Vonage Changes Your E911 Information To A Different Address, City

Each time Andru updates his address for his Vonage E911 profile, Vonage responds with a confirmation email listing the wrong address in the wrong city. Andru updated his address for the fifth time just days before needing an ambulance for his 3-year old. Thankfully, the 911 operator had the correct address, but Andru had an email waiting for him when he returned from the hospital.

Yup, confirmation from Vonage that they accepted our E-911 address settings, again, set to the wrong address. Basically, this means that if we had to dial 911 one day later, paramedics would have had to have been rerouted from the address they were provided when we called in, which is over 10 minutes away, to our home – all thanks to Vonage and their incompetence in designing a fool-proof E-911 system.

VOIP still has a long way to go before it can be relied on for 911 service. In an emergency, the best way to get ahold of 911 is through an old fashioned landline. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER

Vonage Keeps Changing Our E-911 Settings To An Incorrect Address [Gear Live]
(Photo: Joe Shlabotnik)

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  1. Seth_Went_to_the_Bank says:

    I’m not a big fan of the myriad devil’s advocates on here who are always ready to say, “No, it’s your fault!!!” but I have to say:

    Don’t use Vonage?

    They suck?

    They have sucked for awhile?

    They seem about ten seconds away from complete and total collapse as a company and ongoing enterprise?

  2. bluegus32 says:

    Why does anyone still use Vonage? They are a dying company gasping for air.

    Not to mention, the 911 issues are well known to anyone who cares to research the issue. I researched this exact issue last year and chose to stay away from VOIP for this very reason. I have three kids, two of them under tha age of 5. There is no way I’m going to endanger the lives of my children to save myself $25 per month.

    Honestly, and I hate to be callous here, this guy should be hitting himself for being more concerned about his pocketbook than his own personal safety. Keep in mind, too, that this was not the first time this guy had a problem with his 911 service. Seems to me that he took his life and the lives of his children in his own hands when he knowingly subscribed to a service that was notorious for not providing reliable 911 service.

  3. oudemia says:

    My parents, neither of whom are in the best of health, got talked into switching to Comcast’s version of VOIP as part of some kind of package. The CSR basically told them it was the same as a landline. Once I explained what was what to my mother, she called and cancelled with no problem, but good grief. Folks with kids and seniors really need foolproof access to 911.

  4. JustAGuy2 says:

    @oudemia:

    FYI, Comcast’s phone service is very different from Vonage’s VoIP service, it offers standard E911, no difference from the telco. Only real difference is that, in the event of an extended power outage, Comcast’s service will go down, since it’s not line-powered.

  5. eldergias says:

    I have to say that I am honestly amazed that there is no 911 website where if someone is in trouble and does not have access to a phone they can contact 911.

  6. steinwaytony says:

    The Consumerist headline modus operandi of taking an unfortunate outlier case and twisting it to give one the impression that it’s company policy has always been lost on me, e.g. “Wendy’s Distributes Fingers in Your Chili Cups.”

    It’s very populist and cutesy, but it doesn’t seem in the interest of the consumer.

    Maybe it’s one of those blogosphere mysteries — like the royal “we”?

  7. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    I used to work for a VoIP company, and most other companies (like ourselves) actually made the disclaimer “don’t use us for e911 services!”

    I love how this guy updated his information “for the fifth” time, yet it never occured to him to pick up the phone and CALL them to rectify the situation?

    And furthermore, if you’re able to call 911 and physically able to tell the dispatcher your address, the address that comes up on their screen can be overridden. Not an excuse for the mistake, just saying that the ambulance wouldn’t have “been rerouted to the other address” unless this guy wasn’t actually able to speak and it was the only info on which they could rely.

    It’s really not the company’s fault, per se. Nobody (i.e. the government) has stringent enough regulations to put on these guys to ensure addresses are correct.

  8. roamer1 says:

    @oudemia: Comcast does 911 no differently than do traditional landline carriers…it’s fixed to a specific address. Vonage and the like do “nomadic” 911, which is a lot more complex and more akin to Phase 2 wireless 911 (the wireless 911 that tries to pinpoint your location) than anything else.

    @pinkbunnyslippers:

    Nobody (i.e. the government) has stringent enough regulations to put on these guys to ensure addresses are correct.

    The lack of standards for MSAG addresses (the master list of valid addresses for a given jurisdiction) doesn’t help things any…

    (yes, I work for a phone company involved in VoIP 911, I’m not speaking for them, etc.)

  9. oudemia says:

    @JustAGuy2: I did not know that. In any event, for the week or so they had it, it went out twice. Their cable has always been weird. Never was sure if it was all the trees near them or something more fundamental.

  10. @steinwaytony: It’s just funnier that way. I don’t think anyone expects for the article to actually be about how an entire company does something like put fingers in chilli.

    If it’s for something “normal” like not letting people cancel due to a contract change I’d assume it was company wide but not this (at least not on purpose).

  11. Buran says:

    @pinkbunnyslippers: Don’t you think that it’s ridiculous to have to pick up the phone and call when there’s a website that you can use in order to not stay on hold etc?

    No, he’s not an idiot, unless it’s now stupid to expect services to work as advertised.

  12. Bay State Darren says:

    Bad service is one thing. Dangerous bad service is another and it is completely unacceptable.

  13. @eldergias: 911 Gets enough pranks as it is. Imagine what would happen online…

    @roamer1:

    The lack of standards for MSAG addresses (the master list of valid addresses for a given jurisdiction) doesn’t help things any…

    You may have a point there…

  14. FLConsumer says:

    VOIP still has a long way to go before it can be relied on for 911 service.

    Hate to break it to you, but many E911 call centers and many hospitals in Florida already use VoIP. The technology’s stable. Just happens to be that Vonage’s implementation sucks.

    My VoIP provider provides both E911 and nomadic 911 service, and it works as expected. No 3rd party call centers, no misrouted calls.

    Just like AOL is NOT “the internet”, Vonage is NOT VoIP.