Vonage: Sorry, You Can't Cancel Without Speaking To The Retention Department

Mark tried to cancel his Vonage service outside of normal business hours, but Vonage wouldn’t let him go unless he called back to speak with the customer retention department. Mark had tried to call the previous day during business hours, but Vonage’s computers were down. How convenient.

Vonage: Why are you canceling the account.
Mark: Because we no longer need the second line.
Vonage: Unfortunately I can’t do that for you. You will have to call back during regular business hours and talk to Customer Retention
Mark: But I don’t want to be retained I just want to close my Vonage account.
Vonage: I’m sorry sir I can’t do that, you have to call back during regular business hours.

Watch out, Vonage. We thought Verizon held the patent for the cancelation gauntlet of doom. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER

Customer Retention Department – Vonage Customer Service Sucks [Notes From A Tool User]

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. hellinmyeyes says:

    When I worked for a corporation’s support center, we eventually were told to do exactly the same thing. Since, by contract, our customers had to cancel their accounts in writing (either by fax or e-mail), previously all they had to do was send us a cancellation and it was done.

    Soon enough, the company’s highers-up decided that we were losing a lot of customers, and they told us to refer those customers to a “cancellation” team that was nothing but a group of sales reps handling incoming calls. I felt so shitty after hearing legitimate cancel reasons like “My husband just died and I can’t afford the account anymore” and “My boss just fired me so I need to ditch the service” and all I was allowed to tell them is call this ridiculously overbearing sales team. Glad I’m not there anymore!

    Companies need to realize that “No” means “No” and take a little more understanding with “Cancel the damn account!”

  2. Coder4Life says:

    Yeah, I tried to cancel my NEXTEL account at like 9:30pm on a Thursday and they did the same thing to me.

    But, I could sign up for a new account 24 hours a day, and pay my bills and so on.

    Just can’t cancel the account… Weird isnt it?

  3. bpotterr says:

    It doesn’t seem unreasonable to me that they would only be able to handle certain types of actions during business hours. Obviously it would be nice to have full-featured customer service available 24 hours a day, but I don’t see why it should be mandatory.

  4. Fuzz says:

    @PTWhipplebang:

    What, are you serious? Its not like he was asking for anything unreasonable, and there is no reason why when someone wants to cancel something they should be forced to have to be talked out of it first. There should be laws against that crap. Unless you are in a contract, cancellation is a right, not a privilege.

  5. Sendiss says:

    As a former employee of a similar company, I have to defend the innocents — the employees. They can only do what the software they use is capable of. If they don’t have a program to cancel an account, they can’t do it. Also, the bottom line is keeping customers, so they will try everything to get you to stay.

    I understand the beef is with the company, but have some empathy for the employees — they’re just trying to make a living; unfortunately for a faceless corporation that doesn’t care about it’s customers.

  6. nequam says:

    This exact thing happened to me last year when I cancelled Vonage. It took 4 calls to get the job done. Fortunately, however, they gave me credit back to the date of my first attempt.

  7. Seth_Went_to_the_Bank says:

    That’s a good idea. There should be legislation that makes it very easy to cancel certain services (such as phone, internet, cable…).

  8. bpotterr says:

    @Fuzz: I totally agree. All I’m saying is that I don’t think customer service lines should have to be completely functional 24 hours a day. If I call a business in the middle of the night, I would expect to be told to call back during regular business hours. As far as the retention department business goes, you’re absolutely right; that stuff is ridiculous.

    Also: I don’t know about this person’s specific situation, but I know that when I signed up for Vonage, I had to make a one-year commitment.

  9. stilts says:

    Vonage is a royal pain to cancel. ive been through the process twice and both were a nightmare. the first time i ended up not canceling because it would cost me as much in a termination fee as another months service.

    Though recently i chose to go ahead and cancel and now wish i had recored the call. the entire time i was on the phone with them my wife was sitting across the room starring. wondering along with me how they could be this dense.

    i said no less then 20 times that i wanted to cancel the service, 5 times that i wanted a supervisor. and continually all i got was more reasons i should not cancel the service and why i should keep it, how much good it was… half hour of this,continually telling them i was not interested in keeping the service.

  10. bpotterr says:

    I just checked their website, and Vonage says their customer service people are available 24 hours a day…so never mind.

    “Our people are highly trained and they’re here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We can help you resolve any question or problem that you encounter.”

    That sounds pretty unambiguous to me.

  11. shdwsclan says:

    Basically, they need a staff of swindlers to make you change your mind. Those are expert sales reps, that push, and push hard…..

    Directv allows you to cancel your account 24/7, they try to give you some incentive packages like $10 off or whatever, but they still allow you to cancel. The only problem is that after your final subscription runs out, somebody from retention will call you back again and try to get you to pay for dtv again….

