Vonage Calls Customer "Stupid" After They Signed Her Up For An Account She Didn't Want

This one sounds like fraud to us…A potential Vonage customer called in response to a advertisement, but after giving her name and address and other info, decided that since she didn’t even use email, maybe VOIP wasn’t right for her. Several months later, she unexpectedly bounced a check. What happened?

From the Philadelphia Daily News:

“I said, you know, I don’t think this is going to work for me,” said Ehly, who had already given Vonage her name, address and bank-account information.

The woman at Vonage sounded peeved about that, but Ehly insisted she didn’t want to switch her phone service. A few days later, Vonage shipped some equipment to Ehly. She refused the package, sending it back to Vonage.

Fifteen months later, Ehly bounced a check and wondered why. She checked her records and found Vonage had been charging her $28.75 a month since November 2005.
Ehly and her husband, Glen, told me that conversation with Vonage wasn’t very pleasant. They claim the customer-service representative called her “stupid” for not noticing the problem earlier since Vonage had been e-mailing her billing statements all that time.

How odd. Ehly didn’t even have an email address. It seems that someone had mysteriously signed Ehly up with Hotmail and began emailing statements to that address. The Philly Daily News was able to investigate the problem and get Ehly a refund for the full amount Vonage had been debiting from her, but there is no news on how the apparent fraud took place. The Daily News points out that Vonage’s customer service reps are paid a commission for new accounts. Hmmmm… Sort of seems like someone didn’t want to give the commission money back, doesn’t it? —MEGHANN MARCO

Phone service ripoff? You make the call [Philly] (Thanks, dgorga!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. B says:

    She changed her mind on the service after giving her bank account info, and then refused a package sent by Vonage, then it took her 15 months to notice that Vonage was charging her bank account $28.75 a month? I will say the Vonage representative wasn’t inaccurate.

  2. kerry says:

    Yeah, I think if you haven’t bothered to read a bank statement in a year and a half you maybe deserve to bounce a few checks. Why did she call to sign up in the first place?

  3. Echodork says:

    Doesn’t sound like we’re getting the whole story here. You randomly call up Vonage to sign up for an account, and then mid-stream on the call (after providing all of your information) you change your mind? And then you don’t check your bank statement for almost a year and a half to see that you’re getting charged?

    I don’t buy it.

  4. esqdork says:

    Vonage shouldn’t have charged her, but what was she thinking giving up her bank account info?

  5. i4ni says:

    Doesn’t matter. Fraud is fraud is fraud. Investigate and eliminate the offender.

  6. Katharine says:

    She didn’t notice they were taking 30$ out a month for 15 months!?! She is stupid.

  7. Scazza says:

    Although Vonage should have called her or refunded her money after they realized that not only had they received the equipment back, but 0 data usage had been occurring… I got to ask, how freaking retarded do you have to be to NOT notice vonage charging an account you own for 15 months. Seriously, she deserves to be charged for her idiocy.

  8. The Bigger Unit says:

    Yeah, something is missing here. It must be nice to be able to have a company charge you nearly $30 month and not notice for over a year. I wouldn’t know what that is like…every payment that goes out for $57.95 for high-speed internet every month gets me where I live…

  9. Pssssst... says:

    …not exactly taking a look at what you should be doing as a model consumerist. Read future posts on this site and you will pick up a few tips on documenting calls, keeping records and checking your bank statements.

  10. edgesmash says:

    Regardless of Ehly’s fiscal responsibility, if she told the rep “no” during the transaction, then she should not have been billed, plain and simple.

    Not to mention that it’s extremely out of line for a CSR to tell a customer she’s stupid.

  11. Hoss says:

    If she intended to switch to VOIP service but then backed out (apparently), wouldn’t she need to give authorization to switch from her former service provider? An wouldn’t that mean her phone would be dead if she didn’t use Vonage?

    I’m agreeing with the consensus here — not the brightest bulb… And if Vonage had a fraud department, they would be investigating outside fraud of their service — not internal. Stupid.

  12. kcskater says:

    Wow. Nice case of blame and judge the victim going on here. How about this ‘what it’? She’s 65 with the same phone number for the last 30 years. Bank account open for 20. All bills have been the same for as long as she can remember, so her checkbook is balanced (she doesn’t use the bank website to check balances).

    Just because she’s not that hip twenty something with the latest and greatest gadgets doesn’t mean she’s stupid.

  13. cjc says:

    kcskater, the “stupid” comments have nothing to do with not being a hip 20-something with online banking so that she can check her account info every 30 minutes. The “stupid” comments have to do with apparently not noticing a $30 monthly charge on her (presumably) paper statements for a year-and-a-half.

    Arguably, if you’re getting account info on paper once a month, you need to look even more carefully at what’s going on with your money when the statement shows up in the mailbox.

  14. ikes says:

    i may not be a twentysomething any longer, but i guess i am still hip for checking my back statement once in a while? awesome!

  15. HawkWolf says:

    1) Vonage did something bad.
    2) User apparently didn’t do something good (read her bank statements)

    Just because #2 happened doesn’t make #1 less onerous. Notice they signed her up for service after making up a Hotmail account for her to receive emailed statements….

  16. Dagamon says:

    How do you have broadband with no email? Is that even possible?

  17. Citron says:

    Vonage committed a crime, the woman did not. As far as I’m concerned, that’s the end of it, and that’s horrible — committing fraud.

  18. Citron says:

    I never had an e-mail address with Comcast, just a user name.

  19. Vinny says:

    @kcskater: You don’t have to be trendy to balance a checkbook…

  20. xanax25mg says:

    Citron: What the very good point Dagamon was making is why she has broadband and no email address at all, not that she wasn’t using the email account Comcast or whomever provides with broadband.

    I’m pro-consumer as the next person, but it’s curious many here jump to believe that a CSR called a customer “stupid” on the phone, but are willing to ignore a whole lot of self-disclosed evidence that this customer is kind of shady herself.