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PhonePeople.com, California Complaints & Reviews - Phone People is illegally hoarding toll-free nos.

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PhonePeople.com

Posted:    Houston Consumer

Phone People is illegally hoarding toll-free nos.

Complaint Rating:  50 % with 14 votes
Contact information:
PhonePeople.com
PHONE PEOPLE
California
United States
Phone: 858373-6637
phonepeople.com
Last year our company, Kinetic Energy, signed up with Phone People to provide us with a 1-800 telephone number and telephone services. We now want to cancel our contract with them and take our three 1-800 numbers with us to our new telephone service provider.

When we informed Phone People that we wanted to "port our phone number away", their Customer Service wrote us back an email stating that "Numbers assigned to you by us are the sole ownership of Phone People and are non-transferable, except where prohibited by local laws. In the event you are found to have violated this policy, you agree to immediately return the number and pay a fine an equal to $500."

This is in direct contradiction to US Federal law. Pursuant to the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (the "Act"), 47 U.S.C. Section 251(e)(1), the Federal Communications Commission has implemented rules to ensure "the efficient, fair, and orderly allocation of toll free numbers" and, specifically prohibit the hoarding of toll free numbers. Hoarding is defined as a practice whereby a toll free subscriber acquires more numbers than the subscriber plans to use. Hoarding also includes number brokering, which is the selling of a toll free number for a fee.

We have tried numerous times to call and email Phone People since receiving their email but they do not answer their phone (Tel: 800-510-5500) nor do they send us a reply email.

They are clearly engaged in the illegal practice of hoarding. They have a C- rating with the CA Business Bureau. We wish the FCC would shut them down.
Comments United States Telecommunications
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 29th of Apr, 2009 by    PhonePeople -2 Votes
PhonePeople does not sell toll free numbers, we provide a monthly hosted pbx toll free service. Complete policy details are clearly outlined within the customer agreement which is agreed too at the time any order is placed.

Complete terms of our customer agreement can be found at http://www.phonepeople.com/agreement.aspx
 29th of Apr, 2009 by   Michael +2 Votes
People - decide for yourself if Phone People is telling the truth when they wrote their comment above!!

Please see Phone People's Terms of Service Section 20(a) which says "YOU UNDERSTAND AND AGREE THAT YOU ARE NOT THE OWNER OF ANY PHONE PEOPLE NUMBER ASSIGNED TO YOU BY THE COMPANY. OWNERSHIP OF ANY SUCH PHONE PEOPLE IS VESTED SOLELY IN THE COMPANY (AND YOU ARE GIVEN A REVOCABLE LICENSE TO USE SUCH IN ACCORDANCE WITH THIS AGREEMENT). "

So, according to their own Terms of Service, Phone People IS saying that they own the toll-free number that they help their PBX customers get from the toll-free number central repository. Also, see the excerpt above from their email where they wrote ""Numbers assigned to you by us are the sole ownership of Phone People and are non-transferable, except where prohibited by local laws. In the event you are found to have violated this policy, you agree to immediately return the number and pay a fine an equal to $500."

The next sentence in Section 20(a) of their Terms of Service prevents porting if they have helped you get the toll-free number and reads: "YOU ARE EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED FROM CAUSING OR ATTEMPTING TO CAUSE THE PHONE PEOPLE NUMBER ASSIGNED TO YOUR ACCOUNT TO BE TRANSFERRED TO ANY OTHER SERVICE PROVIDER, TELEPHONE CARRIER OR ANY OTHER PERSON OR ENTITY (ALSO SOMETIMES REFERRED TO AS "PORTING" THE TELEPHONE ).

This is CLEARLY CONTRARY to FCC Rules explained in this FCC publication: http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/numbport.html.

It seems to us that Phone People is blatantly violating federal telecommunications law.


ps: For more reading of problems with Phone People, read here: http://www.tollfreenumbers.com/blogs/providers/phonepeoplecom-terms.html.
 30th of Apr, 2009 by   TollFreeNumbers.com +1 Votes
Their own description and keywords says very clearly that they do provide toll free numbers and toll free service.



To claim that they don't after they clearly described and portrayed their service that way through out their whole website is clearly dishonest. If every page on their website says they offer toll free service but one paragraph of the terms uses slightly different language to technically claim that they don't offer toll free service is clearly dishonest to the core.

Which one is true, the description of their service on almost every page of their website including their home page or one paragraph #21 of their terms? I'd love to see them try to make that argument to the FCC and explain why portability shouldn't apply to their customers.

What does anyone else think?

