Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Texas sues Vonage over emergency service

Filed under
Sci/Tech
Legal

Abbott's lawsuit, filed in the District Court of Travis Country, Texas, accuses Vonage of deceptive marketing practices by not making it clear to customers that they must sign up separately for 911 service, instead of it being automatically part of the Vonage VoIP offering.

In an announcement about the lawsuit, Abbott cited a February incident in Houston in which a family with Vonage service couldn't get through to 911 dispatchers. Joyce John tried to dial 911 from a VoIP phone in her home as burglars broke into the house and shot and wounded her parents.

John's call to 911 connected to a recording saying she would have to dial 911 from a different phone. She eventually contacted authorities from a neighbor's house. “This Houston family’s moment of crisis signals a dire need for Vonage to clearly communicate to its Internet telephone customers that 911 access may not be available to them,” Abbott said in a statement. “This is not just about bad customer service; it’s a matter of life and death.”

A Vonage spokeswoman said the company would welcome a dialog with Abbott on how to improve its 911 service. Vonage customers are told multiple times, including twice during the subscription process, that they need to take action to sign up for 911 service, added Brooke Schulz, senior vice president of corporate communications for Vonage. Vonage warns customers on their dashboard online account summary that they have not signed up for 911 service, and Vonage sends e-mail to customers who have not activated 911 service, Schulz said.

The company also tells customers on its Web site's features page that they must pre-activate 911 service, although the company also notes that "Vonage offers 911 dialing to all customers."
"We want to work with the attorney general's office to resolve his concerns," Schulz said. "We do all these things today, and if those aren't adequate, let's talk about it."

The lawsuit, filed under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, requests the court issue an injunction stopping Vonage from "misrepresenting" the type of emergency telephone service it offers, according to a press release from Abbott. The suit seeks $20,000 per violation.

Because VoIP services route 911 calls through IP networks instead of the traditional telephone network, VoIP 911 service doesn't work the same way as traditional 911 service. Dispatch centers aren't able to pinpoint the address where the VoIP call originated, unlike enhanced 911 service available with most traditional telephone service today.

Vonage on March 7 reported it had exceeded 500,000 total phone lines on its network, and it was signing up customers at a rate of 15,000 lines per week.

Source.

More in Tux Machines

today's howtos

Linux Graphics

  • The RADV Radeon Vulkan Linux Driver Continues Picking Up Features
  • OpenChrome Maintainer Making Some Progress On VIA DRM Driver
    Independent developer Kevin Brace took over maintaining the OpenChrome DDX driver earlier this year to improve the open-source VIA Linux graphics support while over the summer he's slowly been getting up to speed on development of the OpenChrome DRM driver. The OpenChrome DRM driver was making progress while James Simmons was developing it a few years back, but since he left the project, it's been left to bit rot. It will take a lot of work even to get this previously "good" code back to working on the latest Linux 4.x mainline kernels given how DRM core interfaces have evolved in recent times.
  • My talk about Mainline Explicit Fencing at XDC 2016!
    Last week I was at XDC in Helsinki where I presented about the Explicit Fencing work we’ve been doing on the Mainline Linux Kernel in the lastest few months. There was a livestream of all presentations during the conference and recorded sections are available. You can check the video of my presentation. Check out the slides too.

Linux Kernel News

  • Linux 4.8 gets rc8
    Chill, penguin-fanciers: Linux lord Linus Torvalds is sitting on the egg that is Linux 4.8 for another week. As Torvalds indicated last week, this version of the kernel still needs work and therefore earned itself an eighth release candidate.
  • Linux 4.8-rc8 Released: Linux 4.8 Next Weekend
  • Linux Kernel 4.7.5 Released with Numerous ARM and Networking Improvements
    The fifth maintenance update to the Linux 4.7 kernel series, which is currently the most advanced, secure and stable kernel branch you can get for your GNU/Linux operating system, has been announced by Greg Kroah-Hartman. Linux kernel 4.7.5 is here only ten days after the release of the previous maintenance version, namely Linux kernel 4.7.4, and it's a big update that changes a total of 213 files, with 1774 insertions and 971 deletions, which tells us that the kernel developers and hackers had a pretty busy week patching all sorts of bugs and security issues, as well as to add various, much-needed improvements.
  • Blockchain Summit Day Two: End-Of-Conference Highlights From Shanghai
    Financial services firms and startups looking to be the bridge to blockchain ledgers continued to dominate presentations on the second and final day of the Blockchain Summit, ending International Blockchain Week in Shanghai that also saw Devcon2 and a startup demo competition.
  • Testing Various HDDs & SSDs On Ubuntu With The Linux 4.8 Kernel
    Here are some fresh benchmarks of various solid-state drives (SATA 3.0 SSDs plus two NVMe M.2 SSDs) as well as two HDDs for getting a fresh look at how they are performing using the Linux 4.8 Git kernel. After publishing Friday's Intel 600P Series NVME SSD tests of this lower-cost NVM Express storage line-up, I continued testing a few other SSDs and HDDs. These additional reference points are available for your viewing pleasure today. The additional data is also going to be used for reference in a Linux 4.8-based BCache SSD+HDD comparison being published next week. Stay tuned for those fresh BCache numbers.

Behind the GNOME 3.22 Release Video

This is less than usual. The time saving mostly stems from spending less time recording for the release video. At first thought you might think recording would be a breeze but it can be one of the most frustrating aspects of making the videos. Each cycle the GNOME community lands improvement a wide set of GNOME’s applications. So before each release I have to find some way to run a dozen of applications from master. I do this either by: Read more