Magicjack: Good idea Cheap Price Bad service

Photo(Jennifer Abel @ ConsumerAffairs) Nobody’s perfect, and neither is any company; even the best-run business is bound to goof up on occasion. So if we only get one or two reader complaints about a given company, this could merely indicate a good company having a bad day. But when a company inspires a near-constant deluge of similar-sounding reader complaints, we’re more likely to suspect a trend. 


Magicjack appears to be one of those companies inspiring a steady stream of complaints every month—indeed, every week. And when we limit ourselves to only the past fortnight’s worth of Magicjack letters, we see two consistent trends: complaints about the quality of the service itself, and either difficulties or “hidden” charges involved in porting phone numbers to or from Magicjack. 

In fairness, though, we must point out that the charge to transfer numbers to Magicjack is not “hidden.” Magicjack’s website does say “Additional fees apply to transfer a number.” Granted, it says this in extremely tiny print at the very bottom of the webpage—but consider this the n-millionth piece of evidence in support of the theory, “You need to read all the fine print before you sign a contract.”

Service expiring

Magicjack Oct. 21, 2013, 8:15 p.m.Consumers rate Magicjack

Rich M. of Marlton, New Jersey told us he ported his home phone number to Magicjack for a one-year subscription. Everything went fine until about five weeks before that subscription was set to expire, and then: “Every time I pick up the phone to make a call, [I] get a warning that the number is about to expire and the call I dialed does not go through. The support folks are no help at all, telling you to renew or just suffer the messages until you do. After I had the Magicjack for awhile they removed the ability to forward the number without notice also. They just do not seem to be very customer-friendly.”

Rich is the only reader to post a recent complaint about those bizarre subscription-renewal messages – but the calls not going through at all is a constant refrain. Ira I. from Speedwell, Tenn., summarizes his Magicjack experience as “Missed calls, unrepaired problems, and nickel/dime you to death .... Been told by bank, school, health department, and doctor's offices that they have tried calling but couldn't get through. Basically any place with a multi-line switchboard cannot call through.”

Luis C. of Miami said that when he bought Magicjack, “the unit only worked three days and went off. The help could not solve the problems and I asked to cancel my services and de-port my number to my previous carrier. After 3 weeks trying to get attention to my request I have not being able to get it back, always a delay and an excuse. Awful service.”

Jaeho L. of Rockville, Maryland also had problems right out of the gate. “I used this service and soon I realized: it's not working properly. When I pressed the button, it did not recognize it at all. I wasted my time so much to resolve this issue by chatting with their serviceman (they do not have a service phone number, even).” Jaeho returned his Magicjack soon enough to get his purchase costs refunded, but was told “they cannot refund for my phone number transfer fee ($19.99) and ask money ($32.34) for port out service if I want to keep the previous phone number, which is free in most companies.”

George S. of Calgary, Alberta said he couldn’t get his Magicjack to work at all, though in his case it’s possible the problems stemmed from his international status: “I bought a new MJ plus in Canada and came to Mexico. I registered it and before I could finish registration it stopped. I tried for days to get it going with their help desks but it won’t even show on my computer …. I reported it to the Better Business Bureau of Florida but they just keep replying to me: it’s working, you just have that to plug it in and register it.”

Repairs don't last

PhotoAnother common refrain is repairs lasting only a short while before old problems returned. Ronald H, of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, “found that the sound quality was so bad that I couldn't talk on the phone. I contacted customer service numerous times and each time they would have me plug the magic jack into the computer for an update. It would work a little better for a short time, and then the sound quality would be just as bad.”

John D. of Long Pond, Pennsylvania told us, “Magicjacks are basically a scam, any way you put it. So many problems to mention …. it also seems that every time Magicjack comes out with a newer version, older ones malfunction, forcing us to buy the latest Magicjack.”

Joseph F. of Monroeville, Alabama, had similar complaints and concluded “It is ... a waste of money and time. I lost my [phone] number and important calls.”

If you have a complaint about your Magicjack service, many web postings suggest you can try emailing dan@magicjack, though John D. from Long Pond told us that it “didn't help to e-mail