Vonage / Cancellation fee
I recently called Vonage to cancel my account and found out that I would be charged $39.99 to do so. I followed up this letter. It should sum everything up nicely...
This is to serve as a letter of formal dispute to Vonage Marketing LLC.
I have had Vonage phone service for approximately 1 year. I chose the service to use solely as a fax line and had access to 500 minutes a month. I have paid an estimated $360 in fees for this service. However, I have only used a combined total of 149 minutes during my entire 14 months with the company.
Needless to say it was in my best interest financially to cancel my account. I called on April 7, 2009 and spoke to a very pleasant customer service agent. He informed me that he would be able to cancel my account but wanted to make me aware that there would be a $39.99 fee to do so. We debated this fee for approximately 10 minutes, which only left me frustrated, in tears, and finally angry with the company. This gentleman was so familiar with the absurdness of this policy that he was able to calm me down, assure me that he knew there was no one that would waive this fee, and then provide information on how to file a formal dispute or pursue legal action. He had first hand knowledge from previous customers on how to contact the company and what the most efficient method was.
I was appalled that a company could be so unethical that its own employees knew the best ways for customers to file complaints. He pointed me to a clause in the terms and conditions that reads:
"8.7 Disconnection Fee (Does Not Apply to Business Plus Customers).
You will be charged a disconnection fee of $39.99 per voice line if your service is disconnected, subject to state and local laws.However, if your subscription date is on or after February 1, 2007 and is disconnected after 2 years following your subscription date, the disconnection fee is waived. If your subscription date is on or before January 31, 2007, the disconnection fee is waived if your service is disconnected 1 year following your subscription date."
I mentioned that this is worded in such a way that the average consumer would read it to mean that if the account is involuntarily disconnected, such as when a bill is not paid; this clause does not state anything about voluntary cancellation of the service. He agreed that it is very misleading.
I have paid your company over $350 in fees and used exactly 2% of the services that I was charged for. It is completely outrageous to charge me an additional $39.99. I am trying to make financially sound decisions in tough economic times and believe that everyone, including companies both small and large, should do the same. Honesty, fairness, and kindness should come before money in every situation. I teach at a public middle school in an inner city and stress to my students on a daily basis the idea of living a life that is worthy of respect. How will our kids ever learn that if we don't first set the example for them?
Do the right thing. Stop putting your customer service agents in a position where they have to present legal dispute options because of their company's selfish ways. Stop charging your customers unnecessary fees just to advance yourselves. We teachers, nurses, firefighters, and community service workers work for far less than the average business person (I would know, I left a life in real estate and sales for a low paying job as a teacher) and we want nothing more than to see people live in a way that honors others.
If large companies set the example, others will follow. Customers would flock to a company that sets themselves above the rest by treating their people with fairness and respect. Respect the time of your employees and your customers. Respect their money. Respect yourselves as a corporation. Do the right thing.
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