So I go to make a call on my SunRocket line and it's dead. I call customer service only to hear, "We are no longer taking customer service or sales calls. Goodbye." I also heard Nelson Muntz's "Ha-ha!" somewhere before the final click.
According to a report in Reuters, SunRocket, the second biggest VoIP operator cut off services on Monday, leaving more than 200,000 of its customers, including me, in the dark. There was no warning on its web site.
Hundreds of small competitors announced they would welcome SunRocket customers, and offered similar $199.00 per year deals: InPhonex, ViaTalk, Nuvio and many others. I think many customers may feel a bit gun-shy about laying out $200.00 bucks again and may opt for just paying $24.95 a month and being safe.
Putting a damper on consumer's confidence for any VoIP vendor of course is the current Verizon/Vonage suit. The Patent Office obviously issued patents on processes it had no clue about. If I were on the jury, Verizon would have gotten squat. Can you imagine 100 years ago if someone put a patent on the process of pressing on the letter 'A' on a typewriter. That would have stymied the growth on everything involving, newspapers, books, or even the Internet today. You would have had to pay someone a nickel anytime you typed anything at all. But what can you expect when you hire morons to run the Patent Office?
My SunRocket annual renewal was paid last January so I will be filing a chargeback request with my credit card company disputing the 6 months of services which it looks like I will not be getting. SunRocket will have to prove they rendered service properly. If they can't provide sufficient evidence, the credit card company will debit the disputed amount from their account and credit it to mine. I will let you know how that goes.
Most credit card companies will allow you to dispute a charge within 120 days of the charge, so check with your credit card company quickly before time runs out. Some will allow a dispute even more than 6 months back, but call and ask them to send you a dispute form. Some companies will require proof that you tried to resolve the problem, but I suggest giving them the 800 customer service number so they can verify for themselves that that is a dead end. I've just heard that some people are getting the run-around from AMEX because their charge is more than 60 days old. I suggest you escalate your complaints with customer service to speak to a supervisor. Don't take no for an answer.
Normally a dispute of a merchant's services should only be used as a last resort if you can't come to some agreement with a vendor. It looks doubtful in this particular case that SunRocket is in a position to refund any monies and hopefully the credit card company kept enough in chargeback reserves to give you back something on your claim.
My brother just found out that SunRocket failed to charge him back in May for his annual renewal. I suppose they were bleeding so much they weren't focusing on their business.
If you need details on how number portability works read How to keep your number.
Some, liking the independence of a single-service VoIP provider but looking for stability, might choose a service like Packet8. Others will use Skype or similar services as a place-holder for awhile, as they sort their options. Still some others will throw up their hands in "once bitten, twice shy” mode about VoIP, and go back to the landline phone provider in their area.
The majority though, will be prone to choosing a phone service operated by an entity that they’ve been doing business with for years. Someone like the Internet phone or branded digital calling service offered as a service bundle by their broadband ISP.
So if I am, say, Comcast or AT&T or Verizon I try to get rights to that old SunRocket subscriber list and offer sweet deals to those SR orphans.