on January 17, 2012
I ordered the MagicJack Plus (MJP)(NOT original MagicJack) to replace my existing Verizon land line which was costing me about $100/month (including about $40 in base access charges / fees / taxes). I used the 30-day trial period to see how the MJP worked and whether is was a viable replacement. I call-forwarded my Verizon line to the MJP for 2 weeks to receive all incoming calls and made all outgoing calls directly through the MJP. Just an alert: the 30-day free trial starts on the date of your order, not when it's activated.
BOTTOM LINE: I would recommend the MJP to friends, and I have completely migrated from Verizon to MJP .....BUT.... you get what you pay for. In my view, the cost of MJP, initially $70 plus the yearly fee of $20, greatly outweighs the things I've discovered.
1) SET-UP was easy with the computer. No problems getting a temporary phone number from MJP to call-forward from Verizon. My biggest delay was getting Verizon to add call-forwarding to my existing service, which took a week and a few phone calls to accomplish. As I was eventually going to migrate my existing number to MJP I didn't care what the interim number would be.
2) MIGRATING my existing telephone number was not an issue. It took about 36 hours (though according to MJP, could take up to 10 days).
3) CALL QUALITY: Not an issue, AFTER I moved the MJP about 3 feet away from the telephone. There was a hum in the line while it remained close to the wireless telephone set. Currently I have 7 phones (cordless and corded) hooked up without any call quality problems.
4) VOICEMAIL seems pretty simple to use (though see CONS, below). A nice feature is the notification process via email. Call forwarding to a cell phone is also possible, but I have not used that feature.
5) INTERNATIONAL CALLING: It's cheap, plus a nice feature after you dial is that MJP alerts you, at the beginning of the call, how many remaining minutes you have based on the number you've just dialed. Given the different rates in calling landlines and mobiles in foreign countries, this is a very nice feature...and eliminates the need for a calculator :-)
1) [FIXED SINCE ORIGINAL POST!!!!] VOICEMAIL is required. I have an answering machine at home that I can use so don't need the voicemail feature. The problem this causes is all calls are picked up by MJP's server and not my answering machine which I would prefer. Even this would be OK if I could either (1) disable voicemail or (2) add to the number of rings before MJP pick-up (e.g. 6 rings) As it is now I've adjusted my home answering machine to pick up after 2 rings, but that causes me to race to the phone to answer it before the machine picks up or deal with the outgoing message playing while I'm talking to the caller. I've been told "The engineers are working on it" but was given no date for when alternatives might be available.
UPDATED COMMENT: See post from Kristian below. Voicemail can now be turned off and/or delayed to allow for a local answering machine.
2) [RESOLVED SINCE ORIGINAL POST!!] ALERTS CAN ONLY BE SENT TO ONE EMAIL ADDRESS: As multiple people live in my household, having the ability for only one email address for all voicemail alerts becomes problematic. Adding the capability to send alerts to multiple emails would eliminate the need to one person to be the grand poobah of voicemail. This change can't be that hard to make.
UPDATED COMMENT: A gmail account can be used to forward voicemails to multiple email addresses. I've been using this for months without any problems.
3) CALLS GONG DIRECTLY TO VOICEMAIL: I have had a situation where my phone does not ring at all and goes directly to voicemail. Simple fix is to disconnect everything for 2 minutes to reset the entire package. It's a pain. According to the MJP "techchat" people, I will never see this problem again (yeah, I believe that one).
4) NO LIVE HELP: Chat is the only way to get help. I understand the business model, if I wanted live help then MJP would be more expensive. C'est la vie. Something to live with for now.
5) 10-DIGIT DIALING IS REQUIRED: Not a big deal, I just need to get use to dialing the area code when calling next door.
Hope that helps,
on December 17, 2011
Since I got MJ+ a few days ago, the line has been dropped just about every day at least once--that's not nearly reliable enough to function as phone service for incoming calls.
Customer support is poor. FAQ's don't really address much technically. I couldn't find any phone numbers to call on the website and used the chat line twice. Had to wait quite a few minutes for the first chat to start up--that was for help when the MJ website dumped me during the middle of initial registration. However the chat rep was reasonably helpful. 2nd chat today had a shorter delay getting started, but when I asked for help with the frequent line drops I got dropped from the chat line.
I live in central NC and get my hi-speed Internet service from Time Warner Cable. Using the Speakeasy speed test (accessible through the MJ FAQ page under "What type of Internet service does magicJack require?"), I found my upload speed averages around .95 Mbps--which should be more than fast enough for MJ+'s minimum bandwidth UPLOAD speed of 128 kb/s. However, I suspect the TWC line may be the problem--that is, if the line isn't working with high consistency, maybe that is what is causing the MJ drops.
