Is MagicJack a Scam?

By Carlos Portocarrero on 16 December 2009 (Updated 28 June 2011) 70 comments
Photo: MagicJack

How much would you pay for unlimited local and long distance on your land line?

Verizon's Freedom essentials offers all that and caller ID, voicemail, and call waiting for $54.99. AT&T offers a similar deal for around $34. I say "around" because their site is very confusing to get a quote from unless you're willing to actually order service from them. And then you have MajicJack, which promises the same services for just $20/year after buying the $40 device. That comes out to $1.67 per month and immediately raises all kinds of suspicions, especially after you watch their commercial:

It looks a little too good to be true, doesn't it? It reminds me a little bit of those 12 a.m. infomercials promoting stock-picking software that will make you rich.

But is the MagicJack really what it seems or is it just a bunch of fluff marketing? I decided to do a little digging and find out for myself. (See also: Frugal Ways to Stay in Touch on the Road)

What It Does

The device itself is pretty simple: you hook it up to your computer's USB connection and it uses your existing Internet connection to make phone calls. Kind of like Skype does, just in a different way.

The technology behind it is actually pretty good and when it works, it works exactly as advertised. That's how they get all those big names in their blurbs — the darn thing actually works.

If you need reassurance (as I did), check out the reviews from PC Magazine and the Boston Globe.

The Problems

As any product that seems too good to be true, the MagicJack has some issues: their customer service sucks. In order to save money, they've tried to assist all customers with live chat that's outsourced to the Philippines.

In part, it makes sense: if you're having phone problems you may not be able to call anyone. But most people have cell phones and when you're having serious issues most people will want to talk to someone on the phone.

That's been some of the reason why MagicJack gets such a bad rap.

Some people also feel scammed because MagicJack will track the numbers you call to try to show you more relevant ads in its software...something the infomercial obviously fails to mention. It's a little spooky and makes you wonder how you're really paying for the service.

It's a Good Product, but Not for Everyone

This PC Magazine story says it best:

As tech journalists, we can handle [routine networking problems], but for the average user that's a recipe for disaster.

The commercial makes it sound so easy that anyone can use MagicJack because it's so easy and so cheap. Turns out it's not that easy if you aren't technically savvy when a problem arises. Also, if your computer is off or is having problems, your phone won't work either. And we all know how often computer problems happen.

In Closing

MagicJack is NOT a scam — it's a real product that works as advertised. But they don't tell you the full story about the advertising, tracking your calls, and dependencies on your computer. But for $20/year you could save a ton of money, so the downsides are to be expected.

In the end, MagicJack is guilty of nothing more than bad customer service and cheesy advertising. In that, they are hardly alone. If you can deal with the quirks, MagicJack might be a great way to save hundreds of dollars.

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Guest's picture

Thanks for the honest review. I have to say it seemed liked a light night infomercial to me, so it is good to have a more balanced view.

Guest's picture
Guest

there is no 30 day trial. They charged my credit card 30 seconds after getting it in the order then claimed for the next 3 days that they did not have any order yet from me. There are NO LIVE SERVICE PEOPLE. Instead they offer an animated live chat with operators in a foreign country named"Honey" Stella" and "Ruby" who ask the same id questions have you hold for 30 minutes and then come back and tell you to check back in 2 hours.

There are hundreds of people in the same boat. DO NOT ORDER. The good reviews u read are placed by employees meant to dupe you. They are making tons of money by overcharging cards I'm calling the attny genl and better business bureau.

Guest's picture
Guest

did you not read the other posts?? buy one at RADIO SHACK
then there is no credit card problems i have been using mine for over a year and have saved HUNDREDS of dollars and sorry but anybody that uses a credit card online other that a pre paid temporary card is asking for trouble that way you can put the amount you want to spend on the service or item on he card and then there is nothing else to lose sorry about the bad customer support but this site CLEARLY states the support sucks!! and it does but it is still a good product and i do NOT work for them i just have an opinion please DONT buy one if you dont want to no skin of my back but like i said ive saver hundreds of dollars in long distance just with the calls to my mother in law

Guest's picture
Guest

I found it hard to find a cordless phone that I could plug into it and have it work. It worked fine with the $8 corded phones from wal-mart, but who uses a corded phone? I had all sorts of problems with a corded phone, from it not ringing to it not being able to detect the dial tone at all.

Guest's picture
Goodgyrl

I have a $200.00 phone system and Magic Jack works very well. The main phone is plugged into the Magic Jack and all the others are plugged into the wall sockets. I can dial out and answer calls. Never had a problem. Maybe I am lucky I don't know. What I do know is that as long as they offer this service I will have it. Especially on vacations.

Guest's picture

I've been using it for about 2 years now and it definitely isn't a scam. But it has it's quirks, your computer has to be on and the software seems buggy - I regularly have to restart the software in order to make a call... But when all is said and done I have saved hundreds of dollars on long-distance with it, so I am happy...

I wrote a more thorough review of it, for those interested...

Guest's picture
David

As an American expatriate living in Ukraine, when I visit the States again next year, I will be getting one of these. I know a number of people like myself who either use them themselves, have relatives abroad using them, or both--and most of them are very happy with the device. It would certainly save me a huge amount of money calling family and friends in the U.S.

