(MONTGOMERY) - Attorney General Troy King announced a $3 million, 32-state settlement with Vonage, one of the nation’s largest providers of a service known as “Voice over Internet Protocol”, an Internet-based phone service. The settlement requires Vonage to make significant changes to its marketing practices, honoring of consumer cancellation requests, and provide refunds to eligible consumers.
“This settlement protects consumers by making it easier for them to exercise their right to cancel Vonage if they wish, and by making it clearer what services are provided and at what cost,” said Attorney General King. “It is important also that eligible consumers will receive refunds for their claims of unauthorized charges.”
The settlement addresses complaints in which consumers alleged having difficulty or being unable to cancel their Vonage service. Vonage formerly paid incentives to customer service representatives for retaining or “saving” customers in lieu of cancellation, when consumers called to cancel. As a result, consumers reported that cancellation was extremely difficult and sometimes impossible. The agreement puts strict limitations on this practice and requires recording and verification of these telephone calls.
The settlement also addresses a number of other marketing practices, which have led to consumer confusion about the cost associated with Vonage equipment and service. Specifically, Vonage will be revising its disclosures regarding the offer of “free” services, money back guarantees and trial periods.
The settlement puts in place a broad restitution plan requiring Vonage to make refunds to eligible consumers who filed complaints regarding unauthorized charges from January 2004 to March 16, 2010, which have not been resolved. Consumers who believe they may be eligible for such refunds may contact Attorney General King’s Consumer Protection Division by calling toll-free 1-800-392-5658, by mail to 500 Dexter Avenue, Montgomery, Alabama 36130, or through the webpage at www.ago.alabama.gov. Claims must be filed by March 16, 2010.