Author Topic: Magic-Hi-Jack  (Read 1256 times)

Renoard

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Magic-Hi-Jack
« on: July 24, 2010, 08:14:30 PM »
Magic jack could not be more aptly named. It is a scam, but like so many in recent years it has a veneer of genuine service and even reliability that could well have been used to position it as a revolutionary and legitimate household name.  I purchased MagicJack, just to check it out a little over two-years ago.  I had the same little voice that so many do saying, "It's sounds too good to be true." And phone service for slightly more than the federal tax did sound very suspicious, even without the free calling to Canada, free caller ID, free call waiting, and free conference calling, with a number in nearly any local area across the US.  But I thought that the introductory price for 1 year with a 30 money back guarantee gave me the chance to try it without too much risk.

I tried it and I was amazed.  The Dongle required a high speed usb-2 port, something that wasn't made clear up front, but some of my computers works with it so I hooked up and in minutes made my first call.  Call quality was good and using a cordless handset, I could use it from any room.  I had a phone I could take to wifi spots and on road trips without the hassle or cost of a cell phone. I was happy.

Over the following year the quality varied drastically. Occasionally the dongle would crash for no apparent reason and logging it back into magic Jack could be a problem. But on the whole, it was not worse than the local wired carrier, so I kept it. I even found real uses for it. I gave the number to prospective publisher, old friends I'd lost touch with and even current friends and colleagues.  The just before my first year was up, Magic jack began to disconnect calls while I was talking.  Admittedly some of my calls are long. I have a friend who helps me with edits over the phone. I collaborate on graphics and computer science projects. And while people have been understanding, it affects work-flow and my reputation.

But, I said to myself, the prepaid year is nearly up, maybe they just let older client drop to a lower priority or bandwidth quota t remind them to renew. I've seen worse. So like a trooper went to the website to renew and found that I would not be getting the month to month agreement a technician had promised, I would not be getting the opportunity for a new year of service. If I wanted to renew I was required to pay for five years in advance.

That bothered me. It felt like bait and switch but I had given the number to people who I might not be able to contact in order to change it (don't call us, we'll call you in 9 months or so, maybe). I needed to keep the number and I needed to keep the magic Jack. I didn't have a choice, so I signed up. Almost immediately call interruption became regular.  At a specific number of minute the Magic Jack service would disconnect one side of the call and leave the other connected. The party still connected would be talking into nothing and the other party would be force to wait a period of time before redialing. This caused no small amount of difficulty, but we worked around it. In addition the consumer espionage that magic jack engages in (they trace each call in order, so they say, to focused target advertising on the magic jack user), there as a definite lag of up to 5 seconds and sound quality issues grew increasingly bad.

Finally the interruptions began occurring at 60 second intervals and the sound quality became so bad you literally had to shout into the phone. Then just last week they began sending a busy signal to incoming callers when the magic jack was not in use, rather than sending them to voice mail. In addition they selectively blocked my access to a single number. However they have not had the decency of  using an intelligible prompt to notify me of this blockage, instead I receive three long beeps and a connection to dead air. When contacted they wanted to go through a script about rebooting the dangle and a number of other useless delays then disconnect my live chat mid sentence. The last tech I talked to said they have no idea what causes the service problems but they are aware of them and engineers are hard at work on them.

I've worked in call centers I know a "we aren't allowed to help fix the problem" lie when I hear one. But more to the point, when I use star codes to check the line the computer assures me the line is clear and that MagicJack is making successful connection. My friend whose number is blacked contacted her phone company who assured her the problem was on magic jacks side and that she should contact Magic Jack about the issue.

I researched complaints against Magic Jack and found that they have a history of blocking calls and their CEO is on record as saying, "we are not a common carrier [therefore] we can do what we want." That is an egregious attitude. And it is that sort of attitude that fuels the corporate culture at Ymax Communications, the operator of Magic Jack. I would say Caveat Utilitor, but better yet, don't buy or use it at all.

These are my own opinions which are shared by far too many magic Jack victims, and not those of any forum or website that happens to convey them.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2010, 12:01:46 PM by Renoard »
You can always get what you want if you never count the cost.

Renoard

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Re: Magic-Hi-Jack
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2010, 12:04:25 PM »
I'm aware that solidarity requires many readers not to criticize certain businesses even when they engage in fraud, but anyone willing to step forward and give an honest report on Magic Jack usage?

I'd be interested to hear from you.
You can always get what you want if you never count the cost.

Peter Ahlstrom

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Re: Magic-Hi-Jack
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2010, 09:56:49 PM »
I've never used it. What you describe sounds terrible.
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Hero of Ages

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Re: Magic-Hi-Jack
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2010, 11:36:36 PM »
I hear this all the time.  In the sake of full disclosure, I work in a call center for one of the major telecommunication companies in the U.S.  I hear similar stories multiple times a week.  The thing I hear most is exactly your experience.  The service is great for the 1st few months (usually 5-8 months) and then quickly goes to hell.  And because MagicJack and other VOIP companies are not regulated at all by the FCC (unlike the hard line phone companies who have to maintain a certain standard of service) there is no recourse other than to stop using the service.
I must not fear;
Fear is the mind killer;
I will face my fear;
I will let it pass through me;
When the fear is gone, there will be nothing;
Only I will remain.
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Anticipation of death is worse than death itself.
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