As you say, it may not be for everyone--it requires a computer connected to the Internet, preferably by broadband. For those with computers, though, it certainly doesn't seem all that complicated.

Guest's picture

The key phrase, in my experience, is "when it works." I had a unlimited national/canada phone service through the cable company which was $49.99 per month, and a cell, when I got laid off from my job. I decided to try this Magic Jack thing, and if it worked, turn off the cable phone - a nervous decision since everyone had THAT number. I bought it through Radio Shack, which I recommend because they give good customer service and 30 day returns. After I tested it and it worked for 3 days, I called the cable company and shut off my home phone #. I sent out an email to everyone I knew. And that evening, the Magic Jack software froze up and crashed. I rebooted, made a call, it froze and crashed - and so on, over and over. It was so bad it affected other software and processes on my computer and eventually I uninstalled it (a feat in and of itself) and returned it. Now my home phone # was lost - I had no alternative and had to send another email out - and I had a screwed up computer with lingering after effects. *sigh* Radio Shack employee was snippy and said "We sell 1,300 of these a year and no one returns them." Whatever. That's my story! Highly recommend you buy it at Radio Shack or another store that will at least take a return, since MJ is notorious for not having customer support.

Guest's picture
Michael

You can have the MagicJack experience for free!

If you are even slightly technical you can get free calls by buying a non-MagicJack ATA[1], getting a free incoming number and SIP account[2], and using Google Voice[3]. -- This setup will let you do what MagicJack does without the special software or the yearly service. You will still have to place calls through Google Voice's website, but you can receive calls without a computer.

Getting this set up is about as hard as setting up a WiFi router.

[1] ATA -- Analog Telephony Adapter
[2] Eg. from http://www.sipgate.com/one
[3] Beta status, but most people seem to be getting an account within a few weeks.

Guest's picture
Brian

@Michael: Thanks, this works great. I have the ata and everything set up. I used the Cisco 2102 and sipgate.

Is this ok, though? I kind of feel bad for sipgate - they bill only for outgoing, but if I use google voice for all my outgoing calls, I don't need to pay them. But then again, that's how they choose to bill. Perhaps incoming calls are free for them, so they don't have to charge. Anyone have thoughts on this?

Guest's picture
Guest

Thanks for this post! We are looking at this right now. My husband is visiting our college aged son right now and bought him one of these yesterday as he is always running out of minutes on his cell phone (a pay-as-you-go since he has no credit). He's in college for computer related stuff so hopefully if he has any problems he can handle it.

I'd love to see a post on the Google voice option another poster mentioned.

Guest's picture
Michael

I've been meaning to write something up about this anyways. Enjoy!

Google Voice for Tightwads : http://stuporglue.org/google-voice.php

Guest's picture
LandSnark

The URL for Michael's article has changed to
http://stuporglue.org/google-voice-for-tightwads/

Guest's picture
Guest

I think another option that people should look at is an ooma system, which I purchased back in October and have used non-stop without problems since then. You purchase the box for $200 and then get unlimited US calling for the lifetime of the box. The box is standalone, so you don't need to leave your computer on at all and you can port your current number to it if you wanted. Voice quality is great and I can only discern a slight delay. The only catch is that they start charging a fee for taxes after the first year ($12/year). I've heard that you can also take the box overseas and continue to make and receive free US calls.

Julie Rains's picture

I had wondered about this device also. Several readers mentioned it when I wrote about living without a landline and Skype. VOIP is dependent on a computer/cable line and electricity; the reliability with the cable company was so bad that I decided to take my chances with other options, which have worked just as well for me so far.

Guest's picture
Matt

I would strongly recommend looking into a company such a Vonage. It is definitely the cheapest option you can go with, without sacrificing reliability and customer service. Their base unlimited calling packages are cheap, but where the real appeal with Vonage lies is their unlimited around-the-world calling for $25/month, which just blows everyone else out of the water. If you make phone calls outside of the country there really is no other way to go.

Guest's picture
Mike V

No offense Matt but Vonage is WAY overpriced and although my experience in the US was average, Vonage.ca was a ROYAL FLOP - I received repeated busy signals when no one was on the phone. There were constant lapses in service and as IT for my company, I can guarantee it was NOT out internet as their rude customer service continually blamed. When you call tech support and inform them this is running on a FULL BLOWN T1 connection, not some residential cable or DSL connection and they do not even know what a T1 is, you need some new tech support or a service that actually works so we can bypass tech support all together.

MJ in my opinion is worth the minimal fee. YES we do get some calls that have that "hollow" badly comprssed sound, but they are maybe 1 in 10. We've never had any PC troubles due to thier software. Being IT I did a little bit of hosts file work and blocked their stinky ads :) WHICH I should note would prevent their 411 and 911 form working, but we only use this as a long distance solution, and so our teenagers can tie up a lin for hours without ti being the main home phone.

