magicJack - the Saga Continues - be Careful Out There

I first posted about magicJack back in June, and I've never had a post with legs like this. I don't generate tons of comments like uber-bloggers do, but for some reason this post keeps finding people, and I think it's a sign of the times.

If magicJack is new to you (yes, that's a small "m" - part of its charm I guess), then just read my post, and you'll have the story. Basically, it's a USB gadget that gives you "free" VoIP. The company/inventor behind the product is more interesting than the product itself, and that's what my post focused on.

Aside from the post itself, the comments tell you what people really think about this thing. Just when it looks like the world has moved on to other can't-miss ideas, I get another magicJack comment last night - here's an excerpt:

I am completely shocked at how Dan Borislow has misrepresented his product, and his "free, 30 day trial" which is nonexistant. I ordered 2 on the trial, just to have my credit card immediately charged. I went to their chat window customer service, and they refused all phone numbers to reach anyone at an administrative level. They charged my creditcard without my authorization, after they sent me an email stating it would not be charged for 30 days. They then refused to reverse the charge. I will not accept their delivery, I will file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, and look into a class action lawsuit against this company, as it seems thousands have been scammed by this company's blatant misrepresentation.

Oooh. Not a happy customer, and he has more to say - check it out for yourself.

I'm always happy to get comments, but this one sets off red flags for me. First of all, magicJack is still around. They are either the real deal and must be doing something right - or, there are still loads of people out there reading mass market advertisements who will jump sight unseen at the prospect of saving some money. Unless magicJack has changed its stripes - which is doubtful based on the above comment - there's a lot of fine print that prospective buyers should be reading and understanding before placing an order.

You don't need me to tell you how bad things are out there, and telecom is not immune. What worries me is how attractive the promise of magicJack is to people trying to save money any way they can. Nothing wrong with saving money in tough times, but magicJack is hardly a straight up proposition. It may seem that way if you're not careful, but Paul's comment from yesterday is a reminder that it's not.

His parting thought says it all for me...

The moral of the story is don't trust a phone company that tells you they do not have a phone number you can call if you have a problem with billing or anything else. A phone company with no phones sure sounds fishy...

The allure of FREE is pretty strong these days, and generally you get what you pay for. Clearly magicJack is still attracting interest, and based on some of the comments I've had, they do have happy customers. However, for a product I have concerns with, I tend to put more stock in what people like Paul are saying.

In short, caveat emptor. Free can be a beautiful thing, but everything comes with a price, even VoIP!

Technorati tags: , ,