Bill Quimby
TollFreeNumbers.com
The Internet's Toll Free Search Engine
 1st of May, 2009 by   Sarah +2 Votes
One cannot provide a hosted toll free service without also acquiring numbers for the customer to use. Therefore Phone People, you are a toll free number seller. The FCC agrees with all comments here and you really should take another look at your business prior to making bogus statements to your customers. Phone People is a hoarder and you'll find out the hard way if you sign up with them. Tell me Phonepeople, how do you provide the service without selling a number? I'd like to see your proof of ownership from the SMS/800 Registrar.
 1st of May, 2009 by   Houston Consumer +2 Votes
As a follow up to my intial post, in addition to trying to pressure us into paying a fee prior to porting our toll-free numbers away, Phone People additionally tried to strong arm us into agreeing withdraw all complaints we had made about them. Specifically, Phone People emailed us several times that they would only release our toll-free numbers if we: a) paid them their port-out fees first and b) agreed “not to file any complaints or take any further action in relation to this matter”. [ Yes – they actually wrote that and we have saved it all as evidence! ]

We contacted the FCC to ask them to investigate Phone People for violating federal telecommunications law. We have also contacted the California Better Business Bureau who has begun an investigation. Lastly, we have contacted a number of members on the US House of Representatives Sub-Committee on Telecommunications and have asked them to enact legislation to require toll-free telephone service companies such as Phone People to provide their customers with the FCC Consumer Fact Sheet on Portability and also to have a clear link to this FCC publication on their website at all times.

So in conclusion, we are sorry that we ever signed up with Phone People and would caution potential customers to really look at all of the information that other customers have posted about them here and elsewhere on the internet.
 7th of May, 2009 by   Lawrence +2 Votes
Here is the key to Phone People's scam. You sign up for their service because you need a Toll-Free Number and you need them to get you one because only a "RespOrg" can get a toll-free number from the central pool at SMS800. Then, Phone People buries this sentence in their Terms of Service: "YOU UNDERSTAND AND AGREE THAT YOU ARE NOT THE OWNER OF ANY PHONE PEOPLE NUMBER ASSIGNED TO YOU BY THE COMPANY." You unwittingly agree to it because when you emailed them to get service, you said "I need a toll-free number", or something to that effect, thinking that they would result in YOU getting a toll-free number that you own and can use forever. But, when Phone People gets "your number", they register THEMSELVES as the "Subscriber of Record" meaning that THEY OWN THE NUMBER! And then, they can merrily hold you hostage.


Funny that Phone People doesn't bother to mention this important "Subscriber of Record" phrase in their Terms of Service. However, in their parent company's (j2 Global Communications) most recent 10-K (http://apps.shareholder.com/sec/viewerContent.aspx?companyid=JCOM&docid=6438267) knows about it. In fact, on p. 10 of their 10-K, they include a Risk Factor in bold which states that "Our business could suffer if we cannot obtain or retain telephone numbers". Meaning their business will suffer if they cannot continue to hold customers' toll-free numbers hostage. Nice!


In the paragraph under that heading in the 10-K, they even go so far as to proudly state that they are "the customer of record for all of our U.S. telephone numbers" but admit that "from time to time, certain U.S. telephone carriers illegally inhibit our ability to port numbers or illegally port our telephone numbers away from us to other carriers". It is interesting that they DON'T TELL THEIR CUSTOMERS in their Terms of Service that they have designated themselves as the "Subscriber of Record" for the Customer's toll-free number but then they get miffed if people stand up to them and port the toll-free numbers away. In fact, Phone People gets downright nasty at this point and starts threatening $500 penalties, disconnection of your toll-free numbers, slamming the numbers back to Phone People where they can disconnect service, etc..


The "Subscriber of Record" concept is a small but very important point, my friends, as it is the reason why Phone People feels it is able to blatantly subvert the FCC Rules on portability. If you don't believe me, ask Phone People point-blank before signing up that if you set up an account with them and ask them to procure a toll-free number for you, who will be the designated "Subscriber of Record"??

Gotcha Phone People!
 8th of May, 2009 by   Houston Consumer +1 Votes
Yes- This is EXACTLY what happened to us!

Fortunately the FCC has taken a keen "interest" in our dispute with Phone People and is intervening. We have sent the FCC copies of all the intimidating emails which detail Phone People's threats to hold our toll-free numbers hostage as well as Phone People's requirement that we had to agree to drop all complaints against them before they would release our numbers. FCC also has also seen Phone People's sneaky Terms of Service.

The FCC Enforcement staff has been EXTREMELY HELPFUL in this matter. I would encourage anyone that has a problem with Phone People to contact the FCC Enforcement Division immediately.
 1st of Jul, 2009 by   BRITTNDARKO12 0 Votes
HORRIBLE!!!

