dslreports logo
site
 
    All Forums Hot Topics Gallery
spc

spacer




how-to block ads


Search Topic:
uniqs
2389
share rss forum feed


RUkiddingme

@mindspring.com

[General] Vonage Superfluous fees

I just checked my recent Vonage bill to see why my bill is so much higher than what I signed up for, almost double what the actual payment fee is, to find a number of "surcharges" ranging from $.01 to $3.50 each. From what I understand, states do not mandate many of these fees. I was told by the customer service rep that some of the charges go to help libraries, etc. Really? To me this sounds like it goes to the Vonage execs lining their wallets at the end of the year with billions in profit. I'd love to find out where this money trail leads. Here are some of the charges:

Basic plan charge $19.99

(all of the extras)
Regulatory, Compliance and Intellectual Property Fee $2.99
Emergency 911 and Information Services Fee $1.99
Federal Program Fee $3.50
Sales Tax $3.15
County 911 Fee $1.00
State Excise Tax $0.92
Local Excise Tax $0.67
County MCTD Surcharge Sec. 186 $0.22
Local Transit Tax $0.14
State Franchise Surcharge Sec. 184-Access $0.11
County MCTD Surcharge Sec. 184 $0.04
State Franchise Surcharge Sec. 184-Usage $0.02
County MCTD Surcharge Sec. 184 $0.01

I'm sick of big corporations lying and stealing and if you are too, let's do something about it. Only when we all say that we've had enough and stand up for our rights, will this stop.


jjoshua
Premium
join:2001-06-01
Scotch Plains, NJ
kudos:3

1 recommendation

If you had checked here before signing up with vonage, we could have pointed you to some lower cost providers.


dcurrey
Premium
join:2004-06-29
Reviews:
·Cincinnati Bell
·ViaTalk
·Time Warner Cable
reply to RUkiddingme
What is scary is most look legit. Maybe the first three on your list a bogus pad the pocket fees and/or cost of doing business type fees. Should only be one 911 fee. Whats with the multiple State Franchise Surcharge Sec. 184-Access fees.

What city and state is this?


mrclark
What's That Daddy?

join:2000-08-04
Chicago, IL
reply to RUkiddingme
This is a great topic.
What I'm trying to find out is exactly WHAT fees and taxes need to be levied by a telco (Voip provider) to their customer base.

I've filled out and called a number on a website called Suretax.com and haven't gotten any reply from their sales team yet.

If anyone has a comprehensive knowledge of what current federal and local regulations are or knows an easy work around they'd like to share (like potentially just charging an upfront package price for minutes and what the tax ramifications would be on that) it'd be much appreciated.
--
"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and start slitting throats." - H.L Mencken


RUkiddingme

@mindspring.com
reply to jjoshua
C'est la vie! Experience is a comb that life gives us after our hair has fallen out. (forgot who said this)


RUkiddingme

@mindspring.com
reply to dcurrey
That's what I thought---why am I paying two franchise fees for their company? I'm in New York City. Let's face it, every corporation has a number of hidden fees and they can call it whatever they want because they figure that no one has the time or patience to follow the money trail and see where the money goes. It's the Wild West for corporations to do what they want and get laws passed to suit their needs. We as Americans are the ones who have to abide by these laws or face consequences. We all need to wake up and stop this!


ropeguru
Premium
join:2001-01-25
Mechanicsville, VA
reply to RUkiddingme
Maybe you should have checked this out first.

»support.vonage.com/app/answers/d···-summary

cell14

join:2012-01-04
Miami Beach, FL
reply to RUkiddingme
the first two charges seem to be too high and partially bogus. the rest looks very legit. If I look at my cell phone bill, it looks much worse than that.
Since this is political issue, i will ot further elaborate on this.
However, why the heaven did you go with Vonage? you are wasting money anyway.


ropeguru
Premium
join:2001-01-25
Mechanicsville, VA
reply to RUkiddingme
Try comprehending a little more on what you are reading.

You are getting two franchise fees because one is based on "usage" and the other is based on "access".

Thank your greedy NY politicians, not Vonage.


dcurrey
Premium
join:2004-06-29
Reviews:
·Cincinnati Bell
·ViaTalk
·Time Warner Cable

1 edit
reply to RUkiddingme
Kind of nice Vonage has breakdowns like that.

Not sure how accurate it is however. I am in Ohio it claims to charge a Federal Excise Tax of 3%. Thought that tax was done away with years ago.

If still legit Federal Tax wouldn't all states be paying it with Vonage?