Guest's picture
the dude

I got a good chuckle when I saw this article pop up in my google reader at the same moment my fiance just got off the phone (magicjack) with her mother. Magicjack has been awesome for us. She use to kill her cell phone daytime minutes yakin to her mom everday before work, her bill was up around a hundred bucks a month. Then she bought magicjack, and she's been saving money ever since. I was a little skeptical until I heard Clark Howard talking about it one afternoon. We've had no problems at all. One minor thing we noticed, if it was plugged into our laptop with a Wi-Fi connection, it was a little spotty. Once we switched it to our desktop with a wired connection, it's been perfect. Can't comment on their customer service, never had to use them. It's been nothing but awesome for us.

Guest's picture
Guest

Send these to your friends/relatives overseas.

Carlos Portocarrero's picture

I think this would be right up my alley: I'm technically savvy and could probably make it work no matter what. But I have DSL through my land line and never go over my cell minutes anyway, so there's no reason for me to get it.

I was just intrigued by the crazy claims they make in their commercials and how my first impression was "What's the catch?" 

Much to my surprise, the downside isn't really that big a deal. It's a great product!

The Writer's Coin  |  Follow me on Twitter

Guest's picture
Amera

I have to say this has saved my family hundreds of dollars. It costs us almost $6 (for about 45 minutes) for a decent phone card to call my husband's family in North Africa. We picked this up for them and it drastically cut down the cost of phone cards and amount of time he can talk to his family.

Guest's picture
guest

I use Ooma. Works without having to have it connected to a pc, so it is functional 24/7. I don't like to have the pc on all the time (I imagine electric savings could be calculated from that, not to mention the reduced wear to the pc). You do however have to have broadband internet (same as magic jack). Downside: you have to purchase equipment (I paid $200 for the deluxe system and have seen this as low as $160 for the basic). After that there are no charges...ever (US only, significant lower costs for international calls. Works with cordless phones with satellites (cordless phone with charger base only). Had it six months and it works, no regrets as yet.

Guest's picture
JD

Is the Ooma system portable? Can you travel with it, or does it only work "at home"? That's a pretty big advantage of the new magicjack.

Guest's picture

From what I've seen the speed of your internet connection plays a big roll in how the Magic Jack functions. It also does not work if you're trying to use an older computer.

Guest's picture
Jen

Great review! I really enjoy your site.

We're into our 3rd year of using the Magic Jack. There's been a glitch here and there, but nothing we haven't been able to resolve easily. We've saved at least $2000 so far.

It's great being able to talk without the preoccupation and pressure of how much the call is costing us. I've never regretted allowing that cheesy late night infomercial tempt me into trying the Magic Jack! :)

eGetitFree.com

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Guest's picture
Guest

hey, check out ooma. it works like vonage, meaning no computer needed (like you need with magic jack) and its 200 or 250 bucks and good for the life of the unit. no monthly costs. i bought mine about a year ago and love it. i tell as many people as i can. all it does is hook up to the router so you don't need your computer running. then you buy a set of 4 portable phones, plug one into the ooma box, and the rest of the phones will all ring. i love it. i'd even call you on it so you can hear the quality. the only time it costs money is if you want any of the special features, like a virtual second phone line. i don't need any of these features so, it doesn't cost me any money per month.

joshua

Guest's picture

I'm surprised there's no mention of SkypeOut as a cheap calling solution. Though I have to admit the Ooma looks pretty good.

Guest's picture
Sandra

Excellent evaluation of Magic Jack. You make some very good points. I have used Magic Jack for a number of months now. Actually, I don't use it often at all. Mostly just to avoid going over my minutes on my cell phone package. I also use it as a number to give out when I don't want to use my personal number. I don't know if I would want it as my only phone but it works wonderfully as a back up! Thanks for sharing!

Guest's picture
Stephendd

I've successfully used MagicJack for a year now. Here are some tips:

1. Buy from Radio Shack so you can return it if you don't like it.
2. Use on a computer that has a wired internet connection if possible. (Mine works fine however on my wireless connected laptop).
3. Do not engage in processor-heavy usage on the computer while on the phone (depends on the computer, but playing a game or having multiple applications open can affect the call quality/connection).
4. Expect to have to re-start the application occasionally as it may glitch from time-to-time. Does not typically drop connected calls however.
5. Expect to have to re-call occasionally as the initial call can sometimes less-than-stellar quality at one end (usually the other end, when this happens).
6. Go to the MagicJack Forums to learn how to install it on your computer without using the dongle: This will enable using MagicJack without the dongle BUT will require a computer headset instead of using a regular phone. Carry your headset with you and you can make calls wherever you have wifi!! Or carry the dongle and a phone...
7. Try out Google first or at the same time to see if it meets your needs, though I'm sure Google is collecting a lot more data on you and your internet usage than MagicJack ever will...
8. Check out the very inexpensive international calling rates, AND the new provision to get those same rates on your cell phone!!(Program allows a second phone line for the same rates).
9. Use the Contacts Directory provided with the interface, and notice that when you change computers the directory of your contacts will follow you - very handy, as I have worked from home and office computers using MagicJack for international calling.
10. See the following sites for having some hacking fun with Magic Jack (e.g. using with Skype or running it as a service etc.):
http://magicjackhacks.blogspot.com/ ; http://www.magicjacksupport.com/
10. Have fun with it - I once called a foreign radio station and made an on-air request for a song...which I subsequently listened to over their internet streaming radio link!!