  12. BG says:

    I cancelled Vonage this week, and all it took was one phone call and one operator. They sent me a confirmation email, and my online profile now reads as “disconnected.” Granted, I did it during business hours, but I wasn’t sent to anyone in retention to argue the case out further.

  13. neobolts says:

    This is typical for a company that has too many customers canceling. They lock the front-line CSRs out of the canceling functions. The retention department is then told to help corporate get a better handle on why the customers are so pissed off.

    What’s odd is that the CSR called them the “retention” department. That’s probably a violation of company policy. Obviously the company wants to retain customers, but terms like “change of service dept.” or “account specialist” are the terms CSRs are supposed to use.

  14. The Walking Eye says:

    Why do you always have to have a reason? Isn’t “I don’t want to pay for it anymore” good enough? When I canceled XM, I was given three offers of free months to keep it and asked three different times why I wanted to cancel.

    I recently canceled Discover’s identity theft thing and was asked by two people why I wanted to cancel, then was offered the service for 1/2 price by the second guy. He was rather condescending to me while giving me all the “benefits” of the service, which have gotten worse since I signed up originally. I just said each time I was asked that I didn’t want it and just wanted to cancel. By the third time I was asked/pitched, I may have had a bit of irritation in my voice, but I was polite and to the point. When I said no the final time, he tersely said ok and hung up quickly, no thank you or I’m sorry to hear that. I said thanks and have a nice day, but I don’t think I got it out before he hung up. I realize they probably deal with jackasses a lot, but I don’t think I was being one, and it’s their job to be pleasant and not terse to reasonable customers.

  15. TechnoDestructo says:

    @Sendiss:

    If you make the employee’s lives miserable, they’ll leave. The more of them leave, the more miserable the managers will be, and the more they’ll have to pay people.

    Giving the employees shit hits the company in the pocketbook. It’s not nice, but it’s a way to fight back.

  16. r81984 says:

    I would tell them cancel it right now or I will keep doing chargebacks until the account is canceled.

    If it came to it, I would rather cancel my credit card, then jump through their hoops to cancel.

    I would just make sure to log the employee names and numbers I called to cancel, so if they try to screw my credit rating I can dispute it and prevent them from screwing me over.

  17. allstarecho says:

    I tried to cancel twice – we just don’t really ever use it thanks to unlimited calling cell phone plan – only to walk away with awesome deals, the most recent being that I now pay only $5.00 a month for my Vonage. I know they will be out of business soon, but hey.. it’s $5.00 a month, and beats my Comcast’s service by $34.99! I lose 5 bucks a month in my sofa cushions!

  18. reykjavik says:

    Why is Vonage so popular? Its a terrible company. I was one of the first customers of Vonage and the second I saw a non-Vonage fee on the bill, I canceled. I told the guy that its a slippery slope and in a matter of time the company will be just as expensive (with numerous rediculous fees) and just as terrible service as all the other tele companies. And of course, I was right.

    Glad I saw the forest for the trees and cut my losses. I can’t imagine why anyone would sign up with them today.

  19. Havok154 says:

    Vonage is and most likely always will be the worst company we had the displeasure of attempting to do business with. I honestly can’t even go into how many problems they gave us. If I had known about this site when we went through all of that a year ago, I would had a great story for you guys.

  20. Major-General says:

    Here’s a solution, worked for me with AT&T. Cancel my service, now, or my next call is a complaint to the FCC.

    I think they had it done in 30 seconds.

  21. TPK says:

    Yet again the beauty of Virtual Account numbers. Why don’t all the credit card companies offer them?

    Someone should make a list of companies with crappy cancellation policies, so we know which ones we need to use them for. If you had signed up with a virtual account number, the call goes something like this:

    “Hi, Just want to let you know I am cancelling my account. The credit card from which you normally get my montly payment is no longer valid. You might want to make a note of this on my account. Thanks, have a nice day.”

  22. dantsea says:

    I canceled my Vonage account about a year ago; I just didn’t have any use for it. I got the same answer from them. I said I was making one call to cancel the account, this was it, and that I’d be more than happy to slap them with a chargeback if they continued billing me.

    Miracle of miracles, my account was successfully canceled three minutes later.

  23. hypnotik_jello says:

    Vonage is still losing money, they will do almost anything to keep their customers.

  24. Exek says:

    Since Vonage builds itself as the internet phone company. They should let their customers do almost everything that you want to do on their accounts online even cancel their plans.

  25. Captaffy says:

    I just cancelled my Vonage account last week. I hadn’t made an outgoing call with it in about six months, and was only keeping it to make sure I didn’t miss any important calls to that number. Finally when the only calls I was getting were telemarketers, I decided to cancel. I had to reiterate that I wanted to cancel at least five times to the retention agent. Holy hell it was incredibly frustrating.

