Ari’s wife had ten minutes to call into her local Washington D.C. radio station to claim a $1,000 giveaway, but couldn’t connect because Vonage routes all calls to 1-800 numbers through New York, and the radio station was only accepting local calls. For ten anguishing minutes Ari and his wife suffered through busy signals, worried that the radio station was deluged by other callers. After emailing both Vonage and the station producer, Ari and his wife finally realized what happened…
I’ve been a loyal Vonage customer for over a year now and sing their praises all the time. I think its an incredible bargain and I have been a very satisfied customer. That changed this morning when my wife’s name was called as a winner as part of a promotion on a local radio station here in Washington DC. She had 10 minutes to call their 1-800 number to claim $1000. She tried calling from our Vonage line and got a busy signal. She tried calling from her cell phone and got a busy signal. She repeated this well past her allotted 10 minutes to no avail. The $1000 prize was gone, but we did not give up. Prior to the 10 minutes expiring, she emailed the DJ of the show saying she had won but could not get through. Around 30 minutes later, a producer wrote her back, and that led to several emails back and forth and they guaranteed us there was no way the phone lines were busy at that time.
After a little bit more investigation on my part, I identified the problem was actually our Vonage line. The radio station was blocking non-local numbers from calling their 800 number, which explained why our cells were getting busy signals, but our Vonage number was a local number and should have worked just fine. An email to Vonage Executive Support and a subsequent return phone call explained all. “Calls to 800 numbers,” the representative told me, “are all routed through New York…so it makes perfect sense your call was blocked by the station.” All Vonage offered me was 2 free months… which leaves us $936 short of the prize that should have been ours.
Certainly an odd situation, and not one that is necessarily unique to Vonage since we can easily see other VoIP providers routing 1-800 calls through a central office.
What do you think? Is it Ari’s fault for relying on services with inherent limitations, or should the radio station pay up if he can prove that his wife was trying to call during the giveaway window? Dispense your justice in the comments.