LAS VEGAS - Many southern Nevadans looking to save money on their phone bills have turned to a company called magicJack, but one woman says her experience could have cost her dearly.
Anita Cohen admits she doesn't use a landline phone often, but has one for emergencies. To save money, she purchased a magicJack. MagicJack is a device that plugs into your computer or router. It becomes a phone jack that you can use with any phone to make unlimited calls in the U.S.
It was affordable, charging Anita $40 for two years of service, but there is a catch.
"Apparently, magicJack has an undisclosed requirement that if you don't make a call every 30 days, they have a right to cancel your contract and keep your money," she said.
Anita didn't know her contract had been canceled until she missed a call from her doctor.
"The doctor's office told me my phone number wasn't working anymore," she said. "It is distressing that they would set anybody up - and any senior especially who might have medical problems - to have no service."
When 8 on Your Side asked magicJack why the company canceled Anita's service, the company said her number was reclaimed for going unused for 60 days.
When asked why the company cancels dormant phone numbers at all, magicJack responded in statement, "Phone numbers are actually a limited commodity across the industry. MagicJack has this 90 day policy because of that. All phone companies reclaim numbers that are not used. We believe it wouldn't be right to not reclaim unused numbers, because people who need them would not have them. Regulators rely on phone companies to do the right thing with this limited resource. MagicJack does notify users of this policy when they sign up."
Anita says she was never notified about this policy. The company also contradicted itself in its responses to 8 on Your Side – saying in one statement the company reclaims numbers after 60 days and saying it has a 90-day policy in another statement.
After 8 on Your Side asked questions about the disparity, magicJack responded, saying it made a mistake. The policy is 90 days. MagicJack also reinstated Anita's number, but she says she won't use it.
"You can't rely on them to provide phone service if they can come up with an excuse they'll just cut you off," she said.
Anita isn't the only person to have problems with magicJack. 8 on Your Side has received numerous complaints about the company, ranging from problems with messages to customer service issues to billing issues. Regardless, the company possesses an A-rating with the Better Business Bureau.
If you have a consumer-related story you'd like investigated, call 8 on Your Side at 650-1907 or email us.