Guest's picture
Guest

Well I got mine I works great I’m in college and my room does not have a phone and my cell doesn’t get good service. So I purchased the device for $20.00 and I was able to use the service free for 1 year for just the purchase of the device once the full year ended I played 20 dollars for reactivation as well as many other students.
I’ve saved enough money from my campus job without paying phone bills that I’ve played for my materials books and eat out every day something that I wouldn’t be able to do because of budgeting.
So I’m at my 3rd year at college and I’m planning on keeping it. It works great there are no problems not only can you hook a phone to the device. But when you plug it in you can make calls off of the desktop alone as long as you have a microphone and speaker. I’m not sure why everyone thinks its a scam. its just voip like skype only difference is its all self contained into a device making it cheaper than maintaining many severs in a large building like skype. If you take into concideration what phone companys are actually charging you for? I mean every day their fixing a phone line.
the money I give magic jack for the first year pays for the device and they pay for your first year of service then the rest of the time the $20.00 pays them to cover a year of my use of the proxy sever and domain that the device uses to send the signal. and it make it eaiser for people like me. really dont critisize beacuse you know you havent bought one. your stubbern and dont like change. unfortunetly change is here so deal with it im pretty sure my 5.0 beats your typo.
To everyone he hasnt convinced go try one beacuse there is no scam involved america doesnt pattent scams its been aproved by the highest. ive seen the people who construct it. They have intelligent engineer’s sales men and cotomer support is standing by all the time. ive even recently noticed that many costomers feel that they would enjoy more features they posted them on the site and new construction is underway its like there lintening unlike my old phone company when i call they pute me on hold and the mysteriesly the my call gets droped during transfer. All the new features they make for magic jack are updated automaticly throught the web similar to firmware on the playstation. Im never going back :)
Phone companies are a standard magic jack is a gadget what’s wrong with that you don’t have to buy it but don’t drop an opportunity such as this because someone doesn’t find it logical! Personally I find it offensive that this person could have influenced my decision before I bought one then I would of spent loads of money. And the article writer probably ruined a great opportunity for others as well as many who write this crap! Well in return I want to point out “Ladies And Gentlemen THIS WRITER IS a FRAUD”

I think I’m going to make my own forum about this Asshole
If you want to call my magic jack email me cuss its free for me I can make calls all night lol.
Any way just thought I’d Wright a full Page about my concerns Bye : ) LOVE DUSTIN
Ps Sorry i didnt pute any pictures of how angry I looked theres no room to angry heres a typed version >:^(

Guest's picture
LandSnark

Three years of college and you can't conjugate verbs, punctuate sentences nor use spell check? Money well spent.

Guest's picture
McSpocky

We have been using Magic Jack for a couple of years now. (we got rid of our old land line). Our experience with Magic Jack is great and I would highly recommend it to anyone and everyone!

Guest's picture
Guest

Magicjack works the greatest percentage of time. Once in awhile it fails but for the most part, it does exactly what it says and, if you don't mind having your computer on to make a call, you can save whatever you pay for phone service per year minus $20. In my case, about $340. For $340 I can be a little inconvenienced. Figure what $340 will buy me every year. Could pay for a new computer over a 2 1/2 yr period. Sometimes my Magicjack isn't recognized and I have to replug into a USB, (but I built the computer myself and it's probably the motherboard). My sister has a brand new top-of-the-line HP computer, bought the Magicjack about 5 months ago and never has had a problem with it being recognized. I am on a pay-as-you-go cellphone plan, use it to check my messages and my minutes are not subtracted from my total. For me it is good.

Guest's picture
David Kohn

When I first got the MJ I signed up for an

additional 5 years. After a year, my service was

cut off. I chatted with a rep for an hour, on

line. She guided me through the process, She

assured me I would NOT be charged again. I

thought I was getting my five years back. What

ended happening is that she got me to pay for the

next five years again.

After I saw the charge on my card I chatted with

another rep for another hour. She said she was

filing a report, that should have solved the

problem. I have still not seen a credit yet. Now

I want that initial charge for the 5 year

extention returned as I can not see ever using MJ

ever again.

David Kohn

Guest's picture
Guest

Works great on my 6 computers including 2 laptops a mac and a windows xp machine - worth every penny!

Guest's picture
Guest

I have a Magic Jack and it works fine and the installation was easy. However I never actually use the device. I bought it when I was deployed to the Antarctic for 3 months. The company I worked for down there has a phone system with a US area code which is fine for calling the office but my wife's cell phone is in a different area code. All of my coworkers had expensive phone cards.
With the Magic Jack you can forward your MJ phone number to any phone you choose. So I forwarded my MJ number (which has the same area code as mine in the Antarctic) to my wife's phone number in a different area code. So for a small price I could call my wife in one area code as a local call from another area code for no additional cost. It is so easy to change the forward number that instead of go through the hassle of getting a billing code for LD calls for work I just changed the MJ forward number and made calls all over the US from one area code - no long distance.
In addition when I was traveling to and from my deployment I could plug the Magic Jack into my computer and make a local to the US from New Zealand from my computer with a gaming headset and no phone. For FREE.
Works for me.

Guest's picture
Guest

This is one of the few non scam profucts out there it's a VIOP product just like Vonage or your cable company phone except cheaper.


