Friday, February 25, 2005

Don't Pay for Broadband Phone Equipment

I went to one of my local computer supply stores today to buy a new anti-virus program. If you've read some of my earlier posts, you know that while I have to have my anti-virus software, I hate shopping in electronics and computer stores. First I have to pick my way through the piles of "specials" blocking the aisles. Not fun while wearing a large winter coat! Then I have to find the correct aisle and find the product I want. Next, I see that it comes in several configurations or bundles, each at a different price, and with different rebates. That means more time wasted while I read each box and try to figure out which one offers the most of what I want and the least of what I don't need. Then, can I really get those rebates, or would I have to buy more software or even a computer that I don't need?

About 10 minutes into staring at the shelves, a clerk comes by. Ah, I think, he can explain the rebates and bundles! Well, no he can't. That store sells so many different things that he just has a smattering of knowledge about any particular product. He doesn't know whether the upgrade rebate applies to users of any part of the bundle, or if I needed to already own the whole product. AAaauuuuggggghhhhhhh!!

Anyway, something like 30 minutes later I begin picking my way around those precariously stacked piles of "specials" again to get to the checkout counter. Midway there, I see a display for Vonage, the well-known broadband phone service. There is a shelf full of phone adapters just waiting for someone to take them home. Oh, wait, you can't just take something like that. You have to pay $59 for an adapter that still uses your own phone that you've already paid for. Then you have to pay to activate your account, plus your first month's service fee. That's a lot of money out of pocket before you have made your first call.

I looked into this further and found out that Vonage requires a 90 day service commitment. What, I pay for the equipment and then I have to pay for 90 days of service, even if I don't like it? What a crock!

There are a variety of broadband phone companies that offer cheap rates, free equipment, 14 or 30 days to change your mind and even sometimes discounts on activation. Discounts are the best thing around, because that is money that stays in your pocket. You can also shop for these services online where you can read all the information and compare to your heart's content. Sit down with a cup of coffee, fire up the computer and surf on over to a site that offers a variety of broadband phone companies such as Packet8, MyPhoneCompany, Broadvox and iConnectHere. Remember that you need a high speed Internet service to use broadband phone. If you are shopping for that too, you can compare prices for Cable or DSL Internet Service online.

Read up on each service and make your decision in the comfort of your own home. When you are ready, just place your order online. Your account information and the adapter will be sent to you in just a few days. Have questions on any or all of these services? Just submit an online inquiry, or write me at voip (at) I'll answer your questions and help you choose the best Internet phone service for your needs.

Write me anytime. I'll be here, trying to figure out the mile of register receipts and rebate forms that I came home with.

No comments: