Wayne Anderson, from the south Chicago suburb of Antoich, was frustrated that - how shall we say this- his efforts to cancel his Vonage service wasn't handled with the smoothest business process best practices.
Wayne was so p.o.'ed that he wrote into Stephanie Zimmermann, who writes"The Fixer," action line column in his hometown newspaper the SouthTownStar.
Here's what Wayne wrote:
Dear Fixer: I signed up for Vonage phone service last spring, and it was connected. But after one week, the service was so bad I called to cancel. My phone would ring twice and then stop. The person dialing me would hear it ring and then go dead, so they would have to redial.
I was running my business out of my home at the time, and I couldn't get the calls, so I called Vonage, and it tried everything to keep me.
But I said "please cancel" and switched back to AT&T. Just recently, I noticed a $5.99 charge on my credit card from Vonage, and I found out the company had been billing me since I signed up and had never canceled.
I called and questioned the charge. In so many words, Vonage told me: Tough luck. I asked for a supervisor, and I was told there wasn't one there. I come to find out Vonage's call center is in the Philippines. I was told there was a $49.99 charge to cancel the service. I said I wasn't paying it.
Then I sent e-mails to everyone in the system who I thought could help, and I got a phone call. The person said he was a second-level supervisor and that he was canceling my account and I would never hear from Vonage again. That was fine for a month.
I just got a letter from a collection agency for $49.99. I called and contested the charge, and the agency said it would contact Vonage again but said it wouldn't help.
It looks like Wayne did the right thing. Stephanie was able to cut through the clutter and apparently solve the issue:
Dear Wayne: You gotta love the collection agency's promise to contact Vonage or your behalf even though it wouldn't help. Now, there's honesty. We had a little better luck. We told your story to Vonage's Meghan Shaw, and she was able to get that pesky $49.99 wiped off your account. They've also requested that this be removed from collections.
Readers, I do know that Vonage makes it a witch (Mom raised a gentleman) to cancel. Have any of you had similar problems to Wayne Anderson's?