Oregon Department of Justice

Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum

Oregon Department of Justice - Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum
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ATTORNEY GENERAL JOHN KROGER ANNOUNCES $3 MILLION NATIONAL SETTLEMENT WITH INTERNET PHONE SERVICE PROVIDER

November 16, 2009

VONAGE, one of the nation's largest providers of internet-based telephone services, will issue refunds to consumers and change cancellation practices

Oregon Attorney General John Kroger today announced a national settlement with internet telephone service provider VONAGE over the company's cancellation policies. Oregon was one of the leaders of the 32-state settlement.

"Telecommunications companies need to be held accountable when they mislead consumers," said Attorney General Kroger.

The settlement puts in place a broad restitution plan requiring VONAGE to make refunds to eligible consumers who filed complaints regarding certain unauthorized charges after January 2004. Consumers with complaints about unauthorized charges by VONAGE who have not previously filed a complaint with the Oregon Department of Justice may do so here.

Consumers complained that it was very difficult to cancel service after signing up with VONAGE. Some faced lengthy hold times. In other cases, consumers said that customer service representatives failed to record cancellation requests. In addition, consumers said VONAGE did not adequately disclose that rebates would be rescinded when service was cancelled within 12 months.

Complaints about telecommunications companies ranked #1 on the 2008 Oregon Consumer Protection Top 10 list, and Attorney General Kroger has pledged to aggressively pursue claims against phone companies, cable operators and internet providers.

The national settlement with VONAGE includes $298,000 for the Department of Justice to enforce consumer protection laws.

The settlement requires VONAGE, one of the nation's largest providers of "Voice over Internet Protocol," to make significant changes to its marketing practices, honor consumer cancellation requests and provide refunds to eligible consumers.

Today's settlement also requires VONAGE to change the way it explains the offer of "free" services, money back guarantee offerings and trial periods.

Attorney General John Kroger leads the Oregon Department of Justice. The Department's mission is to fight crime and fraud, protect the environment, improve child welfare, and defend the rights of all Oregonians.

Contact:

Tony Green, (503) 378-6002 tony.green@doj.state.or.us |
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