  26. lapis says:

    I wish this Vonage customer service nightmare got more attention. I tried 4-5 times to cancel my service — I was either told that I had to call another number, or that other number kept me on hold for 30, 45, and 60+ minutes. Absolutely crazy. I finally canceled my credit card instead. Yup. It was easier for me to have my credit card replaced than it was for me to cancel Vonage. Of course, they got in touch with me after that looking for my money – one time from an actual human by email. When I told her I wanted my account canceled, she said I’d have to call the other number. Unbelievable.

    And shouldn’t a leading internet company allow you to cancel online in the first place? I absolutely hate Vonage and tell everyone I know to stay away from them.

  27. Hawk07 says:

    It’d be interesting to document phone calls from pre-Vonage customers and compare them to current-Vonage customers.

    I’m sure if you call sales and ask them what to do if you want to cancel the service 6 months down the line, they make it sound so easy and painless when in reality it obviously isn’t.

  28. jaffa-cake says:

    I was a former Vonage retention rep, I remember hearing so many valid reasons to cancel accounts from people that half of them I never tried to really ‘save’. Of course we would be chastised for not having high enough save numbers, but only a handful of the reps cared when I worked there.

    I even saw some poor guy get chewed out by Mr. Citron for not saving enough customers. Needless to say I only had that job for like 3 weeks, I was utterly miserable there. The Vonage retention department, (like many other companies) are the only people that can cancel accounts and offer the special plans.

  29. I now have another reason why I feel sorry for anyone who got suckered into Vonage…

  30. celyn says:

    I never bother trying to cancel anything over the phone anymore. Too much of a hassle. Instead, I send a certified, return receipt letter. No arguments, no lying CSRs, and I knew exactly when they received my request.

  31. SexCpotatoes says:

    Vonage is the AOL of Internet Phone… is this a suprise to anyone?

  32. seanSF says:

    It’s pretty standard for call center agents to have different responsibilities (and, more importantly, different access rights) but Vonage messed up in two ways: 1) not having the retention team available 24-7, and 2) calling it the “retention team” to the customer. We know that means a hard sell is coming. Call it “cancellation team” or “tier 2 support” and we might be less on the defensive when we finally do reach someone.

  33. FLConsumer says:

    @SexCpotatoes: You stole my line! I’ve been using that for over a year now! Too bad I don’t work for Verizon… could have patented that, you know.

    Vonage’s problem has been, and still appears to be, piss-poor customer service. It was when I had it, was when I canceled it. Fortunately there are plenty of other providers out there which have good service and good customer service (Been using ViaTalk for 2 years now, no complaints, no off-shore tech support.)

  34. tvh2k says:

    I just cancelled Vonage after a 30 day trial. Cancellation took about 10 minutes (plus 15min hold time) but wasn’t all too involved. I was connected with an Indian woman in Canada and asked the reason for cancellation. I indicated that I was not home enough to use the service (true) and that my cell phone would suffice. She offered to give me another 30 days credit, reduce me to a ~$5/mo pay-per-call plan or transfer my account to a friend. I denied each of those choices about 5 times each and then “confirmed” my cancellation about 10 more times. Not quite on par with AOL, but close.

  35. swalve says:

    Hmm. I have no problems at all with my Vonage service. Perhaps all the people complaining didn’t really know what they were buying?

  36. swphreak says:

    I don’t see why people lose their tempers dealing with customer service. I’ve always spoke calmly and politely to call center reps and had my stuff tken care of. Don’t ever remember having a problem cancelling anything.

    If I ever do get crap for trying to cancel a service, I’d do what Major-General said and threaten to call the FCC.

  37. swphreak says:

    @swphreak: Actually, the BBB would probably be the better choice.

  38. tartis says:

    I had the same horror story today while trying to cancel one line on my Vonage account. I called at 5 PM Eastern today and cancelled one of my two Vonage residential lines. I explained to the rep that I did not need the second line, and just wanted to switch to a single number. The rep dropped the one line and I was satisfied with my call.

    A few hours later, I check my email and see that Vonage charged me $39.99 with no explanation of the charge. I logged into my account and found that they had charged me a cancellation fee for dropping one of my two lines.

    After getting the charge, I called Vonage customer service (20 minute wait) and spoke with a rep by the name of Cherinna (employee# 12376). She explained to me that this fee is normal and it could not be waived. I asked to speak to a Supervisor, and she said that she was a supervisor, and if I wanted to speak to someone else, I would have to call back. I told Cherinna (she said that she was from the Philippines) that calling back was unacceptable, and asked her if $40 was worth losing a valued customer. She said that there was nothing that she could do. I then asked if I could re-activate the old number and reverse the fee, which she said that I could not.

