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Our Vonage® Review

Our Vonage Opinions - and by default a Verizon Review and Time Warner Cable Phone Review.  Also see our digital phone VoIP remarks about internet phone limitations and land line limitations too.   - Later in this Vonage Review, Time Warner Phone Service Review and Verizon Review. Vonage Review and Rating: overall, Outstanding! see our Vonage ratings summary after 8 years below

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We took the plunge using an alternative telephone service, our choice was Vonage.  Digital phone service (VoIP or voice over internet protocol - IP) is giving the traditional telephone companies a run for their money. As May 2013 we have been with Vonage for 8 years - see later in this review of Vonage for remarks

IMPORTANT NOTE BEFORE YOU SIGN UP - see it at the bottom of this page - click HERE to go to the note

See later in this Vonage review for a brief discussion of the VoIP political battle

Update: May 2013: Vonage added "Vonage Extensions" in 2012.  The feature sets up your cell phones in your Vonage account to use your Vonage for all telephone calls wherever you are with your cell phone.  When we travel, we use our cell phone to call Brazil and many other countries via Vonage without additional charges.  A second 'extension' (cell phone number) can be set up for $4.99.  We no longer buy calling cards because we have "Vonage Extensions" 

Update: July 2011: Our first service call was made to Vonage this month when we could not get through to some international calls to Brazil.  We could hear the recipient of the call but the could not hear us.  The Vonage help line call was answered by customer service in less than 5 minutes and addressed in a professional matter.  The agent helped us test the problem.  Vonage's network engineers were contacted and the problem was corrected in less than 4 hours.

Update: January 2010: Great News - Vonage adds cities in foreign countries such as Brazil as calling points

Update: July 2010: "Unlimited" international domestic calls may now have a limit - read the terms of service (TOS) on the Vonage Web Site.  Also check out any changes to domestic long distance "unlimited" definition

Update: March 2010: Vonage begins offering a $14.99 rate for the first 6 months then $25.99 there after with  a 1 year contract.  This is a great deal but it is starting to smell like a bait and switch.  However, the problem is Time Warner's and Verizon bait and switch offerings are worse.

2009 Great News - Vonage adds international calling to its $24.99 plan - Unlimited free land line calling to 60 countries

Some friends of ours are paying Time Warner $34 a month for Domestic calls PLUS $20 a month for an international plan with 1000 minute limit (total of $54 before fees).  We've changed our plan to the new Vonage unlimited rate.

Things we like about Vonage Review:  Our overall Vonage Rating appears at the end of the review.

  • Vonage calling plan includes international countries. The BEST! (see later in this review)
  • Your Vonage phone can be taken anywhere you go (where you can plug in their internet adaptor into a high-speed internet connection).  We done it in the USA and we have done it internationally (Brazil)
  • The Vonage adapter and telephone service was absolutely the easiest technology we have ever installed.  (We already have a router so set up was just plugging in the Vonage box into the router by the supplied cable - if you get the router with the Vonage included you will have a bigger job)
  • Sign up for our Vonage account over the internet was a snap
  • Our new Vonage phone number worked within 2 minutes of plugging the adapter in.
  • Vonage offers us a temporary number until our land line number was transferred ( in our case, from Verizon)
  • Our Verizon to Vonage land line transfer took just 15 calendar days
  • No optional calling plans are required - see the next points
  • Unlimited free calling - local, domestic, and international long distance (Note: Vonage defines 'unlimited' as less than 5,000 minutes a month) (Note: some foreign governments charge fees for connecting to cell phones or 'premiere service' lines - these calls are NOT free on Vonage - or any other carrier either)
  • Verizon charges more for each feature such as call waiting, 3 way calling, caller ID, call forwarding.  These services (and more) are free with the Unlimited Vonage plan
  • Vonage voice quality is at least as good - even seemingly better -then POTS (plain old telephone service)
  • Calling card international calls (via a local number) work well with the Vonage Service but we don't see a need to use these anymore
  • The Vonage user account internet control panel is easy to use
  • Vonage is not the cheapest (digital internet phone) VoIP company but their polished web site and it's easy use make it better
  • Some competing services have add-on charges for features such as voice mail - these are included with the Vonage service.  For example, this is an Option at Time Warner Digital Phone - adding even more to their already very high VoIP rates
  • Time Warner Digital Phone, ATT Phone service, Verizon and others offer teaser rates that go up after a period.  Our Vonage rate has stayed the same.
  • We paid for our Vonage phone service in savings over our Verizon land line immediately by just switching to Vonage. (We saved by canceling our Verizon land line call waiting and 3 way calling, domestic long distance calling plan and our international long distance calling plan (- in our case - $8 + $3 +$4+  $2 to $5 a month in *69 service fees and the $10 basic dial tone cost)  Also there are no local and long distance per call charges on Vonage). 
  • Vonage has fewer 'fees' recovery than Verizon and others.
  • Vonage will email you a sound file of voice mail messages so you can hear the messages without having to place a call to your answering service International prices are fair (for countries not included in the basic or international plans.)
  • Our friends who use the Time Warner international plan started at a $20.00 per month with 3000 minutes included.  The Time Warner International minutes were reduced to 1000 minutes.
  • Regular Vonage Unlimited calling, including international calls, all fees and taxes ends up to be about $38 Monthly (without any international to cell phone calls) compared with our friends paying $60 or more to Time Warner Internet phone service
  • Beginning in 2010 there is a Apple Vonage app on the iPhone and iTouch that allows unlimited domestic and international calling features (using your regular unlimited plan) over WIRELESS (only) 

