ViaTalk is Okay, Not That Good

So a couple months ago, I switched my phone service to ViaTalk from SunRocket. ViaTalk so far has worked okay but their customer support is exceedingly poor. It’s my understanding that they received a huge influx of customers fleeing SunRocket which overloaded their support staff. But even now, support response times take weeks and months. I’m not kidding. I’m a light support user generally, but they took forever answering my support tickets, which were not complicated issues at all.

Signing Up

When I signed up, I didn’t know they were getting deluged with new orders so I did not get their “rush processing”. I opted for their free shipping which waives a $9.95 fee. But after waiting a few days with no movement on the order, I submitted a ticket asking for rush processing and for them to add the $9.95 rush fee. Well it took another few days for them to send out the order. So much for rush processing. On the order it still listed the $9.95 shipping fee but no mention of rush processing. Oh well.

Getting the Right Special

The day I signed up, they changed the “buy 1 year, get 1 year free” special to “buy 1 year, get 3 months” just a few hours after I signed up. So obviously after getting my equipment and having the account set up, my next concern was whether I was getting the right deal. I logged into my account and lo and behold, I got 15 months instead of 24. So I submitted a ticket asking for the proper credit and explaining my situation. This ticket literally got ignored for 2 months. Sounds ridiculous but I’m serious – it was submitted on Aug 5th and by Oct 1st, it had no response from staff and was placed on hold so I couldn’t even add to the ticket. So I submitted another ticket with the same info on Oct 1st and this time I get a faster response. This time it finally gets resolved. The older ticket finally got a response on Oct 13, by the way.

Asking for the PAP2 Admin Password

The adapter that Viatalk sent me is a Linksys PAP2. In order to tweak some of the more advanced settings, it requires a password that only Viatalk can give you. So I submitted a ticket requesting this information on Sept 4. They ask me for verification information which I provide. Viatalk then proceeds to ignore this ticket for 3 weeks. Finally another support rep responds, asking for the SAME information that I already provided in the ticket. Seriously? Come on, now.

I provide the same info again and Viatalk disappears for another month. During this time I reply to my own ticket repeatedly. I then resort to copying and pasting a one line reply every few days asking for the password info. On Oct 23 (yesterday), the guy finally provides the information and adds that replying to my own ticket only delays the response because they answer tickets based on how long ago the last reply was.

Well, I beg to differ Mr. Iversen, because replying repeatedly actually got me a response but waiting a month doesn’t. You fail as a company when you annoy the hell out of your customers. You really have to question Viatalk’s long term viability when so many customers complain about poor customer service. How many will stay after their contract is up?

The Service Itself

The service works fine most of the time. But for some odd reason, some outgoing calls fail to connect on first try – this happens sporadically but a few numbers never work. Another odd thing is when I call my home phone using my business line, it goes straight to voicemail and the incoming call doesn’t show up on my home line. I wonder how many other people have called my home and experienced this?

Final Thoughts

Overall, it’s dirt cheap phone service ($199 for 2 years plus $2.50 per month of USF and taxes). It comes out to just $10.80 per month for unlimited calling nationwide. My home phone doesn’t get used much so I’d like to keep the cost as low as possible. I understand you get what you pay for, but for simple tickets like mine that don’t involve any technical troubleshooting, it shouldn’t take 1-2 months just to reply. All they had to do was look up the relevant info.

You could say “well, why didn’t you just call?” – you have to wait on hold for at least 45 minutes before you reach someone! Numerous people have complained that hold times are ridiculously long, many times taking hours. I think even 10 minutes is too long, not to mention 45. Do you have the time to sit around waiting on hold for that long?! And the whole point was that my issues were minor so I was willing to use the ticket system. However, I’m NOT willing to wait 2 months for a reply.

Anyone know of other decent VoIP providers? This whole support fiasco has left a very sour taste in my mouth.

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