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#16445 by bw1
Tue Aug 18, 2009 7:43 pm
I have a problem with the term fraud. And since fraud by definition implies deceit, I guess sneaky fraud must be much worse. I have no problem with the OP raising his concern or making a complaint. Although it seems that the complaint should be made to Costco for not putting all of the fine print on their web page advertising the product.

Ok, "we" outlaw deceptive business practices. How is this deceptive, when "we" can return the product (to Costco), no questions asked. It's not like the company (either Costco or Ooma) selling the device has taken "our" money and disappeared without providing the service.

And no, most of us here are not employees. And a few of us get "defensive" because we believe in the product and would like to see it continue to work for us and stave off the spread of FUD. Typical response on the internet - "fanboy".
#16448 by southsound
Tue Aug 18, 2009 8:16 pm
dr150 wrote:When I recently bought the Ooma Hub/Scout at Costco.com for $230, they advertised the $50 International Calling Credit.

.......

This is purposely done to entice you to purchase and then quickly sweep the rug from under you after they assume you've ported the number to Ooma.

I bought my ooma back in February of this year and seemed to recall a similar $50 International calling credit. Months later, after being really satisfied with my system, I called and asked about my credit since it had never shown up. I found out about the same thing - it was a limited time credit. But in my case, I almost never make out of country calls so even if I had it for a year or two it would not have made much of a difference. With most companies, I would have been returning my unit on principle if nothing else. But my experience with the ooma has so far out performed my expectations that I chose to say, no problem.

I love the call quality, the flexibility, and most of all, the lack of recurring costs. I chose not to port my number - in fact, I don't even give out the ooma number anymore because of Google Voice. When the Premier Extensions for Google Voice become available it will tip the scale and I'll become a Premier member for $100 a year and consider it a bargain.

Bottom line, could ooma have made the expiration period more obvious? Sure. Will they make some changes in the future? I would assume so. Did they purposely try to defraud anyone? Absolutely not. Are they decent people or crooks? They're among the best folks I have dealt with in a LONG time.

Call me a fanboy (or fan raccoon, if you will) but I like the product, I like the company, and I can forgive a startup for a couple of mis-steps. If you choose to return your unit, we'll miss you here and you'll miss some great phone service. And no, I am not an ooma employee. Just a very satisfied customer who visits this board often to help others become very satisfied customers. :cool:
#16457 by Lola
Tue Aug 18, 2009 11:36 pm
I liked ooma a lot too, but this has definitely put a dent on my enthusiasm. Specially when a previous poster mentions the offers with international credit expiration date not being mentioned have been around for a while. Regardless of whose fault this is, ooma should step in and make sure this doesn't happen. They stand to lose the most as they are a new company and this is just bad image. I can imagine many people will file complaints with BBB. Why is this still advertised without an expiration date warning of any kind on costco's website right now. This offer has been there since 7/13 (over a month), plenty of time for them to step in. Tell me how the average Dick and Jane browsing the costco site would know their expiration date will expire, there is no small print of any kind. Also, it seems it would be so easy to display an expiration date on the ooma lounge, would make customers more aware of the expiration date. Not being more clear gives the impression ooma is just trying to make people forget and not use the credits. To me is a question about trust and ooma should definitely take a more proactive interest in protecting their customers from getting deceived, specially when this is not the first time such offers have been around.

bw1 wrote:How is this deceptive, when "we" can return the product (to Costco), no questions asked. It's not like the company (either Costco or Ooma) selling the device has taken "our" money and disappeared without providing the service.


Not that easy to just return the product when many have paid ahead for premiere services, unless ooma is also willing to refund, which is unlikely. And if the number has already been ported its even more difficult.

I think the correct thing would be to honor the terms of the costco offer as displayed on the website and make it right for their customers whether or not it is oomas fault. Then maybe have costco foot part of the bill. I think this could cost more in bad image, bad reviews posted, returns, and potential lawsuits.

Here are the laws on gift cards on different states, as some other people are mentioning. Not sure how or why the credit could be considered a gift card, but if it is, then they cannot possibly enforce an expiration date on most states.
http://www.consumersunion.org/pub/core_ ... 03889.html
#16506 by sclin
Wed Aug 19, 2009 2:17 pm
I just got off the phone with Ooma support and they confirmed the Costco's deal with $50 International credit has a 90 day expriation. I like to Ooma service and product, but I felt I was cheated because there is no mention from either Costco's web site or Ooma's web site. In fact the call agent does not even know, and he had to to through 3rd level of the support in order to verify 90 day expriation. I am thinking about returning the product. It's a readlly bad PR for Ooma. I am one of their better costumer that also sign up for Permier service for $99.00 a year. I would stay with Ooma if they can make my $50 cedit without expriation date.
#16508 by atici
Wed Aug 19, 2009 2:53 pm
I remember being upset about this too. I think ooma should remove the 90-day expiry. It definitely pisses a lot of people off.

On the other hand, I am very happy with my ooma and it saved me so much money and from AT&T incompetence. I don't mind so much about some of that $50 expiring. Especially given that the international call quality of ooma's carrier mostly sucks, using that credit up was becoming difficult :)
#16514 by southsound
Wed Aug 19, 2009 3:24 pm
sclin wrote:I am thinking about returning the product. It's a readlly bad PR for Ooma. I am one of their better costumer that also sign up for Permier service for $99.00 a year.

atici wrote:I remember being upset about this too. I think ooma should remove the 90-day expiry. It definitely pisses a lot of people off.

