Vonage CSR: "Customer Lacks The Courage To Stay With Us Due To Litigation"

Reader Tony was called a coward by a Vonage customer service representative for canceling out of fear that Verizon’s unstoppable legal onslaught would result in service disruptions. Tony canceled only after Vonage was unable to explain their contingency plans for handling an interruption. One Vonage CSR didn’t realize that Tony was exactly the sort of customer that might return to Vonage if ever they prevail against Verizon’s team of

ber-lawyers. The CSR explained as he typed that he was listing Tony’s reason for canceling as: “Customer… lacks… the… courage… to… stay… with… us… due… to… litigation.” Tony’s letter to Vonage, after the jump:

I have decided to cancel my Vonage with mixed feelings. On one hand, I really enjoyed the quality of the technology your company provided. I don’t have any complaints about any technical issues with Vonage. I also stand behind Vonage during your litigation with Verizon. I have always felt that Verizon’s law suit was unfounded and Vonage will eventually prevail.

On the other hand, the lack of professionalism and information from Vonage’s customer service department has forced me to leave for another VoIP company. A large unanswered question that led to me finally moving on was “What is your contingency plan so my service isn’t interrupted?” I think it would be beneficial to current customers if the customer service department had this answer to pass on. I felt I should also pass on that there is a very slim chance that I would return to Vonage after the treatment I received on the phone yesterday when I called to cancel my service.

Along with the customer service rep (“Calvin” I believe, but don’t remember for sure) complaining to me about the previous customer he just talked with (including the customers inability to pay his bill), complaining to and conducting conversations with fellow co-workers while on the phone with me, and finally, as he was typing my reason for leaving Vonage, saying “Customer… lacks… the… courage… to… stay… with… us… due… to… litigation.”

Needless to say, after hearing that, I was shocked and decided that there wasn’t any way that I would return to Vonage with this kind of treatment. So with that, I wanted to pass on a wish of “good luck,” especially with Verizon, and a thank you for the high quality of VoIP service I received.

Sincerely,

Tony

Of his letter, Tony says: “I never heard back, but I really didn’t expect to, either.” Now that is how you burn a bridge.

(Photo: gripso_banana_prune)

Comments

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  1. homerjay says:

    [raising hand]

    I’m among those who don’t have the courage to stick with Vonage.

    Oh, either that or its the fact that I don’t trust Vonage to not pull a ‘Sunrocket’

    Thats why I pulled out last winter.

  2. snowferret says:

    Yes it would be very courageous if he had stayed with Vonage. Just like in that epic film where the hero’s phone company is sued by another phone company but the guy stays with his phone company despite the fact that they have no backup plan and then he gets the girl in the end. I cried at the end of that one. Such courage…

  3. Chicago7 says:

    He could have got the girl at the end??

    What a coward. No balls, no glory.

  4. othium says:

    They deserve to lose customers if that is the sort of CSR they employ.

    Good riddance to them if they go under..

  5. mmartinphd says:

    I’m still with Vonage and it’s not because I’m too lazy to cancel or anything like that, it’s because I have balls the size of churchbells!!!


    A couple more stories like this and I might become less lazy….

  6. SOhp101 says:

    If you tell a company ‘there’s virtually a zero percent chance I will stay for your services’ then don’t expect stellar customer service. Why should they bend over backwards kissing the ass of someone who is going to leave no matter what?

    Yes, he probably was a bad CSR but at least he flat out canceled you without any:

    CSR: Oh but Mr. Tony, if you stay with us then we can give you a free ruler!
    Tony: No thanks, I don’t have the courage to stay with you.
    CSR: Tony, how about I give you a 50% discount for two months?
    Tony: No, really, I just want to cancel.
    CSR: Mr. Tony, I can offer you one month and a teddy bear for choosing to stay with us!
    Tony: I really would like to just cancel…
    CSR: Do you know what a great reliable connection you’ll be missing out on? Including all of these AWESOME features…

  7. mantari says:

    Alternate title: “Vonage CSR encourages customer to be daring and play chicken with his telephone service.”

