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highhatsize
Norm, The Basset For All Time
Premium
join:2001-02-08
Spring, TX

Majic Jack Plus Hell

A girlfriend asked me to install her Majic Jack Plus. This was her second try with the device. She had purchased the original Majic Jack a year ago and returned it because it didn't allow her to keep her current telephone number.

Upon cursory inspection, the first problem I noted was that her DSL modem only had one port. I bought a four-port replacement and proceeded to connect the Majic Jack via the "no-computer-needed" format (which actually DOES require a computer to set it up). After a bit of difficulty, everything seemed to be working. She was able to dial out but we were told that incoming calls would not get through for ten days. We weren't aware of that going in but she decided that she could stand the inconvenience.

The following morning the computer and telephone died. It turned out that by connecting the Majic Jack we had automatically DISconnected her DSL line which was a bundled service with voice telephony from AT&T. Telephoning AT&T (by cell phone) revealed that she could NOT revert to her previous plan. Rather, she would have to join "Uverse" which would require another modem ($100) of a specification with which the modem that I had purchased was not in conformity; pay a $38 activation charge; and a porting charge to report her telephone number back to AT&T of $20. (I think that there was another $20 charge thrown in there for something but I'm not sure.) In addition, AT&T would have to send a technician out to do some work on the pole outside her house to enable the connection and she could not expect either telephone or DSL connectivity for two weeks.

OK, I should have known better and should not have been lulled into complacency by the chirpy "Majic Jack" ads. Spadework was left undone. Had we known the consequences of installing Majic Jack we would never have proceeded.

Oh, yes, and had we decided to KEEP Majic Jack instead of AT&T telephone service, the DSL connection charge from AT&T would have increased from $20 to $39 a month. That makes Magic Jack(!) a $500+/year convenience.
--
Cordially,

SANFRANSON

"When you come to a fork in the road, take it." - Yogi Berra

vintagewino

join:2003-07-22
Grimsby, ON
kudos:2
Reviews:
·TekSavvy DSL
As much as one would like to blame MagicJack for all the world's ills, the fact is, only your GF and the telco she is with knew what sort of bundle she was on. Porting the number to a new carrier cancels the dial tone, so unless provisions were made to put her on a "dry loop", indeed, everything got cut off.

Every telco will give you discounts when you package multiple services. That's where you have to examine what the telco package is, and that it entails to unbundle, and go a la carte.

She would have been far better to get a new number from MJ, and use that for her LD calling and/or traveling usage. Very inexpensive calling costs to use MJ from your laptop when you're out of your cell carrier's area of coverage (roaming).

Personally, I would never port my original home phone # to MJ. There is a yearly surcharge to keep a Canadian #, so between that and some of MJ's policies, Ill just stick with the # MJ assigned me. When I no longer want/need the MJ, it's history, and everything else remains the same.

Ran into similar problems with my old cell carrier 4 years ago. Upgrade the phone, and you lose your old cell phone plan, as they "grandfathered" you into it with your old phone. Any changes of any sort, and you're screwed.


JonBlack

join:2003-08-10
Charleston, SC
reply to highhatsize
If I followed your post correctly your beef should be with AT&T and not MJ. Honestly, I'm not for sure if I followed correctly and I'm reading between the lines.

Did your GF port her AT&T landline number to MJ?

If so, then it is typical for incoming calls not to come through for a number that has not been completely ported to a VoIP provider. This is not a MJ specific issue.

Also, if you have DSL and a landline and you port the landline phone number to another provider; then the DSL will be disconnected when the port completes. I know it sucks and it is a nasty surprise when it happens but it's how AT&T rolls with DSL/landline accounts. This is not MJ's fault.

The reason is that the DSL account is attached to the landline phone number. So when the port of the phone number goes through, poof, they kill the DSL account too. I think that is a bad practice. I would think that AT&T would somehow just separate the accounts if a port occurs but they don't. This is not MJ's doing.

Also, yep once DSL is cancelled for whatever reason, AT&T will very unlikely let you have DSL back. They are slowly pushing everyone towards Uverse and sooner or later if Uverse is offered in your area you will lose DSL one day. Once again this is not MJ who is the culprit.

I definitely think your anger should be more directed to AT&T rather than MJ. MJ has a lot of faults/problems but the ones you described are not their fault.


highhatsize
Norm, The Basset For All Time
Premium
join:2001-02-08
Spring, TX
reply to highhatsize

Re: Magic Jack Plus Hell

to vintagewino and JonBlack:

I'm not really angry at Magic Jack so much as at myself for not doing the needed preliminary investigatory work. What I do fault them for is their commercials which make it appear that one need only connect the Magic Jack hardware without any further effort required.

I was only in town for a week at the time my girlfriend asked me to hook Magic Jack up so I pushed the installation without doing "due diligence". As a matter of fact, the dsl connection died as I was awaiting my ride to the airport.

The fact is that my efforts resulted in disaster, through my own ineptness, through AT&T policies, and through Magic Jack non-disclosure. I would think that the least that Magic Jack could do is include a caveat in their commercials that advises customers to verify that installation will not abort their broadband connection.

That being said, if the connection works as advertised, Magic Jack is a good deal for people who make lots of long-distance calls but is it better than, for instance, the google service that keeps asking me if I want to make free long-distance calls using their software?
--
Cordially,

HIGHHATSIZE

"When you come to a fork in the road, take it." - Yogi Berra

vintagewino

join:2003-07-22
Grimsby, ON
kudos:2
Reviews:
·TekSavvy DSL
All the big telco's look after themselves, first and foremost.

Yeah, when a number is ported, the telco assumes the client has vacated and left the building - no dial tone, no nothing. Nobody home, unless you specify you want the DSL on dry loop. But then, you're unbundling, so bend over ...

It's trying to correct it afterwards is when you have to jump through hoops backwards - and pay dearly for it. Certainly not a way to endear the customer to the telco.

In my area, the "last mile" is operated by Bell. I can get a wholesaler to sell me Bell POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) at a lesser cost than from Bell, but if troubles occur, it becomes a b!tch to get repaired. The owners of the last mile do not play nice.

Yeah, the MJ ads certainly make it look nice'n'easy. Sort of is easier, if you take a telephone # from them. I use my MJ strictly for outgoing calls, mostly long distance from home. Got the old style, and if it blows up tomorrow, I'm still further ahead with what I've saved on LD, even from a somewhat reasonable supplier. And I still have a few years to go before the plan expires. And even with my not-so-great internet connection, it's land line quality.

All telcos enshrine themselves in contracts with tiny fine print so that you need a team of Philadelphia lawyers to help you understand what few rights you have NOT agreed to. Sadly, caveat emptor.

As long as you managed to get things back to a satisfactory form, (albeit poorer), that's all that counts. I'd still consider the thing for outgoing LD calls, though.