I am giving MJ+ two stars rather than one star, because if I unplug the unit for 1-2 minutes, plug it back in, and give it a few minutes to reboot, I can make outgoing calls with moderately good call quality. So MJ+ is a dirt-cheap way for me to save phone minutes that I would otherwise have to rack up on my cell phone.
If you are thinking of giving MJ+ a try, I would strongly recommend buying it at Radio Shack (or another store?) rather than through the MJ website. (I got mine at RS for $59, which includes the first year of service.) I've seen a number of reviews about double-billings and other billing problems that suggest MJ is a company you should NEVER disclose a credit card number to.
on November 27, 2011
SKIP TO BOTTOM IF YOU JUST WANT TO READ MAGIC JACK PLUS REVIEW, AND DON'T CARE WHY THIS MAY NOT ECONOMICALLY BENEFIT CABLE TV SUBSCRIBERS:
I have some food for thought for those who have a "bundle" with their provider such as Time Warner, Verizon Fios, etc. and are looking to lower their monthly bill. I have the triple bundle with Verizon: Phone, Internet and Fios Cable. My base price for these services jumped to $120 after my 2 years promotional price expired. I'm talking just "base" to keep things simple. Base is before equipment and tax charges, so in actually, my bill comes out to a little over $150 a month. But anyway, my base is $120, and in my statement, it clearly shows that of the $120, $27 is for the phone service, $52 is for my channels, and $41 is for my broadband. I figured okay, lets drop the phone line and save $27 monthly. My base would then be $93 a month. Lets make the move to Magic Jack!
Wrong!!!!!!! That's not how it works. :(
If I remove the phone services, all the pricing changes because I'm no longer in a bundle. The savings is none existent. I was with the several reps in a span of a week playing around with all the possible combinations of upgrading or downgrading channels and internet speed. To cancel my phone, the best they came up for me was a $95 base for just internet and tv. But that required me to lower my channels and lower my internet speed. You know what, I didn't mind, the speed downgrade was minimal and the channels I subtracted I never watched anyway. I figured great! $95 for tv and internet. I save $25 a month, now lets move on to Magic Jack Plus for the landlines.
Not so fast!!!
I also asked them to present me with current triple bundle promotions for existing customers. To make a long story short, my final triple package came out to $115 base, but an upgrade in 25/25 mbps broadband and a $300 visa prepaid card. But because I was a customer on the verge of jumping ship, they gave me a $20 credit for the first 12 months. So even though the base is $115, if you factor in the $20 credit for the first 12 months and the $300 prepaid, that comes out to $92.5 base. At the end of the day, it was a better deal for me to keep the phone service, tv and have an even faster internet plan. I ended up re-upping for another 2 years, and based on these savings, the magic jack plus became moot.
So I realized that unless you're ready to dump cable tv completely, which I'm not, bundle pricing quirks and promotions will make you think twice on whether or not dropping the phone line is really a good idea. If you don't mind doing a little song and dance every 2 years when you're promotion is up, your cable company will give you goodies to retain your services. At the end of the day, I think only those who are not dependent on cable tv bundles will see a true benefit to the magic jack. If you're on direct tv or dish and you have a standalone broadband and phone services, I see the Magic Jack benefiting you. For me, I came full circle! Got myself one, ready to ditch verizon's phone line, but at the end of the day, I have to return the magic jack, it does not benefit me economically after Verizon gave me some perks.
MAGIC JACK PLUS ITSELF: 5 stars all the way!
As for Magic Jack Plus unit itself?? I don't understand the extreme range of reviews I see on the internet, it seems that people either love it or hate it. For the few days I had it, it was AWESOME!!!!!!! That's why I was gung ho on dumping my verizon phone services. I suspect maybe a portion of the people who have bad experiences have lower tier internet speeds? My broadband was 20/5 mbps when I was trying out the Magic Jack Plus and the quality was great. We had a relative overseas call us to test it out and it was perfect. But the unit does run hot, so I have doubts about it's longevity. But if you plan to keep it, when you go through the set-up, you'll have the option to order $1 replacement insurance. I wonder if they'll refund me this buck now that I'm returning it. LOL! Keep in mind, there are lots of upsells during the set-up, just dodge them all! I got my unit from Radio Shack for $59.99, first year service is included. After that it's $29.99 a year or $100 for 5 years. If I were you, I would do it annually because if they release a newer unit or model, those left over years don't transfer if you want to use the newer model. Original Magic Jack owners are upset that they can't transfer their years to the the Magic Jack Plus. I'm always skeptical of products I see on tv at 3 in the morning, but hey, this thing works. But I think a key is to have good broadband speed... I know that people like to search alternatives and one alternative is to use obi100 or obi110 with google voice. One big advantage is that there is no yearly fee after you buy the obi equipment which is like $50. But one disadvantage is that if you do this and ditch your land-line, google voice does not do 911, which is very important. The magic-jack user interface specifically has a 911 section so that you can enter your address and they register your location. People who are doing the google voice have to also subscribe to anther service for 911. Then again this could be moot because I'm sure you have a cell service, right? If you have good reception in your home, then just make sure the battery is always full, and your cell can be your 911 go-to phone. Keep in mind, they don't know if google voice will remain free next year. I suspect if GV starts charging, then it'll be competitive with magic jack. But what if it's not? What if they view their service as more higher end? Because GV is indeed cool, I have an account myself. So those are your pros and cons.
