Flag
about Vonage
I recently switched I was with Vonage for 2 months and had no end of problems. Down times were excessive, 3 replaced adapters, poor
billing, a total lack of technical support,etc. Since I have switched to this my digital voice,
I cannot say enough good things about it. They are polite and professional in every way.
Their technical support is top notch and they leave you with the feeling that they care
about their customers. I highly endorse them and recommend them to anyone that who is
currently using another provider or anyone that is contemplating trying V.O.I.P. I have
my entire home wired for V.O.I.P. with two lines.
These guys are the best.
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://mydigitalvoice.com/clickthru.php?id=4052569008" target="_newWindow">http://mydigitalvoice.com/clickthru.php?id=4052569008</a>
Posted by mattford1 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Vonage Sucks
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnKRabN8M2w" target="_newWindow">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnKRabN8M2w</a>
Posted by ShakaNui (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
vonnage sucks?? really
first.. voip was dead before it even started. it was only a great idea when everyone thought it meant free phone service if you had an internet connection and a router that supported it. once the government got involved and it became a pay per month service it was done. the major phone companies have had voip for alot longer then this crappy company, as a matter of fact you can still get it from them. ( psst and they will cancel it right away if you don't like it. the benefit of dealiing with the phone company, they are regulated and cannot jerk you around too much ).

second, vonnage lies in their tv commericals, why would you think that they would become honest and easy to deal with once you become a paying customer. and why would they make it easy to cancel, they make more money by making it difficult.

this is the problem with all of the "non-regulated" utilities. it costs them nothing to be bad at what they do.. cable industry comes to mind.
Posted by dizdealz (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Vonage absolutely does MEGASUCK !
VONAGE absolutely SUCKS ! I tried to cancel by EMail from my password protected Vonage account..they would not accept it. They insisted I call a particular number..when I tell them I wish to discontinue service they shunt me to another department. This department keeps me on wait for an interminable time all the while telling me how they F*cking well appreciate my business but please call back when they are less busy ..or continue to hold. I continue to hold - ten minutes later they drop me. This happens three times in one afternoon. Finally gave up . Complained to the California Consumer Protection Agency and the California PUC. Am considering calling the State Attorney's office and/or initiating a class-action law suit. AOL pulled the same **** on me few years back and had to fork over millions of dollars in a class action lawsuit.
I may have to cancel my MasterCharge card and get a new one. These clowns need to be driven of the American Economic Landscape !!They are thieves !
Posted by GMcRae67 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
I tried to cancel my service after one year and the wanted to charge me the stupid cancellation fee.
So I changed my credit card number first and then called again last week to finally cancel the service.
This is a typical case for a class action law suit.
I hope some smart ass attorney reads these forums and collects a millionaire settlement with Vonage.
Regards,
Ronnie Shand
rashand@comcast.net
Posted by vonage-sucks (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
 

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