Home > Essays, Whining > What a difference a day makes — ditching the landline part 2

What a difference a day makes — ditching the landline part 2

Talking dimeYesterday I wrote about wanting to avoid the nickle-and-dime ($50 and $100) tactics of various phone and internet companies by ditching my Vonage landline, and keeping the number (for free) via Google Voice. As Google Voice doesn’t port landlines, I decided on Net10 as a cheap way to move my number to a wireless carrier first.

But seven days after activating my Net10 phone, I still didn’t have the number fully ported and it was looking like Vonage might be able to nick me for another monthly fee (today would mark the start of my Vonage monthly billing cycle). In a bit of a panic, I fired off a second email to Net10 tech support asking what was going on. A few hours later I got a response to my first email (just 4 hours later than their 24-48 hour target for replies) telling me I could call them today to get a ticket number to find out the status of my port. Why do I need to call them for a ticket number? Why couldn’t they just have emailed it to me?

Anyway it was a moot point. At six minutes past midnight, I got a text on my Net10 phone informing me that the port was complete! Sure enough, it was now taking calls on the old landline number. But I could still make outgoing calls on Vonage, and seeing how Vonage hadn’t yet charged me for the new month, I decided to go ahead and cancel the service just to be sure. Prof. Google took me right to the appropriate page on Vonage’s site (I’ve learned not to wade through a site’s menus when trying to cancel anything online) where I found this:

Cancel vonage

Okay, I can understand why they’d want me to talk to a person — someone who could tell me about the secret, lower-priced “keep the customer” deal which it was clearly too late to offer me. At least the line was 24/7, right? But after several minutes with the perky voice menu, I got a decidedly less-friendly recording telling me that if I wanted to cancel my service, I would need to speak with someone in their billing department. Which wouldn’t open until 9:00 am. Grrr.

This morning I checked my Vonage account and sure enough they had charged me for another month. I called them at 9:02 (hi again, perky voice menu) and after an ominous warning that they were unusually busy, I got right through to a real live person who did, in fact, offer me an option that would cut my bill in half. I politely told him that if he could make it free he was on, but barring that I wanted to continue with the port and oh yes did he really think that six minutes of service was worth a full month’s bill? After reading many horror stories about people’s efforts to cancel their Vonage service I was prepared for trouble. Which never materialized: in less than 10 minutes, the service was canceled and a refund promised.

Satisfied that I now had an honest-to-goodness wireless number, I marched right over to google.com/voice and after reading and checking off all their dire warnings about what would happen if I ported my number to them (no cell phone! no text messages! dogs and cats living together!) I plunked down my $20. There’s no way to know if things will go smoothly from this point on, but after the folderol of the past week, seeing this message at the top of my Google Voice page

Google Voice status

made me downright comfortable, I’ll tell you what.

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