SunRocket VoIP Is Dead, Run Away While You Still Can

As of last night, Sunrocket VoIP is unplugged, and they didn’t warn any of their 200,000+ customers, who had been attracted to the service by deals which offered $99 buy-one-year, get-one-year-free unlimited calling to the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico. Now they’re experiencing spotty service, full outages, and a feeling of panic.

Sunrocket customers need to immediately start porting their number (here’s how), and filing chargebacks with their credit card companies to get their money refunded (here’s how).

According to posts on bargain shopping forums, Sunrocket’s CEO Lisa Hook resigned last Friday, their call center sent everyone home, and 300 employees were fired. Basically, there’s just three people left to handle legal issues and no suitors lined up to buy the subscriber base.

A poster self-identifying as a former Sun Rocket employee wrote, “My condolensces to the people who did the work at SR for there hard work and effort has gone to the toilet because of one Captain Lisa Hook and her horde of AOL washouts.” [sic]

“I’ve been a Sunrocket subscriber for a little over 4 months and had no problems with the service,” writes Reader Patrick. “I even recommended it to a few folks (cashed in my reward points in time – whew!). This is a blow for cheapskates like me; I need a landline-like service but I’ll never go back to Ma Bell. SkypeOut maybe. RIP little VOIP.”

Callers to the customer service line hear a recording stating, “We are no longer taking customer service or sales calls. Goodbye,” which then hangs up.

As of this posting, SunRocket still has a new subscriber signup form on their webpage and pitches, “3 Months Free. Act Now! Limited Time Offer.”

READ MORE: ATTENTION SUNROCKET CUSTOMERS!: Helpful link and information for your Dead Sunrocket Service (Unlock Gizmo and other options) [Slickdeals]

Internet-call service SunRocket cuts off service [Reuters] (Thanks to Jerad!)

Comments

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  1. monroevillemall says:

    According to the New York times:
    A report in the New York Times quoted an unnamed source that had been briefed on the company’s status as saying that SunRocket had ceased operation and plans to move its customers to one or more companies.

    [www.nytimes.com]

    Is it better to port your SunRocket number to another provider , or wait to see how this shakes out?

  2. “This is a blow for cheapskates like me;”

    You get what you pay for. This should be the consumerist motto.

  3. Tombfyre says:

    I work in the Telecom industry, and its stuff like this why I encorage people not to depend entirely on a VOIP service. Its a great idea and all, but not only does it not entirely work yet, but most of these new companies don’t have any financial basis to stand on.

    Old-style Telephony may not be the most modern and trendy service around, but it tends to still be working even after a century or more. :)

  4. sonichghog says:

    When is the service supposed to stop. Mine still works.

  5. dantsea says:

    I like the tagline on their Google search result: “Sunrocket: The no-gotcha phone company.”

    I was wondering how long it would take them to die. Sunrocket’s CTO, CIO, CFO and CPO were all either fired or quit at the end of June, at which point CEO Lisa “broadband is a side issue” Hook said the company had a stable workforce and that no cuts were on the horizon.

    I guess there are two lessons for consumers here:

    1. Be very, very cautious regarding pay in advance schemes.
    2. Any time Lisa Hook says something, the opposite is true.

  6. sonichghog says:

    According to the article, current customers are being ported to another company.

    I will wait and see.

    I have been a customer since October last year. If I lose service now I would still have a better deal over the last 9 months than I would have with any other company. 199 over 9 months is about $22 a month. About Half what verizon would charge for less options.

  7. jca says:

    I signed up for the “buy-one-year, get-one-year-free” deal mentioned in the post a year ago. But Sunrocket insisted that I never had that deal when the first year ended a month ago and charged me $216 for my second “free year”.

    Immediately cancelled the service and demanded a refund. They never did refund the charge after a month so I predict everyone will have to go through a chargeback through their credit card company as I have. Looks like I cancelled just in time.

    I knew things were bad a month ago when I cancelled yet they continued to give me phone service. One of my many calls to Sunrocket customer service last month went like this:

    ME: “I cancelled my account but you haven’t refunded my credit card or disconnected my phone service.”

    SR: “I show your account disconnected sir.”

    ME: “Well, I’m talking to you via my Sunrocket phone line right now — it’s obviously not disconnected.”

    SR: “Your account has been cancelled.”

    ME: “Then how am I talking to you on it right now?”

    SR: “…I don’t know…”

    This was followed by a “just wait and everything will be fine” blowoff.

  8. shiwsup says:

    An off-topic point for consideration:
    I don’t understand why Consumerist links to itself so much within articles. If I see a link to Sunrocket, I anticipate being directed to their website, not the the Consumerist tags of that topic, which I would expect to see at the bottom of the article. Linking to specific entries is one thing (and also usually done at the bottom), but not within the article. c.f. New York Times online

  9. FLConsumer says:

    I hope this doesn’t sink my Viatalk service… Viatalk’s call center is getting absolutely swamped with the SuckRocket callers, to the point that it’s going to voicemail, something I’ve never heard them do.

    Fortunately, my Viatalk service is still working flawlessly. I just hope that it continues to do so. I don’t know how many customers Viatalk had before this, but I know that adding 200,000 customers to any business is a struggle.

    Also, do we have a TRUE customer count for SuckRocket? Is it 200,000 true customers or 200,000 lines? If the latter, then it’s only 100,000 customers or fewer as all of SR’s plans came with 2 phone lines.

