I have been a loyal Vonage customer for 3 years. Within the last year (I can’t remember when) I purchased a new Linksys WRTP54G router to replace my existing router. This router has built-in Vonage voice ports. What Vonage and Linksys do not tell you when you purchase this router is that Vonage has 100% full access to your router and can do with it what they choose.
What they chose to do with mine was update it to the latest version. This version has caused my Vonage service to stop working but left my Internet working just fine. I generally don’t use my Vonage line to send calls I mainly receive and have all calls forwarded to my cell phone so I left it sitting there for a few weeks. I finally decided to call Vonage technical support for help. I work for a fairly technical company but do not like to flaunt my knowledge because I have been on the other side of the phone and know you have to cover the basics. I let them do whatever they need to do to fix the issue. It was pretty apparent that the lady on the phone didn’t know what she was doing. As part of her troubleshooting she told me I needed to increase my bandwidth settings. I let her know that I have already set my bandwidth settings to their max in the Vonage control panel. I was told that these settings were different and she needed to do them on my router. Immediately my router started rebooting itself every 10-15 seconds. My internet connection never stayed online long enough for me to do anything. She then had me reset my router to factory settings about 3 times while trying to get my router back online. After the router continued to reboot constantly I was told to wait 20 minutes for the settings to take effect and she would call me back.
About 30-45 minutes later she called back. My router continued to reboot constantly. At this point she told me that I needed to access the administration page of my router and clone my MAC address. When I asked her why I would need to do such a thing, I was told that this would fix my router. My cable company does not lock my cable modem to a specific MAC and I told her this. She insisted on having me do this. At this point, it became extremely clear that she had no idea what she was doing and she had broken my router. I asked if I could speak to someone who knew what they were doing and she transfered me to an Advanced Technical Support rep named Morgan. I explained the situation to Morgan and he saw what the previous technician did and could not understand why those settings were modified. Morgan tried some troubleshooting but because the router kept constantly rebooting there was nothing we could do. Morgan told me I needed a new router. He offered to send me a Motorola router because they no longer carry Linksys routers.
As far as routers go I had a Porsche and they were offering me a Pinto. Morgan told me that if I wanted a Linksys router I could purchase one and Vonage would gladly refund me my money since it was clear that they caused the problem with my hardware. I let Morgan know that I would not be purchasing the same exact router since I did not feel comfortable with Vonage having control over the main access point to the Internet in my house. He agreed and said that would be fine. I spent $175 on the original WRTP54G I purchased and opted for a Linksys WRT330N which I found on sale at Amazon.com for $149.
When the router arrived I called Vonage to connect my original Motorola voice adapter so I could restore my voice service. Vonage got my voice service back online in a few minutes. I then asked what I was supposed to do to get my $149 back. I was told to fax my receipt to Vonage and I would receive my refund in a few weeks. It’s been a month and I have not receive any such refund.
Today I spent 2 hours on the phone with Vonage. They now refuse to refund my money for the router they broke (even at the lower $149 price) and offered me a maximum refund of $40. I told them that this was unacceptable and then I started getting the run around. I was transferred 5 times to various departments and each time had to re-explain my story. This is extremely poor customer service and after being a loyal customer for 3 years and referring numerous friends and family members to them this is how they repaid me.
Now I am stuck with a broken Linksys Vonage router and a working router which I paid $149 for. To be clear, I purchased the Linksys Vonage WRTP54G at Staples with my own money and was never credited by Vonage for purchasing the router.
Reader Jeff plans to file a complaint with the FCC, and a suit in small claims court. Both are appropriate responses if Vonage refuses to provide reimbursement for the bricked router, as promised. Before filing, hop over a few heads and try to reach Vonage’s plucky 36-year-old interim CEO, Jeff Citron, at: (732) 528-2600.