PX Eliezer70
Premium
join:2008-08-09
Hutt River
kudos:13
reply to RUkiddingme
MCTD is a tax to support the MTA (subways, buses, TBTA bridges and tunnels, commuter railroads). It applies to New York City, Long Island, and some northern counties.

BUT:

It is up to a business to decide what taxes to pass through compared to what taxes to absorb.

CallCentric is based in New York, licensed and incorporated in New York, but the [only] tax they collect is the New York sales tax (for NYS residents only). They collect no other taxes or fees except 1.50 for 911.

Voipo would charge you $ 3 a month for all taxes and fees, and Voipo's basic rates are much better than Vonage.

-----------------------------------------

OOMA would charge a NY City resident a total of 4.76 in taxes and fees. Of course with Ooma you are not paying a monthly bill aside from the taxes and fees, so (for example) no sales tax will apply.

Regulatory Compliance Fee $1.78
911 Service Fee $1.59
Federal Universal Service Charge $0.39
State and local taxes, fees and surcharges (for NYC 911) $1.00

Total: $4.76


RUkiddingme

@mindspring.com
Thanks! I'll check the other companies out. It's great to have options, unlike the Time Warner Cable monopoly in my neighborhood (East Village).

bluechalk

join:2009-09-20
New York, NY
This reminds me of the unscrupulous car dealers who add an ADP fee to the car invoice.

I'll save you the trouble of googling it. ADP stands for Additional Dealer Profit.

ConstantineM

join:2011-09-02
San Jose, CA
reply to RUkiddingme

Vonage is a scam operation, period.

I'm Kimberly Klecza, and my nana is why I switched to Vonage.

What's your problem again? Why did you sign up with Vonage? It's not like they even run a monopoly (TV adverts aside), or even provide any services whatsoever that aren't available elsewhere and at a better price (granted, you would have to spend some time on doing the extra research, and manual hardware/software selection, but the flexibility and the savings are just so much better).

I've used Vonage.com and Vonage.co.uk back in 2005/2006, and it's horrible. From promising to port a number that would end up never being ported due to their lack of support for the area, to providing adapters that are advertised as being able to be used "anywhere in the world" that cannot be used anywhere outside of either ~240V (Vonage UK) or ~120V (Vonage US). If you ask me, Vonage is simply a bunch of scammers, and they are not even worth the time fighting with.

My parents tried porting their 1-252-353-xxxx number (same locality as what I've tried back in 2005) to Vonage in 2008/2010 timeframe, and they also got scammed with a promise that their number could be ported, which later turned out to be false. Vonage lets you fill in all the forms, lets you wait a couple of days, and then tells you your number cannot be ported, and you have to end up using a number from another city within the NPA, hoping you (or, better yet, or your callers) won't notice the difference. If not scam, what is it?

PX Eliezer70
Premium
join:2008-08-09
Hutt River
kudos:13
That's an excellent point.

I suppose the reason people sign up for Vonage is that they don't know any better.

TV ads do work, that's why so much money is still spent on them.

If people in the US market are not knowledgeable to the idea of switching away from the old phone company, the only advertising they see is going to be:

1) Their own cable company or sometimes their ISP.

2) Large competitors such as Verizon FiOS or AT&T U-Verse.

3) MagicJack which has always heavily pushed the ads.

4) Ooma (a small number of ads) which probably uses borrowed money to do it.

5) Vonage, which acquired millions of relatively high-paying customers because they were the pioneers, so they have cash flow for ads to bring even more high-paying customers. Since they also have outflow (churn) their numbers have been somewhat stagnant. As of June of 2011 they reported 2.4 million lines.

6) Skype, which has been promoted by folks like Oprah and Barbara Walters, and needs no advertising as a result. They seduced the entire news media of the world [Here is Wolf reporting from Bhutan by Skype]. And now of course Microsoft can cross-promote.

So, when we look at a Voipo or PhonePower or CallCentric, how is the [average] person going to know?

Average people are average, which is a tautology.

-------------------------------------------

"God must have loved the common people, he made so many of them."

That may (or may not) have originated with Lincoln.

Relatively few people belong to the IEEE or ACM, after all....

kaila

join:2000-10-11
Lincolnshire, IL
reply to RUkiddingme

Re: [General] Vonage Superfluous fees

I know Verizon won a patent suit against Vonage a few years back. I'm guessing that's part if not all of the 'Intelectual Property' fee.

PX Eliezer70
Premium
join:2008-08-09
Hutt River
kudos:13
Yeppers.

