With the end of the 2008-2009 school year, I cancelled my Vonage VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phone service. I thus joined the 18% of adult Americans (and over one in five US households) who have only cell phones. I’d previously cut the POTS (plain old telephone service) back in December of 2007, but hooked up the internet phone as a backup to the cell phone.
My Vonage plan of 500 minutes for about $23 per month was certainly cheaper than the traditional service and included nice features like Caller ID, digital voice mail, selective number blocks, and having my cell phone ring simultaneously with the internet line. And ditching my old POTS number for an unlisted internet phone cut off all of the political and other annoyance calls that the “Do Not Call” list had failed to kill off.
But I simply am not social enough to chat away on the phone, so I was getting very little use of that vestigial land line. And occasionally the internet phone would go offline, not coming back up until I cycled the power on the Motorola base unit. My iPhone service already costs me over $70 per month, so I decided to save $276 per year and go cellular only. Since my “teacher step raise” for next year will be a whopping $475 before taxes, saving $276 sounds pretty good. If I keep scrimping, I can keep up with inflation…maybe.
I figured that there would be some pain involved with the cancellation, and there was a bit. Vonage won’t let you cancel via the internet, claiming it is for security reasons. But you can do everything else online, so obviously they really just want you to talk to an agent who will try to save the account. After navigating their annoying voice-response switchboard a polite agent offered me a 100-minute monthly plan for $10 plus some fees (said plan does not appear anywhere I could find on their website), but I didn’t bite. And disconnecting the service incurred a charge of $43.19 – sounds a lot like Ma Bell’s old gotchas, doesn’t it? But it wasn’t anywhere near the pain AOL customers reportedly went through a few years back when they wanted to ditch that service, and I’ll start saving money in less than two months.
I’ll have to be more vigilant about having my cell phone charged and handy. But now I have some money I can put toward my favorite summer mental health therapy – a week of hiking along the Oregon coast. And sure enough, cell phone service out on the trail is pretty spotty – thank goodness!