Random Thoughts – Randocity!

Rant Time: MagicJack – Scam or Legit?

Posted in botch, business, scam, scams by commorancy on September 11, 2018

magicJackThe magicJack company offers a voice over IP phone service. You can use it with an app on your phone or by a device plugged into an actual landline-type phone. It does require Internet to function. Either way you go, it’s VoIP and they have very questionable and deceptive billing practices. Let’s explore.

Internet Phone Service Choices

If you’re in need of phone services on a device that only has access to WiFi, then a voice over IP service (VoIP) is what you need. There are many different VoIP services available on the Internet. You can even make audio and video calls via Facetime on iOS, via Skype on pretty much any mobile or desktop computer or even via Google Hangouts. For this reason, magicJack is yet another VoIP phone service in a sea of choices.

Why would you want to choose magicJack? Initially, they were one of the lowest priced VoIP phone services. They also offered a tiny computer dongle that made it easy to plug in a standard home phone. That was then. Today, mobile devices make this a different story. Lately, this company has raised their prices dramatically and they’re performing some quite deceptive and questionable billing practices.

911 Service

As with any phone service that offers the ability to use 911, the service must tack on charges to the bill by the municipality. You’d think that part of the invoice that magicJack is already collecting in payment of services would also cover for those 911 services. I certainly did. Instead, magicJack isn’t willing to part with any of their service revenue to actually cover services that, you know, they provide as part of your phone service… like any other phone company does.

MagicJack seems to think they can simply pass on said charges right to you in an email invoice and have you pay them separately. Here’s where magicJack gets firmly into scam and deceptive billing territory.

I’m sorry magicJack, but you’re forcing the 911 service when we don’t really need it or want it on that magicJack VoIP phone line. If you’re going to force this service as part of the overall service, then damned well you need to suck it up and pay the expenses from what we pay you. There is no way in hell I’m going to pay an ‘extra’ bill simply because you are unwilling to use the collected service fees to pay for those bills, like any other carrier on the planet. It’s not my problem that you choose not to do this.

You, magicJack, need to pay those bills to the 911 service. It’s your service, you forced 911 onto my line and now you must pay the piper. If you can’t do this, then you need to go out of business. This means, you need to collect the 911 service fees at the time you collect the payment for your services. And you know what, you already collected well enough money from me to cover those 911 service fees many times over. So, hop to it and pay that bill. This is not my bill to pay, it’s yours.

MagicJack Services

Should I consider magicJack services as an option when choosing a VoIP phone service? Not only no, but hell no. This service doesn’t deserve any business from anyone! This is especially true considering how many alternatives exist for making phone calls in apps today. Skip the stupidly deceptive billing hassles and choose a service that will bill you properly for ALL services rendered at the time of payment.

MagicJack is entirely misinformed if they think they can randomly send extra bills for whatever things that they deem are appropriate. Worse, magicJack is collecting payments for that 911 service, but you have no idea if that money will actually make it to the 911 municipal services in your area. That money might not even make it there and you may still receive a bill. In fact, if the municipality does send you a bill, you need to contact them and tell them to resend their bill to magicJack and collect their fees owed from magicJack, which has already been collected in the funds to cover any and all phone services. If magicJack claims otherwise, they are lying. If you are currently using magicJack’s services, you should cancel now (even if you have credit remaining).

Is magicJack a scam? Yes, considering these types of unethical and dubious billing practices. Even though their VoIP service works, it’s not without many perils dealing with this company. As with any service you buy into, Caveat Emptor.

MagicJack Headquarters

Here is the absolute biggest red flag of this scam company. MagicJack claims their corporate headquarters address is located here:

PO BOX 6785
West Palm Beach, FL 33405

Uh, no. Your headquarters cannot be inside of a PO Box.

Yelp claims that magicJack’s US address is here:

5700 Georgia Ave
West Palm Beach, FL 33405

Better, but still not accurate. This is not their corporate headquarters. This is simply a US office address. Who knows how many people actually work there? We all should know by 2018 just how many scams originate from Florida.