on December 27, 2011
If you are thinking of doing it, DON'T!!!! Bought two and could never get either to work! Contacted customer service (if you can call them that) via Live Chat on their website and spent 8 hours during one sitting "typing" back and forth in an effort to get it to work (in which I firmly believe they are working with other customers due to the wait time between responses) and finally they said it was sent for "review" by their "higher management". During that time I went through 6 people and was disconnected at one point. I spoke with three top ten percent agents, one supervisor, and no one could get it to work. I was very patient, non confrontational, and really just wanted to get it to work. The bottom line is the home number was not showing up on their key pad. At one point I could make calls but couldn't receive them because they went to a voicemail that didn't exist and I certainly couldn't access. But that lasted 2 hours and then no incoming or outgoing calls. I was told to wait a week for the review to conclude. I "typed" back 1.5 weeks later (thank God we had a cell phone) and the first guy told me it's still under review and when I reminded him of the Magic Jack settlement where they are supposed to address issues within 24-48 hours, he disconnected me. I called back and reverted to my initial calm approach and spent 3 hours typing back and forth only to have the 4th rep I spoke to tell me that it's still under review. HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO REVIEW? So in summary, the magic jacks have been returned. I've lost my home number that I've had for over 45 years, there's not a customer service phone number to reach these jokers, CUSTOMER SERVICE IS NON-EXISTENT WITH THESE PEOPLE and I'm contemplating calling the BBB. They've already had reports and one settlement I'm aware of. Doesn't seem they are keeping up with their end of the bargain...STAY AWAY FROM THIS!
on February 29, 2012
With the MagicJack Plus I have successfully made calls to cell phones and VOIP phones, but have not been able to call land lines. I can't even reach the land line in my house. I contacted their "customer service" by online chat (apparently the only way) two weeks in a row. Each time, the agent had me do all the obvious things, and finally said they were transferring me to "one of the top 10%" of their customer agents. The super agent repeated the ordinary agent's steps. Then they said they would resolve the problem and contact me when they had. I have yet to be contacted, and I have yet to get service.
Looking at the Amazon reviews, Magic Jack's business model is clear. Three quarters of the reviews are either 5's or 1's. It's a flip of the coin whether your service works adequately. If it does, people are ecstatic at the low cost. If it doesn't, Magic Jack blows them off. At this price it's your call whether it's worth the coin flip.
on June 1, 2012
Early adopters of the MagicJack Plus (I switched months ago) were told there was no way they could transfer their remaining original MagicJack time to their new Plus accounts. Fine. The product works fairly well and saves me a little money, so I got the upgrade from the regular MagicJack to MagicJack Plus, knowing I was going to kiss off at least two years of service I had with the old MagicJack account.
Today, June 1, 2012, people that I actually talked into getting the original MagicJack a year ago (but they didn't upgrade to Plus yet) are getting emails telling them that if they upgrade to Plus in the next 48 hours, they WILL be able to transfer their original MagicJack time to their new MagicJack Plus accounts. WHATTT???!!!!
Why would a company intentionally screw their early adopters in such a fashion? I'm getting ripped off of at least two years. What is wrong with that company??
I knew their customer service was awful which is why you can only do the "live agent" thing, no phone or email (nothing bad about the personnel themselves--they are nice and seem to do what they are allowed to--which it seems is only to parrot responses they are told to feed to customers), but for the company to pull something like this is lower than low. I spend my hard-earned money on your product and offer you support--and you punish me for buying your new product too soon?!
After one of my friends was able to stop laughing at my stupidity, she forwarded me the email. Someone named Dan Borislow, CEO magicJack, Inventor and Founder, sent this new email my friends received. Anybody got HIS phone number?