Guest's picture
frizzlemike

ok heres what i feel about this after having it for about a year and half almost 2 years
it works i never had it crash only time it didn't work was when my pc wasn't on and ahaha to people who thinks usb devices any devices can work without the power running on the pc its like asking why the fridge isn't working then going oh i didn't know you needed to plug it in
i am a pc tech and yeah saying its simple is a being nice i mean somebody with one arm could do it after somebody opened the yellow postage container that holds the foam cutout with the device in it with a cardboard sleeve over it i ordered online i didn't get charged till the 30th day and the call quality is fine it was just like my rcn cable digital talk or wtf they call it to charge you 20-30 dollars a month for and pretty much what rcn and comcast uses is a box like a modem in your basement that connects to your coaxial cable and powered by a plug and plugs a phone cord in a phone port in your basement thats it pretty much it so if you can plug in a toaster you can get this thing to work the customer service is shitty i can say that but for 20 bucks a year what do you expect seriously if you have friends over seas tell them to order one you activate it here with a phone number and mail it too them the thing is less then prolly a quarter pound in weight won't cost much to ship overseas and free calling from europe to usa

Guest's picture
frustrated in MO

I bought Magic Jack two months ago for a second line in the house/occasional business line. I purchased mine from Wal-Mart for $40. This thing is a piece of junk in my opinion. I understand it works well for some, but not for us. I got it set up...pretty easy installation. It seemed to take about 24 hours for it to "kick in". I plugged it in to our desktop, that has a wireless router. When I did get a dial tone, and made a call, the wireless connection on our laptops would drop. This happened so many times, so I "live chatted" with an agent online. FOR FOUR HOURS. The customer service agent did not understand what i was telling them, they had me try to make calls, which obviously disconnected the internet connection! The customer service is obviously outsourced, as the grammar was pretty bad, but hey, that's life today, right??

My husband went online to some forums, and found out that a lot of times, the MJ will NOT work with a cordless phone less than 5.8 GHZ. My phone was not 5.8. So, I went out and got a new phone. Still didn't work. I decided to get Vonage. I've had them before, and never a problem, and $25/month is still a great deal!
Vonage attempts to port my number over to them. They still have not heard from Magic Jack about it. Three times they have contacted MJ to port the number over (I only cared about the number because I already printed business cards with that number!!) .
The last time I called Vonage to check on the number portage, they said that MJ told them there was no record of that phone number or account with them. So now, I have MJ forwarding my number to a virtual telephone number Vonage gave me, which is then forwarded to my phone! Sheesh! I have contacted the FCC about this and also my state utilities commission board. I wish I had NEVER bought that stupid MJ, and just got Vonage (or something similar) in the first place. What a waste of money.

Guest's picture
Guest

I passed out a little reading this comment, lol. I think you should take some English writing classes if you want people to take you seriously as a PC technician. Sorry, don't take it as an insult.

Guest's picture
Danielle

I purchased this for my husband, who is deployed to Iraq right now. It is totally NOT a scam. To be able to hear his voice daily make the $20 so worth it. During the last deployment we used calling cards and instant messenger. Calling cards add up quick so to be able to have this in his room and able to call without getting dressed and walking down to the MWR is a God-send.

Guest's picture
Heather

I love my Magic Jack....and we have even plugged it into our computer that is on our server...so therefore we can have two cordless phones running off of it.

Guest's picture
cb

we got our first magic jack more than a yr ago; renewed it when contract expired, and are still using it today. ($20 for unit, $20 for a yr's service.)

the times it worked (99%) far outweigh those few times the line was choppy and i would attribute that to the dsl quality at the time.

yes definitely it depends on your internet connection, and of course, its pretty logical that wired connection is best whether broadband (rather than wifi) or phone (rather than cordless).

our family has been buying it -- my three siblings have it too, and we call with it regularly; with my sister, at least 2x daily.

our aunts, uncles and even in-laws have bought it too. definitely works.

Guest's picture
SuperMobilBob

Hello, Let's say My name is SuperMobilBob , you can take it from me that the Magic Jack is a the only phone I will ever have for the next five years. Depending on your computer power and internet speed of your ISP. The better the computer with the better internet speed,, the phone works good enough for me to run a company off of it and I don't have to pay a employee to answer the phone. some times I have to hang up and redial the number again for a better connection.I can take it to any Library can check my voice e-mails so I don't miss a call. And If you cant understand the caller you still get there phone number in the e-mail so you can call them back and never miss a beat. it's not better than your old phone that's for sure but it's a lot more friendlier every month. with no bills. sincerely SuperMobilBob

Guest's picture
Noel

for anyone using a magic jack, it is a must that you go through their FAQ's to optimize it's performance. If you are using a USB hub, it must be a powered hub. definately do the backround process optimization, that seems to help on the other end of the call the most. Ooma might have been good alternative, but they just took away most of the free features they used to give and made them premium for charge features, plus you have to pay the monthly taxes $3 to $11 monthly for Ooma now. To date Magic Jack is the only 1 flat fee for unlimited calls.