When you visit magicJack’s web site, no where on any of the pages does it show their actual physical headquarters address. This is a HUGE red flag. Where is magicJack’s actual headquarters?

magicJack Vocaltev Ltd (opens Google Maps)
Ha-Omanut Street 12
Netanya, Israel

As a point of consumer caution, you should always be extra careful when purchasing utility and fundamental services from any Israeli (or other middle east) companies. Worse, when companies cannot even be honest about where their corporate headquarters are on their own web site, that says SCAM in big red letters.

Class Action Lawsuit

Here’s another situation where this company needs to be in a class action lawsuit. I’m quite certain there are a number of folks who have been tricked into this scammy outfit and are now paying the price for their unethical and scammy business practices. However, because they are located in Israel, setting up a class action lawsuit against this company may be practically impossible. Better, just avoid the company and buy your phone services from U.S. based (or other local) companies where they are required to follow all local laws.

Rating: 1 star out of 10
Phone Service: 5 out of 10 (too many restrictions, limits call length)
Customer Service: 1 star out of 10
Billing: 0 stars out of 10
Overall: Scam outfit, cannot recommend.

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5 Responses

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  1. Jim Jamerson said, on December 18, 2022 at 3:27 pm

    I have used MagicJack for as long as they have been around and never once have I paid the 911 bill. Let the government fund 911 through the taxes they steal from me every time I make, save, spend or convert my money. The bill has always been very simple to understand. I pay for a years service every July and have never been screwed over. I do not understand all the complaints.

    Like

    • commorancy said, on December 19, 2022 at 10:57 am

      Hi Jim,

      Thanks for the comment. The complaint is that the fees used to pay the MagicJack service should be enough to cover all 911 fees, just as other phone carriers do. Instead, MJ is throwing these fees back onto each of their subscribers to pay separately. At some point, these unpaid fees may become a problem. It is as yet unknown how those problems may manifest. Since 911 is a public service run by both the federal government and state and local operators, the problems could become very serious in the future should the federal and/or state governments decide to recover these non-payments.

      In other words, MagicJack may be hanging you out to dry. It might be worth considering dropping MJ and moving to a carrier willing to include 911 fees as part of their regular subscription fees. Is it really worth the risk to find that you not only need to pay back 911 fees for many years, but also interest and penalties on those unpaid fees? It could even require court appearances. That’s the risk involved here.

      I’ll add that grand larceny (aka felony larceny) ranges from $200 and goes up to $750 or possibly more in some states. That means that in some jurisdictions, it could be as little as $200 unpaid to 911 services which may be considered felony larceny. 200 / 19 = ~10.5 years. At a $200 felony larceny threshold, that means at around the 10.5 year mark for service with unpaid 911 fees, you could be held liable to felony larceny which could cause hundreds of thousands in fines and/or jail time and felony charges. In jurisdictions with higher dollar amounts, like Texas at $2500, it would take much longer to reach that threshold via unpaid 911 fees.

      I also wouldn’t assume that states won’t hold non-payers against such legal statutes as felony larceny. There may be other statutes that also apply besides larceny, so I would be cautious.

      Here’s a link that may be helpful in understanding these felony larceny amounts by state.

      Note that this is NOT intended and should NOT be construed as legal advice. If you’re concerned over whether legal issues might be present, you should always contact a lawyer in your area.

      Like

  2. Jose Tejeda said, on July 25, 2022 at 8:12 am

    Wao! This article is so true! Every letter I read was my personal scenario. I will not pay the $19 they saying I owe to the municipal . Thanks for your advice. They are so smart, but not wise enough.

    Like

    • commorancy said, on July 25, 2022 at 1:50 pm

      Thanks for commenting, Jose. Happy to hear the article was helpful to you.

      Like

  3. B. Edwards said, on December 23, 2020 at 3:44 pm

    We were patient and tried to understand the billing. Our reward was over charges that were impossible to resolve. So sad when trust is translated as stupidity . Live and learn. Thank you for all the above information. It confirms our experience with this smarmy company

    Liked by 1 person


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