  8. erica.blog says:

    Maybe this can be Vonage’s new business model: appeal to adrenaline junkies.

    X-TREME TELECOM!!! DO YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO BE OUR CUSTOMER? [cue loud exciting music] FEEL THE RUSH EVERY TIME YOU PICK UP THE PHONE: WILL THERE BE A DIAL TONE??? EXCITEMENT!!! SEX!!! ALCOHOL!!! BLOOD AND GORE!!!

    Or something like that.

    @SOhp101: While I would not expect them to bend over backwards kissing ass, I would expect minimum courtesy. Professionalism includes being polite even when a business relationship is ending.

  9. dscosson says:

    Simply unacceptable.

  10. SOhp101 says:

    @erica.blog: Of course, I completely agree, but at the same time I don’t think we’re hearing the entire story.

    Anyway, I thought just a few days ago that Vonage sent out a press release stating their plan in case if the appeal doesn’t work?

  11. Amelie says:

    People on the verge of losing their job do inappropriate things. I imagine the climate among the employees is very stressful. Still, his response was totally inappropriate.

    @Erica.blog

    Using caps doesn’t become less obnoxious just because one is trying to be clever.

  12. MikeB says:

    @SOhp101: The best way to deal with a customer that jumps ship is:
    CSR: I am sorry that you want to cancel your service but understand your situation. Is there anything we can do to make you stay?
    Cust: No.
    CSR: Ok, I am putting in your cancel order and hope that as soon as the legal troubles are resolved you will consider coming back.
    Cust: Thank you.

    That interchange would make him more likely to comeback.

  13. The Dude says:

    I have worked in customer service, and the one thing I can say is that every once in a while you sometimes would take out your job frustrations on customers. I’m sure that CSR dealt with 10 unreasonable customers that day, so he was looking for a reason to be a jerk to you..

    That being said.. you have to go into these encounters with a different attitude. If you try to play the ‘meek and innocent’ customer all of the time, you’re going to get your feelings hurt. I mean what do you have to lose by throwing some sarcasm back at this guy? You are cancelling so have some fun with it. Play his game. Probably in the end he’d respect you a little bit if you do it the right way, and you wouldn’t feel like a puppy that just got paddled.

  14. SOhp101 says:

    @mbouchard: I don’t think it needs to be spelled out that this CSR did not handle the situation well, but Tony’s “threat” of never ever going back to Vonage after he already expressed his wish to cancel his service is empty and pointless.

  15. kable2 says:

    You should try Skype if they offer incoming calls in your area. It is dirt cheap ($30 out going, $60 in going for a full year. The call quality is great, and no long distance within canada and USA

    They dont appear to have any CSR’s though

  16. SkippyKilimanjaro says:

    @LEM127: And isn’t that what we are all looking for? Respect from a $10/hr CSR we’ve never met and never will? Give to me large break.

  17. Scuba Steve says:

    How about the shitty phone quality that Vonage has when your cable company (Comcrap) lacks any sort of Quality of Service?

    If I wanted to cut my internet off every time I had to use the phone, I would have gotten Dial-up.

  18. acambras says:

    I like Tony’s letter to Vonage. Short and sweet.

  19. Crazytree says:

    I seriously doubt this CSR came up with this on his own… definitely seems like a “tag line” that came down the pipe from management.

    I would have told the guy… “write that ‘customer… is… canceling… because… Vonage…. CSRs…. are… a… bunch… of…. douchebags…'”

  20. JustIcedCoffee says:

    I think its funny – it would be a nice anecdote for the rest of the week to tell all my friends. Not to mention it’s a version of the truth, tony’s interpretation, yes, but it’s not a lie.
    I would not expect a customer service center to have answers to legal questions facing the company. Merely giving out the information to customers would give verizon legal ammunition that vonage would exist even if the court ruled against them.

  21. vitonfluorcarbon says:

    Vonage – it is a great service, and much cheaper than traditional phone service. I am concerned that they might go belly up, but will wait to cross that bridge when I have to. I’ve never talked to Vonage’s customer service – 2 1/2 years and never a reason to – is that a testimonial? As long as I have cable internet, I’ve got the vonage!