With Vonage, consumers were saving on taxes and fees.  At one time VoIP was not yet regulated or taxed like the local telephone companies.  They are now and you can expect VoIP companies to be increasingly targeted by local, state and federal tax agencies

Things we DON'T Like about Vonage Review:

  • Vonage advertises their service rates as unlimited - they are NOT unlimited. See the note at the end of this page (beware some internet service and smartphone providers have started limiting unlimited plans too) - there ought' a be a law
  • Vonage has started to use bait and switch.  $15 a month to start then $26 with a 2 year TOS. Time Warner is worse: Before fees, Time Warner unlimited domestic plan starts at $33 but goes to $40 after the 1st year
  • There are Vonage disconnect / early termination fees.  Please see the Vonage website for current terms.  We do consider theses as fair because of the providing us equipment
  • The Vonage Terms of Service (TOS) are restrictive:  "Home office" and "telecommuting" uses are not allowed under the home plan
  • Terms allows post period back charges if Vonage determines that you are in the above categories - see below for a brief discussion of our telephone use.
  • Vonage has been increasing the number of their recovery fees and the amount of those fees - this is a reason we left Verizon 5 years ago
  • Vonage asks an additional $10 a month for a dedicated "fax line".  We might fax 5 or 10 times a year from our computer but we used our regular land line.  We'll skip the Vonage Fax number offer.  Our faxes are sent from our computer which is daisy chained to our phone lies.
  • We have not tested faxing via the (non-dedicated fax) regular line Vonage service. (We'll use our existing Verizon land line for now - Verizon DSL internet phone service literature says their internet phone option works with faxing at no cost
  • Vonage starts offering bait and switch plan in March 2010 - $15 ($14.99) per month then higher thereafter with a one year contract - we haven't looked deeper into this plan. 
  • State levied taxes and fees are increasing - this is not Vonage but it's fair to mention

Digital Internet Phone limitations and Land Line Phone Limitations

These are Internet Voice Over IP (VoIP) limitations (and land lines limitations too) regardless of who you buy it from - Including AT&T CallVantage®, Verizon Internet Digital , Time Warner Cable Phone service or others.

  • If your cable or DSL internet service goes out, your phone service goes out if you use digital phone or other VoIP services.  Our cable internet service was out for 6 days while we waited for the internet service provider to get a technician scheduled.  The happens regardless of which VOIP company you use, Vonage, Time Warner, Verizon, or services like Skype or Magic Jack
  • Operator services are limited or may not available with digital VoIP phone service. Check with the service companies you are considering
  • Operator services are limited or may not available with digital VoIP phone service. Check with the service companies you are considering
  • Other abbreviated dialing services such as 311, 511 are limited or not available with VoIP. Check with the digital phone service companies you are researching
  • If your power goes out your internet phone service is gone - Land lines tend to stay up when the neighborhood electricity is out although there is no guarantee:  their backup generators or battery systems may go out.
  • If you have only cordless phones, your cordless base station will not work when you loose electricity.  With cordless phones, your landline will be out too.

Voice quality can suffer if there is internet congestion.  - This has not been a major problem since we are getting high speed internet.  Our friends have had few problems either.  However are Time Warner 'high speed' internet service diminishes to under 2 MPs in the evenings Vonage voice quality does suffer (We have noted this problem when using Time Warner Digital Phone at friend's homes too)  We view this as Time Warner's fault

The household phone wiring system has to be changed from the incoming land line telephone jack to the VoIP internet connection box. - This was a small problem for us because we use cordless phones for the Vonage service

During the transfer of the number from Verizon to Vonage there was a period of about 24 hours where the transferred number phones did not receive incoming calls (incoming callers got a rapid busy signal).  Outgoing calls on both the Verizon and Vonage lines worked during this outage and throughout the transfer cycle.  We believe this outage when switching to Vonage, to be typical (and acceptable) of any telephone number transfer - as an example, switching from one cell phone company to another and so on.  