Vonage themselves state:

The Regulatory, Compliance and Intellectual Property (RCIP) Fee covers regulatory, legal, intellectual property and compliance-related expenses, including those related to customer privacy protection, anti-fraud protection, number portability and innovation, all of which enable our services to enhance your communication experience.

The RCIP fee is not a government-mandated fee. It is a Vonage fee used to specifically cover some of the costs associated with:

Compliance with State Attorney General, FCC, FTC and other regulatory agencies' requirements across the country.
Ensuring customers can readily transfer their number to and from Vonage.
Gaining and protecting patents, filing global trademark and copyright registrations, and investigating, tracking and attempting to prevent fraudulent activity.
Conducting research and development activities for new products, such as Vonage Extensions and Vonage Mobile.

This is a taxable fee assessed monthly at $2.99 per voice line, fax line, Virtual Number, Toll Free number, and Softphone.

That's some spicy meatballs.

Vonage has been sued a few times by the Attorneys General of many states, and has reached settlements.

So now they charge the customer for making sure the company behaves!

cell14

join:2012-01-04
Miami Beach, FL
reply to PX Eliezer70

Re: Vonage is a scam operation, period.

I have an advertisement allergy and my brain immediately shuts down when I see or hear an ad. But it remains an omnipotent tool. With the exception of my mom- and I pushed it down her throat- i was not able to convince one of my friends to switch from telcos, ,cables,U verses , MJ, Skype etc to decent VOIP providers. My neighbor who calls England every day still uses ATT and "special discount plan" 7c/minute plus a slew of taxes and surcharges and she would not even give a try to Localphone for 1c/minute straight. One of my friends in the NL actually refuses to call my Dutch DID because he expects some scam- he does not believe thAt he can talk to me in the US through it for free. Unfortunately, survival of the fittest is usually not the survival of the best.

PX Eliezer70
Premium
join:2008-08-09
Hutt River
kudos:13
said by cell14:

I have an advertisement allergy and my brain immediately shuts down when I see or hear an ad. But it remains an omnipotent tool.

A lot of politicians certainly thought so....

said by cell14:

My neighbor who calls England every day still uses ATT and "special discount plan" 7c/minute plus a slew of taxes and surcharges and she would not even give a try to Localphone for 1c/minute straight. One of my friends in the NL actually refuses to call my Dutch DID because he expects some scam-

I'm curious, have you ever tried to present it to them as being the same type of thing as Skype, but better? Does your neighbor trust Oprah?

Heck, invite your neighbor over to your house, let her make a call to the UK.

But you are right, people will NOT do it unless they overcome some hurdle in their own mind. There is a lot of resistance which is why POTS survives.

A lot of ignorance too.

Even in RECENT years, a lot of old folks were still paying the monthly phone rental fees dating back to the old Bell System!

See:
»blogs.computerworld.com/node/3538
»usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/off···ories%29

SCADAGeo

join:2012-11-08
N California
kudos:2
reply to RUkiddingme

Re: [General] Vonage Superfluous fees

said by kaila:

I'm guessing that's part if not all of the 'Intelectual Property' fee.

said by PX Eliezer70:

So now they charge the customer for making sure the company behaves!

I believe the Intelectual Property fee will become more common (although it may not always be expressed as such) and may now be considered as part of the cost of doing business.

The Apple/Samsung/Microsoft/Google/Oracle (global) patent wars have eclipsed the actions of another firm, Lodsys, which has been filing patent infringement law suits against software developers.

Bold Software (Bold Chat), which provides support for one of the VoIP providers, was among their targets.

Lodsys recently went after bigger targets (Ars Technica).

PX Eliezer70
Premium
join:2008-08-09
Hutt River
kudos:13
said by SCADAGeo:

I believe the Intellectual Property fee will become more common (although it may not always be expressed as such) and may now be considered as part of the cost of doing business.

Oh, exactly right....

....but litigation has always been part of the cost of business.

The problem with Vonage is listing it as a separate fee, thus allowing them to advertise a lower base price for the phone service.

Imagine if the car companies did this.

Yes, they add on all SORTS of extra fees when you buy a car, but imagine if you were buying a car for $ 20,000.00 and they said "fork over [another] $ 2,500.00 for our legal costs and R&D".

SCADAGeo

join:2012-11-08
N California
kudos:2
said by PX Eliezer70:

....but litigation has always been part of the cost of business.

imagine if you were buying a car for $ 20,000.00 and they said "fork over [another] $ 2,500.00 for our legal costs and R&D".

A very valid point.