Guest's picture
Guest

I too thought it was a great deal and a good product, I had a friend of mine who had his for over 2 years get disconnected from using the service because they said he used it too much and violated the Terms of Service agreement. So that being said I suppose there is a limit to how much you can use it... They will NOT investigate anything to find out how it was used, etc. They just terminate and say "Sorry" This was a great way to communicate cheaply while he had it, but there is no way to really determine how much was used in terms of minutes as they won't assist in anyway to do an investigation. The way I see it that seems like an terrible way to treat a customer of 2 years! I have one and haven't used it very much but will no longer waste my time with MagicJack...

Guest's picture
Kenneth L. Reynolds

It may not be a scam..... but they hide behind a chat line which has poor customer service in and of itself. Plus, they have an over usage statement that they hide behind when their their customer service can't seem to assist in solving issues with their customers. Be careful when using magic jack if you are looking for job, over usage will get you!

Guest's picture
Guest

what is over usage, I use mine all the time, and daily... never a bit of trouble...?

Guest's picture
Guest

I have Used Magic Jack for over 2 years now, works great for me :o)

Guest's picture
Guest

Your are limited to available area codes, you also are limited to the number of calls you may make or receive per day via there (TOS).
Not worth it...
Defiantly a Scam....

Guest's picture
An Awake American

I've just discovered that they claim proprietary rights to the record of your phone calls and if you want an accessible, downloadable log of your calls they will consider it only a case-by-case basis only with a written, NOTARIZED, request sent to their Florida offices. Further, try to see if you can find any information on this company, on their partner VOIP supplier, or even on the mysterious inventor. The amount of information is minuscule and only goes back few years. It is almost as though all of them sprang whole from the side of Zeus. What does that sound like? If you research Cisco or Larry Ellison or any other big American tech company or supposed innovator you can find volumes of information. Not on these people. Hmmmmm...

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Guest

LETTER SENT TO INVENTOR OF MAGICJACK PLUS MODEL ON 5-25-2011:

Please take a moment to read this entire email. I want to tell you what I experienced regarding your product and maybe shed some light.

I purchased a MagicJack last year and experienced no problems. The product worked as advertised and I was pleased. I suggested to several friends that this product was a great alternative for people to get out from under the giant conglomerate AT&T and avoid any further hassles from mystery item billing incidents.

Then about a week ago, I received a flyer in the mail regarding MagicJack PLUS. I was excited about the upgrade. The flyer had a phone number, so I called it and ordered the device. Disappointed that it was an automated call, but I dealt with it. The order came in the mail today. Low and behold, it was only an ORIGINAL model MagicJack. My reason for wanting to purchase the PLUS model, was because no physical computer was necessary for this model, and that would work great upstairs, and aside the other benefits the PLUS model offers.

Now, here is where you really need to take note:
Since MagicJack customer service does not exist in the conventional manner, such as a live person to talk to via a phone line, I proceeded to do a "Live Chat" via your website. It took one hour and 24 minutes to finally get an agent through the entire process to return the item. Four agents cut me off in the middle of conversation and disconnected. But that was just the start. Not only was the return process absolutely ridiculously difficult, but extremely time consuming, non-stop typing back in forth with agents, and then discover that the MagicJack Plus is not even available yet. The brochure sent to us in the mail did not mention this, and on top of that, we were shipped an Original model, even though the brochure clearly states a PLUS and the picture on the brochure is a PLUS model.

Okay, Let's overlook the one hour and 24 minutes. Let's overlook the hassle of the return. Here is my reason for contacting you:
THIS PRODUCT WORKS.
Why bother to cheapen it with a gimmick like no customer service phone line?
Why the complicated and long-winded live chat return policy?
Most important: WHY SEND AN ORIGINAL MODEL INSTEAD OF THE PLUS MODEL?

If the PLUS model wasn't going to be available until July of this year, then why accept my credit card and send me an original?

Lastly: I would completely understand why all this would have taken place if the product was crap, however, your product does exactly as advertised, which makes no sense to me that you have allowed this type of mishandling, and basically committed fraud to the public.

Dan, you could easily have charged over double the price for the PLUS and would have been successful with that price, because it's worth it just to get away from AT&T, but then to have your company ship the ORIGINAL instead of the PLUS is flat out fraud. Then to make it worse, the time consuming issue of trying to send it back and credit your Visa account is overwhelmingly a joke. You did not have to cheapen your product with this gimmicky type of customer service and no real phone number to talk to an agent. Instead, you have to sit there for over an hour and type the same message to four different agents. I am copying this letter and blogging it next week. I feel it is important that you understand how wrong all this is. It didn't need to go in this direction. YOU HAVE A VIABLE, WORKING, GREAT PRODUCT, yet once again, CUSTOMER SERVICE is the least important for yet another company.

I will be blogging this email via the Internet this weekend so as to warn more potential victims. My goal is to help others avoid this ridiculous struggle. If you have any comments, they would be greatly appreciated as I am still dumbfounded why this approach to customer service is even considered with a great product.

Sincerely,

Devin Debow

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Rambo

MJ works fine if you dedicate an old machine to it. I'm using an old Laptop, 300 Mhz dedicated. I'm able to use it as a second business line. The only issue is a very slight delay when I talk. It is tolerable. Make sure you have a fast cable modem connection and if you use a router, set up you Quality of Service to giver MJ everything. If you don't know how to do that, well... Pay more for the tech support you get from other providers.

