We’ve posted before about how Google’s idea of offering product support is to maintain some customer forums and peek in every once in a while. That’s understandable for free tools like Gmail and standard Google Voice, but customers who have paid Google for services expect more. For example, many of the customers who have paid to port their phone numbers to Google Voice so far this month have received an e-mail confirming that their port went through…then discover that people who call them are getting a message that the number has been disconnected.
We’ve written before about Google’s approach to public-facing customer service: they have none. They sell upgraded cloud services, number porting through Google Voice, and the occasional Android smartphone. What they don’t particularly seem to want to do is actually deal with any of the icky customers who have purchased these services. Reader Indub is one of many customers with actual problems who can’t get a response out of Google.
What Justin wanted to do is pretty simple. He wanted to take his Google Voice number and port it to his new Sprint phone. This is a thing that you can do with Google Voice, if you pay. But as early purchasers of the Nexus One and other people who have issues with Google have learned, Google will happily accept your money, but doesn’t like to deal with actual icky customers. Their default customer support option–posting on a forum and hoping someone with power notices–isn’t cutting it for Justin anymore, since he’s having problems with text messages on his ported number.
Activating Google Voice On My New Verizon Account Somehow Undoes Cancellation Of My Old T-Mobile Plan
For several years, Consumerist reader Bryan and his wife were happy with their T-Mobile service, but after some recent dissatisfaction with service, they decided to jump ship to Verizon. Everything seemed to be go fine and dandy when Bryan called to cancel service — and then he got his final bill from T-Mobile.
Sophie makes a lot of phone calls to France, so she does the responsible, frugal thing. She uses the Google Voice app on her smartphone to make those calls over the Internets instead of using the T-Mobile network. Except somehow, the Google Voice app failed, and the phone itself placed those calls while making it sound like they went through the Voice app. “Complain to Google about it and give us $700,” says T-Mobile. “If the call doesn’t show up in your Voice history, it went through the cell network,” says Google.
If you’re considering porting your mobile phone number to Google Voice instead of to a new carrier, consider this: free or inexpensive phone services have a hidden expense: customer service. When Peter’s number port didn’t work, Google’s customer support structure left him with no real-time support options and no way to get the attention of anyone who could actually help him.
Reader PJ sued a bunch of harassing debt collectors and won $5,000, and Google Voice made doing it really easy. Someone had put down his work cellphone number on their credit applications and ran up a bunch of debts and collectors started calling him multiple times per day. He told them he wasn’t the guy and asked them nicely to stop, but that only made it worse.
Steve, name changed for his protection, found himself bedeviled by fraudulent debt collectors. They bought his personal information from an online payday loan site where he had applied for a loan but never actually took it out. They called him constantly, threatening to send him to jail and take him to court. In this situation, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act didn’t matter. They were overseas scammers who didn’t care about American law, bulling people into paying debts they never incurred. The only way to stop them was by changing all his phone numbers. That’s where using Google Voice came in.
Google’s forum-based method of providing tech support works for many of the company’s consumer products, but didn’t work so well during the company’s failed experiment with the mobile handset business. Customers’ e-mail and Google Voice accounts are now often central to their lives, and Mark has learned that some problems simply don’t lend themselves to self-service tech support.
Brandon has been waiting since Jan 20 for Google Voice to port his cellphone number. First he tried to port on Jan 20, then it said there was an error, so he tried again on Jan 30. He paid the $20 fee both times. The whole process is supposed to take 24 hours. He’s tried posting in their “Help Center,” as their welcome email suggests, but no luck. Just limbo. Hm. Maybe Google should stay out of businesses that require customer service. Have you tried getting in touch with your ex-wireless provider’s porting department and asking what the status is? UPDATE: Brandon reports his port over from AT&T has now gone through. Huzzah!
The option to port your existing cellphone number over to Google Voice is now live and direct, baby.
Looks like soon Google Voice will let you port your own phone number over to their service for $20.
After a long and windy road, the Google Voice app is now available on iPhone. You can make international calls for cheap, send free text messages, and have your Google Voice number show up on people’s caller ID’s when you call. No more of that pesky mobile site workaround business.
One cool way to use the new Google Voice integrated with Gmail is to transfer cellphone calls to your computer and save on minutes.
Gosh, it’s been almost 3 years since Google bought GrandCentral and transformed it into Google Voice, a service that lets you set up a phone number that can ring multiple phones. It’s been invite-only ever since, but today Google opened up registration to public. (U.S. only, sorry.)
Apple made it clear last year that Google Voice is not welcome on the App Store or your iPhone. “Fine,” said Google. “We’ll go through the browser!” Today the search engine revealed a new mobile web interface that uses some fancy HTML5 magic to provide voicemail, calling, and text message functionality. If you don’t already know, you can turn any page in Mobile Safari into an App icon on your home screen (click the “+” icon in Safari), meaning now you can have a legitimate Google Voice “app.” Below is a video tour. Update: There’s a down side to this: Cy writes in to let us know that this fancy new version actually breaks functionality for iPod Touch owners–the old web-based version let Touch owners make calls, but this one doesn’t.
On Friday, AT&T filed a letter with the FCC accusing Google Voice of violating network neutrality principles. Google Voice doesn’t work with certain numbers that AT&T, as an old-fashioned landline and mobile provider, does.