  22. Trai_Dep says:

    Hey, at least the SCR didn’t say, “Customer… Leaving… Because… He’s… A… Big… Weepy… Pussy.” (beat) “Can I help you with anything else, sir?”

  23. ShadowFalls says:

    I never bothered with Vonage, I went with Brighthouse instead. When I was looking into other services I asked Vonage some simple questions.

    Who provides the hardware? They said, “You buy it and we will refund you” Knowing how that usually goes, it didn’t encourage me too much.

    The second one was, If the hardware fails what kind of support can I get? Their answer, “For failed hardware you must send us your bad unit and we will send you a new one.” Brighthouse offers 24-hour support and next day service and hardware replacement at no cost to me. Additional benefits are the discounts when bundled with other services like cable and internet.

    The choice for me was easy, but naturally other areas don’t have such an easy choice as I had.

  24. PandemicSoul says:

    I’m with Soph101. Give me a break — who calls up to ask what the contingency plan is? I wouldn’t expect ANY company to give this information out. If you’re not comfortable with canceling, then just cancel. Don’t call up and harass the CSR to give out proprietary information about how they’re going to react if they go out of business — as if he would have known that anyway. Thumbs down for the customer attitude, and thumbs down on this post.

  25. Buran says:

    @PandemicSoul: Uh, I have every reason to ask “what are you going to do if you can’t provide the service I am paying for?” as long as I am paying for said service. And it’s not unreasonable at all to expect an answer.

  26. Jbjohn942 says:

    This guy must not have read the news that vongage has come up with work arounds for the patent issues. People jumping ship because they are uninformed are exactly what’s going to put vonage under.

  27. Havok154 says:

    With the customer service they gave us for our 2 months we used Vonage, I wouldn’t have the courage to let them watch my shopping cart while I go to the bathroom, let alone have to courage to believe they can fix their infrastructure so they don’t infringe on others’ patents anymore.

  28. BenMitchell says:

    What is sad is that (JBJOHN942) is correct. I doubt that Verizon ever thought they would win this argument. But if they can cost Vonage (Whom I use for my home service and have for years) enough customers to force them out, then they could move in and either buy them out or replace them with their own service. Sad this is typical business tactic for Mega Corps vs Independents and Small/Medium Businesses.

  29. theblackdog says:

    I’m still with Vonage, simply because it’s my roommate who is paying for the service :-D

  30. JustAGuy2 says:

    They’re unlikely to post a contingency plan, or even admit to one, since a big part of their litigation strategy (particularly in regards to injunctions as they appeal) is that, if they have to obey the lower court’s ruling, they’ll go out of business. If they put forth a plan for “how we’d survive if we had to comply with the ruling,” Verizon would be waving that around the courtroom in about 30 seconds.

  31. allstarecho says:

    As long as they are in business and I’m paying 5 bucks a month, I’ll stick with them. After 2 attempts to cancel because I really don’t use it that much (unlimited calling in and out cell phone plan for $59 a month), I got some sort of customer retention plan for $5 a month plus they credited my account for 6 months worth of free service. If they go out of business, I haven’t lost anything. Other than that, their service is good. I’ve had no problems with the calls I’ve made or received using my Vonage.

  32. MikeB says:

    @SOhp101: True, but if I am reading it right, his threat came after his conversation with the CSR in a letter/email to Vonage. If the CSR has treated him right, it is possible that the threat would never have happened.

  33. MonsterToe says:

    This is Tony. Let me shed some more light on this.

    First off, the call in question was after I had already ported my number to my new VoIP company, so I was calling to cancel, not get some deal sweetened and stay (and have to port my number BACK to Vonage).

    I had done my research 2 months before this (and this was back in May of this year) when I talked to CSR and sent email questions about their contingency plan. Decided then to cancel, waited till my new service provider had my phone number, then called to cancel.