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Guest

I agree Magic Jack customer service sucks BIG Time
can't reslove even a basic problem, like caller id not working, spent an hour chating with them to resloved the issue, but could not. They disconceted me from it.
Don't buy it

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Ripped Off M.J customer

I had Magic Jack for 2 years and unless you are somewhat technically inclined forget it. My problem with them is that I starting talking to my divorcing brother everyday for at least an hour. Then today they closed my account and kept (stole) any remaining prepaid months. Their lame excuse even though they advertise unlimited hours is that I violated the terms and agreement. When their sub-par on-line customer support could not give a specific reason I read these terms.
In short if you in THEIR EYES use too much time daily in the course of the month they will close your account and the terms are written that they can keep your money(remaining prepaid time).
SO WITHOUT ANY WARNING THEY UP AND CLOSED IT. AVOID THEM - ESPECIALLY IF YOU PLAN ON TALKING TOO MUCH. ALSO IF YOU TALK MORE THAN ABOUT AN HOUR THEIR SYSTEM WILL CUT OFF THE CALL.

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Guest

What IS a scam is their advertising. I got an email from their "CEO" who offered me an upgrade device that did not need to plug into a computer, the "MagicJack Plus" that only needed a broadband connection and a wall power jack. You plug your old timey phone in and voila, instant landline! I tried and tried to get my credit card to authorize. The ad said they would not charge my card for 30 days. I checked my bank account and the SOBs had hit my card EIGHT TIMES FOR $44.96, plus another test transaction for $1.00 because I had changed my credit card data in the "myaccount" profile. I called the company ASAP, and they said the charges would drop off because they did not show an order for me. My bank informed me that in addition to the eight bogus charges, even MORE charges had been rejected by my card. What a sleazy way to do busines. Advertise that they won't hit your card, then keep rejecting the attempts at ordering the discounted product, each time hitting your card for hundreds of dollars. What sleazebags. The Philipino girl was not very helpful either. Stay away from all these companies, including Vonage, who screwed me too. Stick with AT&T, at least they have some credibility.

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Guest

The exact same thing happened to me on Dec 12th,2011. Every transaction it kept saying wrong info so stupid me I kept redoing it a few times. Next day I realized that transactions had been going through eventhough the billing process looked like it didn't work. I spent most of the afternoon with live chat who says they can't find transactions and who finally just hung up on me after not being able to resolve anything. So I called my bank to dispute the charges today. What a scam.

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guest

I've had technical issues with my Magic Jack from the start. the service gets stuck on voicemail...thereby not being able to receive calls: everyone trying to reach me gets the voicemail message. They haven't been able to correct it. when I asked if I could get a replacement unit their answer has been nyet.If you're beyond the 30-day trial period. your out of luck.

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QUICK

OK! Here are a few tips for the "less tech savvy" first, if you are using a computer from 1985 that still has only 512 worth of memory in it or has more than an inch of dust on it and you have a $79-40Mbps internet package...Try running a speed test to determine the top speed your computer can handle first...@ SPEEDTEST.NET...If you use a newer laptop and are experiencing issues...Check your USB port to make sure the connections are not bent or damaged. A common problem with USB ports is that the plastic separator in the USB port can easily break off and you will never even know it...It's a good idea to check the ports on a regular... If there is no separator in it or the pins look bent or disturbed...DON'T USE IT!!! and "ALWAYS" use the "SAME" USB port that you originally used to first hook up the magic jack...Switching the USB ports that the magicjack is connected to is "NOT" A good idea...If you are hooking a phone to your magicjack...READ THE INSTRUCTIONS FIRST!!! Plug your phone into magicjack BEFORE plugging your magicjack into your computer, and make sure your phone is PLUGGED IN AND ON BEFORE INSTALLING!!! this is to make sure that you get the proper drivers so that your phone will work properly...I have been using magicjack since it was first advertised and I have had very MINOR issues...I find the BIGGEST issue with this product is USER ERROR!!! I can't tell you how many people when i ask them say that the first thing they did when the got in front of their computer they plugged in the magicjack BEFORE reading a single word from the installation manual...That's USER ERROR!!! But that's ok with me since i make a living as a comp.tech...LOL... I'm NOT an employee or do i represent magicjack in any form...But,...Do I use this product??? DAILY...And,..Do i recommend this product??? HELL YEAH!!! I have RE-INSTALLED this product hundreds of times "correctly" and received many "thanks"...The only tip I can give you is to READ THE INSTRUCTIONS!!!

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LandSnark

There were no USB ports in 1985 . .
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usb

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Guest

HI
I purchased A new MJ that plugs into the router and power supply, I was really excited about it, the idea is great, i've have had it up and running for over 2 weeks I can say I have given it a fair try,
I am getting cut off in the middle of talking every call longer than 12 minutes,
and many local calls i make i get a recording saying i will be charged from my international minutes, and i realy am.
Maybe someone here can help me, the customer service has only made me cry after spending hours and hours with them until i finally realized they have no clue.
Thanks so much
Ratzi Kohn

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Guest

I am another customer of Magic Jack, tried getting up and running since late night yesterday, on through this morning. Last night, 3 tech reps took me through the same steps trying to make it work. Finally, customer service opted to connect me remotely. However, the next morning, nothing worked. What the article above says about MJ is correct, they don't tell you all that it doesn't do. No instruction manual comes with the product. The packaging makes it seem as easy as 1-2-3. Well, it is not. After the 8th tech rep, I insisted on someone to fix the problem or tell me the product doesn't work. The rep was happy to send me a replacement, but, I also have to pay $11 more to get it. By the way, when you do online chats, the person whose chatting with you claims to read the chats that came before him/her? Don't believe it. They simply take you through the same "fix-it" steps over and over again until you say "Stop, enough!" And, for that, you pay $11 more for the product. A really lousy way to do business.