Our Vonage Review Rating:  Overall - Excellent! - why did we not go to Vonage sooner? See urgent note at the end of this page

VoIP - Internet Phone and Digital Phone Service Politics:

The local phone companies and those with other interests are not taking this new competition from Vonage, Time Warner Phone, Packet8 and Verizon VoIP without a battle.

Internet Service Providers are not happy, either. These ISP companies see Vonage and the other internet VoIP companies as having a free ride on "their" internet pipeline.

n fact, some internet providers around the country have blocked VoIP services with technology.  The logic? The IP's have spent millions to develop the broadband service pipes but others are selling services they want to compete with - currently, the FCC has banned such blocking

 The validity of this logic escapes me - we are already paying for the internet service - why can I subscribe to a streaming music service liked Real Media's Rhapsody but not subscribe to a VoIP service?  Also, to follow this logic, how can I have subscribed to AOL or Net Zero via the phone lines

The United States Supreme Court is already involved in these battles in a case known as the "Brand X" case. (Search the internet if you want to know more)

(Editors Note: We first wrote this paragraph in 2005 - it is moot now but our speculation is mostly true -- )  Our personal outlook about these politics is not optimistic.  Ten or 15 years ago, international calls were over $1.25 a minute, we now pay pennies (our phone bills were often $300 or more a month during the earlier times). Consumer and new competition now be damned because Big Business controls this presidency and this Congress. Big businessgets its way in this climate far too often.  We expect BB  (Time-Warner) to try to muscle this upstart competition out of the market.  And we expect the outrageous high percentage in taxes and fees to find VoIP services. 

Our Telephone Usage: (Verizon Review by default)

This household had 3 phones; 2 old fashion telephone company land lines and one cell phone.  We expect to cancel one land line when our phone number has been ported to Vonage.  We will keep one land line to have an alternative in the event of neighborhood power outage.

The 2 land lines total over $130 a month - mostly for local calls.  We make hundreds of minutes worth of international phone calls a month via a local phone number (using retail calling cards that make the call price as little as 2.1 cents a minute).  Because of frequent local calls, sometimes over 500 local calls a month, our LOCAL charges, for just the calls, is always well over $60 a month.  (We half expect Vonage to ask if we are a small business because of this heavy calling.)

Our land line carrier is Verizon and we are giving up one of our them because of Verizon's poor service and ever increasing rates.  Others on the internet have criticized Voyage's customer service and its long hold times but we don't believe it to be an issue.

While we can say we recently can get Verizon on the phone in a very reasonable time, we cannot say that we get good service from them when there is a technical issue.

An example - the transfer of our number to Vonage.  Our former Verizon phone number was transferred to Vonage after just 15 calendar days.  We called customer service a 2nd time to confirm that the service was canceled - according to Verizon it was - but we still got that dial tone 10 days after that call, 10 days after the transfer was complete. We expect to have to do battle with Verizon over their failure to disconnect the transferred number line when we receive our next (final) bill.   Other than the transfer issue, we do not recall a single need to call Verizon over the last 5 years about our home phones. (We wish that were true at the businesses we consult with - the Verizon service and disruptions have been awful - but that is another story

Our experience with other carriers such as AT&T is worse.  Also, we would give up our other Verizon land line if the internet service were not fickle to power outages.

We are tired of paying extra for call waiting, three way calling, caller ID and so on - for services we rarely use but like to have.  Verizon started us out, when they began offering domestic long distance, at a low rate but that rate has doubled.  We used to get discounts of up to 65% for off peak local calls - we now pay the same rate and higher price for every call.

 Finally, we expect to save over $60 A MONTH by using Vonage over Verizon - over $720 a year - looks like we can afford that second flat panel wide screen TV now.

And as an aside - did you know?   - Taxes and other government fees on phone bills now add almost 25% to the total - over 30% on our cell phone bill.