    As for being a “big weeping pussy”… eh… sorry it appears that way to you. I’m a combat veteran with 6 years military service, played D1A (college) and NFL football. I’m a football coach and I coach grown men. I don’t conduct my business “meek and innocent” but on the other hand, I understand (because of my background) that yelling at someone is not going to get them to do something you want. I certainly don’t hold the CSR responsible for a company policy and don’t make anything personal. I believe in being professional and cordial in doing business. One can be confident and assertive along with being respectful and polite.

    I’m sure the rep was having a bad day, but I only wanted to cancel my service and go about my day. Personal information about the previous problem the rep had, including financial specifics about another customer, was unprofessional and only made me want to get off the phone quickly with my service cancelled.

    As for the purpose of the letter I sent, chalk it up to frustration and wanting to just get it off of my chest. Because of that, I didn’t expect a response, but felt I make someone at Vonage aware of their level of service.

    I’m glad to see that they released a “work around” for the Verizon patents… that was last week I believe, not back in May.

    -T

  34. MonsterToe says:

    @allstarecho: Don’t blame you. $5 a month is an awesome deal. I did enjoy the technical service they provided.

  35. @homerjay: I’ve been telling everyone I know with Vonage to back out. Fast.

  36. killavanilla says:

    @MonsterToe:
    lol….
    Let me get this straight – you are a combat vet, ex-college and nfl player and current coach?
    I bet you are no big weeping anything.
    Funny how people jump to that conclusion when you don’t act like an internet or telephone tough guy, aint it?
    As a former martial artists (10 years training 3 different disciplines) and high school athlete, I always get a laugh when people mistake courtesy and discipline for being a wuss.
    Cheers Tony!
    Great letter.
    Screw Vonage anyway…
    I had it for years and it never worked right.
    When I finally decided to cancel, the phone hadn’t worked for months and I was using it as a voicemail inbox. The first time I called, I was on hold for an hour and a half. 30 minutes in, I called their sales folks and got through in 30 seconds and complained about that.
    Then I realized that you can only cancel during certain hours, m-f, but subscribe 24/7/365.
    When I called back the next day, I was on hold for a shade under 2 hours and while canceling, the vonage worked for some odd reason.
    meh.
    mediocre product, loads of hype, and lots of problems. I sent my brother and parents to them and they both cancelled due to terrible service within a few months.

  37. killavanilla says:

    @Jbjohn942:
    So that’s why? Not because of mediocre products and bad customer service?
    Funny.
    I thought they were losing business because the service sucked.
    And perhaps they should get the word out about the ‘workarounds’ better..
    Don’t you agree that it is up to them to make sure the customer is informed, not the customer?

  38. Bourque77 says:

    @SOhp101: Id say this particular article we are posting about is why they should bend over backwards. If he would have been as polite as can be nobody would have heard about it. Instead its on the internet.

  39. dynomite says:

    I do not work for vonage nor do I hold shares in their company (thank god I didn’t fall for the IPO offer to its longstanding customers.

    But I do have to say, I am very pleased with its service and have recommended it to several people who I know.

    I’m sorry to hear that most of the comments are negative.

    The feature set and abilities to call overseas is AWESOME.

    Is there any links to these legal onslaughts mentioned here that I can read about in regards to the status of Vonage?

    Thanks!

  40. aphexacid says:

    Last year, i almost went with them. so glad i didnt.

  41. MonsterToe says:

    @killavanilla:
    Thanks. On a side note, I’ve studied Krav Maga for over 7 years, now. I love it and I try to get anyone interested in studying a martial art involved in Krav. I also fought 3 MMA fights back in 2002 (amateur, 3-0, 1KO, 2TKO) when I lived in SoCal.

    Back to Vonage… I forgot about long queue time that day when I was trying to cancel. I’m sure that added to my desire to write the letter.

    Currently I’m with VoIP.com, and they’re a good company. I like the filters they have. But there is a slight decrease in quality with them from what I was used to with Vonage. I was a Vonage customer for almost 3 years and the quality of my phone calls was superb.

    -T