    This is poor customer service, and I will be canceling my other line for a fine of $39.99 ASAP if they do not give me a service credit of $39.99. I will never recommend Vonage to my friends again if this is not taken care of immediately. I will also be speaking with the Better Business Bureau.

    Note: The Vonage Terms of Service is 18 pages long, and 8769 words.

  39. tartis says:

    After going to the Better Business Bureau websote, I found the followinf statement about Vonage: >>>>>>>> On March 27, 2007 this company’s membership in the BBB was revoked by the BBB’s Board of Directors due to failure to respond to one or more consumer complaints filed with the BBB.

  40. thelipper says:

    I had a similar incident with Vonage. I was moving from MO to VA (movers were in the house) and I called during bus hours to cancel. Was subjected to sales pitch (why not take your phone number with you? etc). Told him I just wanted to cancel since I would not have a home for about 2 months. Asked to simply cancel my account and credit my account for the unused days of April (I called on April 10). Was told Vonage does not credit accounts. I told them they just credited my account for the cost of postage that I paid to send them a malfunctioning router. Got a super on the line who insisted that Vonage does not credit accounts, after telling him the same story about the router. Requested credited account or check for the unused days for which I had been charged. Was told Vonage does not send checks. Told them they were wrong, and that every business in USA has ability to issue checks. The call ended with my understanding that my account was canceled. When I got to VA, I began getting harassing emails requesting payment of $32+ for the month after I had canceled. I replied that I had properly called during working hours and requested cancellation. Not my problem that the two rude dudes that I spoke to (Roger and Arun) decided to try to make my life difficult by NOT canceling my account and harassing me about it. Based on what I have read here, and because of my own experience, I believe Vonage has the worst customer service of any company in the USA.

  41. Brenda Pace says:

    LET ME TELL YOU MY STORY ABOUT VONAGE IT ALL HAPPEN IN DEC 2 2008 I CALLED TO JUST CHECK IT OUT IT SOUNDED LIKE A GOOD THING SO I GAVE THEM MY DEBIT CARD AND VONAGE CHARGED ME THE 16.31 TO SEND IT OUT GOT IT AND THING WAS GOOD FOR until DEC 2o 2008 when i had no phone no cable and no internet i had to call the at&t TO FINE OUT WHAT WAS GOING ON AT&T SAID THAT THE INTERNET AND CABLE WILL BE BACK ON DEC 30 2008 BUT IT WAS NOT ON HAD TO CALL BACK AGAIN WAS TOLD BY AT&T THAT I COULD NOT JUST HAD THE INTERNET AND CABLE I HAD TO HAVE THE PHONE TO SO I SAID OK AND AT&T SAID IT WILL ALL BE BACK ON 1-7-2009 IT WAS NOT ON I HAD TO WAIT TILL 1-14-2009 AND IT FINALLY WAS ON THAT DAY BACK TO VONAGE I CALLED THEM ON 1-2-2009 AND TOLD VONAGE I WANTED THE SERVICE TURN OFF BUT VONAGE KEEP SAYING WE WILL GIVE YOU FREE MONTHS TO TRY I KEEP SAYING NO JUST SHUT IT OFF AND GIVE ME THE ADDRESS TO SEND IT BACK BUT VONAGE WOULD NOT GIVE ME THE ADDRESS TO SEND IT BACK SO I TOLD VONAGE I WOULD SEND IT BACK TO THE ADDRESS IT CAME FROM AND TO CANCEL THE ACCOUNT BUT LITTLE DID I KNOW IT WAS NOT CANCELED NOW IT IS APRIL AND I GET MY BANK STATEMENT AND THEIRS A CHARGE OF 31.22 ON IT I HAD TO CALL VONAGAE BACK AGAIN AND VONAGE TELL’S ME THAT IT WAS NEVER CANCELED BACK ON 1-2=2009 THE GUY AT VONAGE TYPE I WOULD CALL BACK ON THE 1-11-2009 TO CANCEL THE ACCOUNT AND GAVE ME THREE MONTHS FREE I HAD NO IDEAL THAT THE ACCOUNT WAS NOT CLOSED I SENT THE VONAGE ADAPTER BACK ABOUT 2MONTH’S AGO AND NOW VONAGE IS SAYING I STILL OWE THEN 127.78 CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS SO FINALLY AFTER CALLING ABOUT 20 TIMES AND EMAILED THEM AT LEAST 10 TIMMES THE ACCOUNT IS CLOSED ON 5-5-2009 I CALLED REGO AT VONAGE AND CITRON TO AND EXECUTIVE RESOLUTION AND THEY ALL SAY YOU STILL HAVE TO PAY 127.78 SO PLEASE IF YOU DON’T GET THE VONAGE SERVICE THEY SUCK