Our first 5 years with Vonage:

 We are saving more than we expected - over $60 a month on local service and much much more on domestic and international long distance! Well over $100 total, each month

And  we are completely satisfied with Vonage

We had two "hiccups" in our over 5 years with Vonage although the issues were always related to internet problems and not Vonage. Once, our high speed modem started to refuse to give speeds over 100k and as low as 50k (dial up speed). The cable company had apparently replaced a local routing hub which caused the cable modem to be incompatible at high speed.  At another time the cable modem just died.  Both problems were resolved with replaced internet cable modems.  Overall, we have to say that all of our Digital Phone problems have been because of down time by Time-Warner Internet

Vonage Phone voice quality continues to be outstanding.  We have had few network usage slowdowns that have affected phone service and we are happy.  We highly recommend Vonage.

Urgent NOTE:  BEFORE YOU SIGN UP (These points apply to ALL companies)

We've had TOS problems with ATT, Verizon and others  Despite the following points we are still happy with Vonage.

We've been reading Vonage reviews on other web sites.  Many complaints are listed because customers feel they are deceived by Vonage's promises - Many of the complaints are because the complaining customers DO NOT read and DO NOT UNDERSTAND the Vonage Term of Service (TOS) before they sign up.  Find them on the Web and Read them BEFORE you sign up.  

  • The web site TOS rules - the TOS is a legal contract
  • Vonage service is not unlimited  - there are call limits listed in TOS - we find this dishonest to say the least but Vonage is still the best value.  Some say the New York and other state's attorney generals should step in - we agree
  • Find, read and understand the Terms of Service (TOS) on Vonage website before sign up or call them at advertised Vonage Toll Free Numbers   READ the WEB TOS before you sign up by phone
  • Telephone marketers - the 800 numbers you call - Will not tell you negative aspects, or other TOS aspects unless you ask
  • Telephone marketers may not even understand the TOS or, they many lie to you just to make the sale (true for many telemarketers)
  • You will be charged for equipment or cancellation if you cancel early outside your TOS agreement limits
  • TOS plans can change without you being notified of the terms change.
  • There are many complaints about customer service - Vonage prices are so cheap and competition so intense that they have had to save on something - Customer service is it (this is true for more and more companies as prices makes it impossible to have good customer service) - some software vendors no longer have ANY support by phone, mail, or email
  • Despite understanding TOS and expecting poor customer service, some will have still have legitimate complaints.  It is the nature of the service economy.
  • There will be taxes and fees added to the Advertised plan price.  We hate this too and it should be outlawed for all companies - it's a way to hide the real cost of services - Verizon is really really good at this practice (its why we left them) - adding fees is now taught in business schools.  And remember the sales tax?  It is added to the Advertised price of everything you buy.

We still find Vonage works perfectly for us. The many thousands of dollars we have saved over 5 years should make any problems  tolerable. We haven't had them - Vonage service has been great - Gosh to think about it, over 60 months at $100 a month - a low estimate of our savings - we've saved over $6,000

We believe that Vonage and any and all companies should be reported to the state's attorneys if you have been treated dishonestly, deceived, or defrauded.

We are not defending Vonage.  However, we also believe that many of the complaints against them would not have happened if 1) The TOS had been read and understood and 2) customers had researched Vonage and internet phone services to temper their expectations

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Vonage Phone Service Review


-  We have been with Vonage for 5 years and are completely satisfied

- Vonage service has been totally reliable for us, however, there has been down time but all of that time can be attributed to  Time Warner Internet Down time

- Rare voice quality issues have occurred but this issue too seems to be related to Time Warner Internet Congestions - we have noticed this to happen at friends who have Time Warner Digital Phone too


We only take time to write reviews when we find exceptional value, exceptional service

Or when we feel short changed, taken advantage of, or feel ripped off. 

This review is our opinion or a reflection of our experiences.

We are not selling anything here.

 We are impassioned by Vonage because of the exceptional value we get and its vigor in taking competing big business to task.

 Verizon (First as Ma Bell, then New York Telephone, then Bell Atlantic and now as Verizon) has disappointed us for over 25 years - nothing in the more recent past has changed our opinion

 Despite Time Warner's exceptional customer support, we believe Time Warner Digital Phone service is over priced and uncompetitive.

With the ever increasing cable prices, we are seeing diminishing value in the products offered by the company. 

Each price increase makes us more eager to leave.

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 also see our web hosting review for CrystalTech

Our PhotoImpact  Review

Our CorelDraw Review Our Purehost Web Hosting review

 Also see our Review of Time Warner Internet Cable Modem Service

We appreciate Time Warner of NY and NJ Customer Service but are disappointed with the internet speed . 

It is our opinion that the Time Warner Queens Internet Road Runner Service speed  in New York City  is not worth the price we pay