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
Windows 8 Review
Why we hate Windows 8
Best Buy Return Policy Review
We've just became aware that a government ID is now required for ALL Best Buy returns and the ID is RECORDED by Best Buy read our review - we apologize but hate it so much we posted this interrupt on many of our pages
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.
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:
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.
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.
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
Money has bought our government. Sign the online petition to Get Money Out of our politics
Talk about it, tell your friends
- 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