  10. dmolavi says:

    i posted this comment in another SR story here, that got much less visibility…BUT, for those of you that want to move to BYOD providers, check out [gizmopasswords.blogspot.com] for the admin passwords for your gizmo. you can “unlock” them (turn off autoconfiguration/provisioning) and take them to another provider.

  11. sonichghog says:

    I already Like Viatalk, and I have not spoken with them yet. I am on hold, and every few seconds I get an update on what place in the que I am. ++

    It certainly would not hurt them to get a 50k boost in customers. If they need help there are 300 People without jobs today with Voip CS experience.

  12. This is the full copyright line at the bottom of their website:

    Copyright © 2007 SunRocket, Inc.
    SunRocket, the “no gotcha” phone company, is bringing Internet Phone Service to mainstream America, setting a new standard for making it easy for consumers to use broadband to enjoy Internet phone savings.

    Yes, “the new standard.” Of not working. And sucking royally. Oh, wait — that’s regular phone companies. So, basically, SunRocket is exactly like the traditional companies it’s trying to replace, with one difference: it’s Audi 5000, as the kids say (and the “unintended acceleration” parallel makes that even eerier…)

    I’ll stick with my landline and my cellphone, thanks.

  13. alhypo says:

    @FLConsumer: My ViaTalk seems to be working as well. My service does occasionally go out, but overall I am quite satisfied. My dad used to have Vonage and I have to say, ViaTalk seems to get a much better voice quality.

    VOIP is the only phone service I have, which I’m not entirely comfortable with because there are many more things to go wrong and interrupt service. There are about two days every month where I can’t make calls because my internet service breaks down (or maybe they’re doing maintenance). And if the power goes out it won’t work either, unlike regular land-lines.

  14. FLConsumer says:

    @alhypo: I should clarify my post… when I said “going to voice mail”, I meant calls to Viatalk’s cust service department were going to voice mail. They’ve fixed it at some point today ‘though.

    I’m quite comfortable having VoIP here. I do have a few serious health issues, but I figure between my cell, VoIP, and alarm system, at least one of them should work. Yes, it’s highly dependent upon your ISP – choose wisely. Cable internet still relies upon powerlines along the streets and in the various neighborhoods. Having been through multiple hurricanes, I’m fully aware of how the power grid is set up as well as the cable & phone grid.

    I know this is going to sound strange, but in every instance, VoIP was the most reliable form of telephone communication before, during, and after each hurricane. Beforehand, the long distance trunks & cell towers start to get jammed with everyone contacting friends and family. Cable’s dead as soon as the power starts to flicker.

    During, the telephone system is still under load from the callers, but now starts to get hammered by the ‘cane. Cell towers start to get antennas ripped from them, some collapse. Overhead telephone lines are taken down by trees, underground lines get flooded out.

    Afterwards, people really jam up what’s left of the phone system. After another 4-8 hours, the batteries in the various concentrators, cell towers, and smaller telco central offices start to die. 1-2 days later, some of the generators in place run out of fuel. Power seems to take ~7-10 days to come back on, telco was 5-14 days, cable was always 2-3 days after power came back. The cell system took some time to get totally back to normal, up to a year before some areas were fully back to their pre-storm levels.

    The first storm took out my cable internet and I resorted to a microwave link to the mainland. For the subsequent storms, I relied upon a fiber optic connection (enterprise-grade, not Verizon FIOS) and was pleasantly surprised. Since all of the VoIP servers I was using weren’t in the path of the storm, there were no call log-jams, nor weather affecting them whatsoever. Just nice clean phone calls and no one had trouble reaching me.

    I should also note that in the first storm, the local sheriff’s substation was washed away by the storm surge, so trying to call them just produced a busy signal, I assume from the salt-water soaked land lines.

  15. raycarroll70 says:

    Hey everyone. I justed tried calling SunRocket’s toll free number, 800-786-0132. Guess what you hear when you call it? No suprise, the telephone recording is “SunRocket, the no gotcha phone company. We are no longer customer service or sales calls. Goodbye”.

  16. raycarroll70 says:

    Don’t be suprised people if the SunRocket, the We Gotcha Good Phone Company, web site goes 404 within the next day or two.

  17. globalconnect says:

    Skyrocket’s biggest snafu was their lack of properly managing their relationship with their clients. They could have ensured their client’s investment and dial-tone as well as their own survival with creditors with a transition plan for their subscriber base. Too bad they did not have the time or energy to handle things…

    As the many subscribers look for refuge in another provider, perhaps they need to consider Rebtel. No contract, no downloads, no special equipment – just great rates and great service. More importantly, low, low rates & even FREE calls from either the landlines or cell phones. Something to think about…. Check them out http://www.rebtel.com

  18. CarylRaeKrannich says:

    I have signed up with Lingo two months ago. Till now, everything goes finely well. They are also presently offering international calling plans at lower rates for former SunRocket customers. Supported by one of the largest telecom firms like Primus, Lingo is a financially stable VoIP provider which can offer unlimited calling plans for both home and business applications. You will get a local telephone number to call your friends and relative in the UK, even if you are anywhere in US. Moreover, any Lingo subscriber can order International Phone Numbers for 14 countries. Their calling plans to Western European countries, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Canada, and South Korea are unlimited and flexible.

  19. samalexis says:

    I switched to Lingo for their 79.95/mo, unlimited business plan last week. Along with one month free subscription, I received a free additional voice line, 24/7 online account management, free adapter of worth $50 and Office Assistant plus usual basic and advanced calling features with this premium plan. If you are a former SunRocket, I suggest you must choose Lingo as your next VoIP provider. You will surely get your money’s worth.