Vonage to pay refunds to NC consumers

Posted by Peter Smelser

RALEIGH, NC (WECT) - Consumers who had trouble cancelling trial offers for Vonage's Internet phone service now have a chance to get money back.

State Attorney General Roy Cooper announced the refund opportunity Monday, as part of an agreement between Vonage and the attorneys general of 32 states to improve the company's cancellation practices and customer service.

Under the agreement, New Jersey-based Vonage has agreed to pay the states $3 million and to provide refunds to eligible North Carolina consumers who file complaints about Vonage with Cooper's Consumer Protection Division within 120 days of today's agreement.

"Deliberately giving consumers the run-around when they call to cancel is no way to do business," said Cooper. "We've gotten this company to agree to clean up its act and give consumers a chance to get their money back."

Today's agreement addresses complaints that consumers had difficulty or were unable to cancel their Vonage service after a trial period.

The states' investigation revealed that Vonage paid incentives to customer service representatives for retaining or "saving" customers who called to cancel. As a result, consumers reported that it was extremely difficult, sometimes impossible, to cancel their service with Vonage.

Cooper and the other attorneys general also had concerns about other marketing practices that confused consumers about the costs of Vonage equipment and service.

Since 2007, 65 North Carolinians had complained to Cooper's Consumer Protection Division about Vonage customer service and cancellation practices.

N.C. consumers who have unresolved complaints about unauthorized charges from Vonage should file a complaint with Cooper's Consumer Protection Division as soon as possible and no later than March 16, 2010 to be eligible to receive a refund.

Complaint forms are available online at www.ncdoj.gov or by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.

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