Vonage is a company that offers phone services to people and businesses using the internet. They automatically renew their services and charge people's credit cards or bank accounts without asking each time. By automatically renewing customers' subscriptions and requiring them to cancel through a live agent during limited working hours, Vonage makes it difficult for customers to cancel their services. They further complicate the process through obscured contact information, circuitous and redundant procedural requirements, long wait times, dropped or unanswered calls, lengthy and repeated sales pitches, and unexpected high-dollar Early Termination Fees (“ETFs”).
Vonage's business practices violate laws designed to protect consumers from deceptive and unfair practices. Specifically, their use of deceptive patterns such as hard to cancel, hidden information, and forced continuity, are in violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act, which prohibits unfair or deceptive acts or practices in commerce, as well as the Restore Online Shoppers' Confidence Act (ROSCA), which aims to protect online shoppers from deceptive billing practices. These practices violate ROSCA, which prohibits charging consumers for goods or services sold in transactions effected on the Internet through a negative option feature. Additionally, Vonage does not clearly and conspicuously disclose the existence and amount of Early Termination Fees to business and residential customers enrolling in their services, and they continue to charge customers for recurring service fees even after they have completed the required cancellation procedures. This violates Section 5 of the FTC Act, which requires clear and accurate information to be provided to consumers.