PHONEPEOPLE.COM STINKS, STAY AWAY FROM THESE JOKERS!!! THEY ADVERTISE SERVICES FOR 9.98 AND SURELLY AT THE END OF THE MONTH BILLS WAS ABOUT 100. THEY TOLD ME I HAD ADDED ALL THESE EXTRA FEATURES AND I HAD 13 EXTENSIONS NOT 3. I NEVER NEW I WAS BEING CHARGED FOR THIS STUFF AND THEY TOLD ME I SHOULD HAVE LOOKED AT MY PLAN IT CLEARLY TELLS ME WHATS INCLUDED. PARTY ITS MY FAULT BUT I WAS NEW TO THIS AND I WAS TESTING THINGS, BUT THEY SHOULD TELL YOU THAT YOU WILL GET CHARGED OUT THE A** FOR THE FEATURE WHEN YOU CLICK ON IT. YOU WOULD THINK THEY WOULD WORK WITH YOU AND HELP YOU OUT SINCE IT WAS YOUR FIRST MONTH, BUT NO THEY OFFERED TO TAKE OFF FEW BUCKS ! SCREW THEM DONT USE THESE GUYS!!!
 3rd of Jul, 2009 by   anti-phonepeople 0 Votes
My company experienced the same trouble with Phone People. After filing an informal complaint with the FCC, Phone People suddenly agreed to allow us to port our toll free number, for a small fee of $40. We ultimately paid them the $40, but now after reading this board I think we may dispute that charge.

Be careful after you port your number away: I just realized that even though the 800 number is no longer serviced by them THEY ARE STILL CHARGING US! WTF is this!? Is porting our one and only toll free number away from them not enough for them to cancel the account??

I'm going to read up on the FCC mandates and relevant federal regulations, but it seems that charging someone for a phone number you're not actually providing service for is blatantly illegal. If anyone else is having this trouble please let me know. I’d like to hear about how you remedied this situation.

BTW – “Phone People” is a dba for “J2 Global Communications”.

J2 Global Communications
6922 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028
 18th of Aug, 2009 by   almost cheated 0 Votes
Thank goodness we didn't submit paperwork with Phone People! I read the fine print and didn't have the 'warm fuzzys" with the language. I was concerned about several things:

***They don't send their agreement to you or tell you about it (fine print to you)-- you find it hidden on their site!!

***They can change the rate plans at anytime without notifying you. It is your responsibility to check their site on a regular basis to check what your current rates are.

***They charge DOUBLE LAG billing. Which means, if you received a 10 minute toll free call, you are actually charged 20 minutes in long distance charges!!!

***If you cancel their program before three months, they charge a large penalty on the credit card you gave for their file!

***If you port your number from them (which it sounds like they don't let you do often), they charge you $40.00!

***We didn't submit our paperwork after I read the fine print and when I called to close our file and delete our credit card from their file, customer service hung up on me four times! The sales department ANSWERS all the time, they say they have no manager on duty and then transfer you to customer service-- so they can hang up on you again. I finally got through and they gave me an email address to send my cancellation (still not sure why I had to cancel as I never submitted paperwork, they didn't port my number and I never used their service... but, hey... I don't want them to do something shady!) and when I submitted the email, it came back as undeliverable!!

STAY AWAY FROM THIS COMPANY-- IT SOUNDS LIKE THEY RIP EVERYBODY OFF!!! I AM GLAD I READ THE FINE PRINT... SOUNDS LIKE MOST PEOPLE DON'T FIND THE AGREEMENT. THEY DEFINITELY MAKE IT HARD TO FIND AND THEY DON'T TELL YOU ABOUT IT!!

IT'S LOCATED AT:

http://www.phonepeople.com/agreement.aspx
 28th of Sep, 2009 by   tracy freeman 0 Votes
If you have a small business the best way to increase business is to make it a whole lot easier for you customers to contact you by having a toll free number. I have had one for a long time now and i can say that was a good decision on my part. Ive tried multiple companies and the best yet has been http://www.tollfreenumber.org. All companies have different plans but in the long run tollfreenumber.org was a lot cheaper and better.
 1st of Dec, 2010 by   MaxEng1 0 Votes
In my case, all I want to do is keep my local area code number for fax services and use it with another, much less expensive provider. Again, j2 Communications is claiming that it "owns the number, " which seems to me to be an attempt to end-run around the FCC rules - they refuse to release it for re-porting. Any phone company could make the same claim; why has j2 Communications not been prosecuted for flouting federal law?
 24th of Jun, 2011 by   Superiornova -1 Votes
There's a phone number (877-874-5811) which Phone People made that calls every person who does their Survey (Survey unknown) and asks "Is (person's name) there?" and has multiple reactions when people respond. At "http://800notes.com/Phone.aspx/1-877-874-5811" there are THIRTY-FOUR pages with at least FIFTY-FIVE complaints PER PAGE, altogether that's about one-thousand-eight-hundred-seventy-eight complaints just from ONE of Phone People's phone numbers that THEY created. I also demand something be done about Phone People, and with help, I won't stop until something is done, and I myself have chosen to make room in my buisy accountant schedule just to put an end to this. I hope others understand and try to do the same.
 11th of Dec, 2011 by   marksi 0 Votes
phonepeople.com is scam. I was billed $35 and I receive no service, no free trial. And i can't cancel it.. I am afraid they stoled my credit card info and will bill me next month. The only way I think is to cancel my credit card from my cc company.

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