30 Free Trial?

August 28, 2008 10:03:49 AM PDT
A free trial for a phone product that left a Durham woman calling for help. It all started with an infomercial that caught Wilma Liverpool's attention.

The product, magicJack. It's a USB device that has a regular telephone jack on one end. The claim you plug the magicJack into your computer's USB slot and then a regular telephone into the phone jack and this allows you to make and receive calls via the web. You just pay a onetime fee of $39.99 that includes the first year of service, and then $19.99 each year after that. If Wilma didn't like it, she thought no worries; it comes with a 30 day free trial. Wilma thought it was risk free. She tells Troubleshooter Diane Wilson, "It looked like something good because it said no problem all you do is plug it in to your computer and you could access phone service from anywhere in the US."

Wilma got the magicJack within days of ordering it. She says, "I tried it right away and plugged it into the computer and nothing." Wilma says when she looked at the list of cities where the magicJack currently works, she realized Durham's area code isn't on the list, nor is it even a pending city to get the service. The magicJack's website states if you return the magicJack without a return authorization number, your return won't be processed. Wilma says despite filing out this return form numerous times, it kept stating there's an error. She adds, "Trying to contact people by e-mail or by phone you don't reach a live person."

So Wilma contacted Troubleshooter Diane Wilson. She had no luck filling out the return authorization form with Wilma's information as she just got the same error message. When she called the number for magicJack, just automated messages and she could never talk to a live person. So she followed the directions on the magicJack's website to chat on-line with tech help. This time, success. As the magicJack rep filled out Wilma's return authorization form and sent us the form with a return authorization number. Wilma was able to return her magicJack within her 30 day free trial. She tells Troubleshooter Diane Wilson, "I just want to thank you for your help and it pays to know people."

When buying anything that offers a free trial, make sure you read all the terms and conditions to make sure you know exactly what you have to do if you have a problem. And, usually, if you send the product back after the free trial, you're responsible for paying the shipping. Wilma found that out the hard way.

A magicJack rep did in contact us after the story aired. She added, "magicJack can be used anywhere in the world to access phone service as long as you have a broadband connection. If a Durham area code is not offered, Wilma could have simply picked any other number of area codes offered by magicJack to get her device up and running. So anyone in your area can indeed use the magicJack but they will not be able to pick a Durham area code for their device but will have it working in seconds with any other area codes that are offered."

She also stated, "Online support is the company's primary means of customer support (rather than phone). magicJack's Tech Chat is supported by hundreds of people and the average wait time is seconds. The company has grown drastically since its launch (over 1 million devices sold since Jan.) and is striving to scale its customer support to meet customer service expectations. Therefore, magicJack allows customers to rate agents on a 1-5 scale (5 being the best) those that do not receive the highest grades possible are replaced. At the end of the month, the bottom 15 percent of agents are dismissed. And for customers not happy with their rep, there is an escalation path they can follow.


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