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Guest

You know, "there's an app for that". I have the "Talk Free majicJack" app on my Ipod touch 4th generation, and it works perfectly. I live in Canada, and have spoken to my family in the States on it, and it's as clear as my landline. As long as you're on a Wifi network of course, you can either set up an account and get a dedicated phone number or just phone through the app. I think it shows up as a US phone number, but who cares if you can make free calls??

Guest's picture
Julian

After paying for MagicJack for 3 years and using it and having the same number for 2 years, without any warning they deactivated my number and gave me some 010056**** number. It's not even real telephone number. When dialed you get a message that my call can’t be completed as dial.
And everybody calling my old number has to hear how great MajickJack is. And that this number is free for taken.
After trying to resolve the problem chatting, because this is the only way one can communicate with them, here is the most I could get:
"as i have checked it here in our end, the phone number 786-***-*** was been deactivated in your account and it switches to the number 010056****. As i have also checked it here, Our Departments are reviewing the account.. As the Account is under review, you will not be able to place any order for the time being as the review will have to go under process (review protocol).. "
But I don't want to order anything. I already paid you for my number.
The chat person answer " Please extend your patience as this Review is done every account to retain account Integrity and Security.. I cannot assure you with the time frame but the report has been processed with High Priority.." ” For now, I will be doing a report regarding with your issue"
I don’t care about “reports”. Let me talk to a manager.
" I will make a report regarding with this matter and it will be forwarded on our higher department" ” this issue will be reviewed for the resolution. please do check on your email account the notification will be sent in there". END of chat.
Exactly the same chat happened 3 weeks ago, and it just repeating again.
And of course nobody is contacting me and I still cant use my MajicJack.
So think twice before ordering one.
If anybody is interested, I have the complete transcript of my chat with "Joan".

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Guest

Hello out there.No Magic Jack is not perfect but anything that it saves you at least the money over it's yearly fee is money in your pocket.When you read between the the lines of the tons of negitive coments about MJ it's computer related problems(slow conection speed ,old PC's,people running so much junk that clogs and clashs with other programs and so on) or someone who has no clue at all how address certian simple issues with their PC .Yes they out source their customer service and this can be a chalange.But once it's up and running it works great.I've had mine since 2009 a few problems yes but I got on their butts like a dog on a bone and all was taken care of.I live here in the states and this was the only way for me to call my wife in Austria that we could afford.$10.00 on my MJ account got us almost 400 min of call time at 2 cents a min is super.
Now I just sent her a MJ and a US telephone.I set up the MJ here(recomended) then sent it to her, at first she could not get it to work but a friend who runs the PC dept of a company there got it up and running fine as I said above,a person that has no clue how to addres certian simple issues with their PC ,thats my wife .
We talked 1 hour last saterday,free!
I have a lot of stuff running on my PC and it's showing it's age so I have to close a few things to get it to work good ,so what!, and if your PC is shut off MJ has a answer machine fuction built in that works very good and you can pick up your calls from any phone anywhere.
We have looked at EVERY!!! other option out there but they all have their little hooks that in the end cost much more money in the end run.
Also be smart use a prepaid credit card when you do anything over the internet most banks have a prepaid card they offer ether free or a small charge ,if things get screwed up ,only what you have on that card can be taken.

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Guest

Any phone company that charges $30 to port a number out is a SCAM!

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Guest

My girlfriend has the magic Jack. She has had it for two years and claims it is exactly as promised. She is very happy. I am thinking of doing it myself. Less in a year to what I pay in a month.

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Guest

if you buy magic jack in Canada it can be a night mare.. if you live out side a major city because they don't have exchange number except for them, if you have a person trying to call your home that is in the same town they will be CHARGED LONG DISTANCE.! each time they call you. its a wast of money if you are using it for a local home phone if you are outside a major city in Canada

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We have two magic jack+ that we use as a business phone. This is a terrible option for small business. I have had way too many frustrating "chats" with this company and nothing is ever resolved quickly. The waste of time spent during this process is infuriating a 2 hour long chat is standard. They have pulled the call forwarding option and, though we had it to begin with and was a major reason we selected MJ, we will now have to pay for call forwarding by the minute when ever they decided to have their "engineers" "fix" the now 2 year problem. Good luck getting the chat people to talk about this with you though. This may not be a scam but they are surely pushing the business ethics boundaries.

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Guest

I bought the wireless version of MJ over a year ago. Each time I call about it they claim their engineers are working on it. This is , to me, fraud. I am about to report them over this. They send you the MJ with the wireless port so you assume it will work but the engineers are still "working on it:.