On the other hand, I am very happy with my ooma and it saved me so much money and from AT&T incompetence. I don't mind so much about some of that $50 expiring. Especially given that the international call quality of ooma's carrier mostly sucks, using that credit up was becoming difficult :)

The PR aspect is a good point to consider. I would guess that very few people even bought the product because of the $50 credit. For those who did, I would assume they were frequent international users that they used it up before it expired. For most of us, we bought the ooma system for the lack of ongoing phone bills and great features. And about 28% of us bought the Premier package to have even more features.

What a shame that something that is less than compelling on the front end (prepurchase) can cause so much negative feeling on the other side. I wonder if ooma shouldn't just extend the expiration date to all of those who are upset as a PR measure and then discontinue the international credit program for future sales promotions.

I don't think anyone at ooma was trying to cheat anyone or to do anything more than just get people to try international calling - but a bad taste is a bad taste regardless of intent.
#16583 by oomg
Thu Aug 20, 2009 9:02 am
jm9496 wrote:Just a reminder that the $50 calling credit falls under the definition of "gift card" in ohio. (see ORC 1349.61) while “Gift card” does not include a prepaid calling card used to make telephone calls, this is prepaid service, not a calling card. As a result, ohio's two year minimum expiration applies. Additionally, A gift card sold without an expiration date is valid until redeemed or replaced with a new gift card.

For Ohio residents, this credit does not expire. For if it did, the issuer is "liable to the holder for any amount that the redemption value of the gift card was reduced, any court costs incurred, and reasonable attorney’s fees."


I am not so sure that your interpretation of the statute is correct. The entire statute appears below. I have highlighted certain portions which might concern me if I were affected either as a consumer or as the entity subjected to a consumer complaint.

"ORC § 1349.61. Gift card expiration dates, service charges, and fees.

(A) (1) Subject to division (C) of this section, no person or entity shall sell a gift card to a purchaser containing an expiration date that is less than two years after the date the gift card is issued.

(2) No person or entity, within two years after a gift card is issued, shall charge service charges or fees relative to that gift card, including dormancy fees, latency fees, or administrative fees, that have the effect of reducing the total amount for which the holder of the gift card may redeem the gift card.

(B) A gift card sold without an expiration date is valid until redeemed or replaced with a new gift card.

(C) Division (A) of this section does not apply to any of the following gift cards:
(1) A gift card that is distributed by the issuer to a consumer pursuant to an awards, loyalty, or promotional program without any money or anything of value being given in exchange for the gift card by the consumer;

(2) A gift card that is sold below face value at a volume discount to employers or to nonprofit and charitable organizations for fundraising purposes, if the expiration date on that gift card is not more than thirty days after the date of sale;

(3) A gift card that is sold by a nonprofit or charitable organization for fundraising purposes;

(4) A gift card that an employer gives to an employee if use of the gift card is limited to the employer's business establishment, which may include a group of merchants that are affiliated with that business establishment;

(5) A gift certificate issued in accordance with section 1533.131 [1533.13.1] of the Revised Code that may be used to obtain hunting and fishing licenses, fur taker, special deer, and special wild turkey permits, and wetlands habitat stamps;

(6) A gift card that is usable with multiple, unaffiliated sellers of goods or services;

(7) A gift card that an employer issues to an employee in recognition of services performed by the employee.

(D) Whoever violates division (A)(2) of this section is liable to the holder for any amount that the redemption value of the gift card was reduced, any court costs incurred, and reasonable attorney's fees.

(E) As used in this section:

(1) "Gift card" means a certificate, electronic card, or other medium issued by a merchant that evidences the giving of consideration in exchange for the right to redeem the certificate, electronic card, or other medium for goods, food, services, credit, or money of at least an equal value, including any electronic card issued by a merchant with a monetary value where the issuer has received payment for the full monetary value for the future purchase or delivery of goods or services and any certificate issued by a merchant where the issuer has received payment for the full monetary face value of the certificate for the future purchase or delivery of goods and services. "Gift card" does not include a prepaid calling card used to make telephone calls.

(2) "Employer" and "employee" have the same meanings as in section 4121.01 of the Revised Code."

I have not considered any cases that may have interpreted the statute. However, it appears to me that a reasonable interpretation would find that the calling credit is more like a "prepaid calling card used to make telephone calls" albeit in ooma's case, limited by its very nature to calls to other countries.

Second, the card/credit is not being sold. As far as I know, neither ooma nor Costco offer a similar card/credit to the general public.

Third, it appears to be specifically exempt as a promotional item, although perhaps subject to attack since money is being given for the ooma system itself. By comparison, the $199 Costco package offers the hub only, although if I understand correctly, the person purchasing this package may opt to purchase a scout at a discounted price.

Having said all that, and while I personally agree that the terms are not deceptive, I think there may be a legitimate question as to why have any expiration date at all. O.K., chances are few people will ever use the full credit, but then again, those same people will likely never use the credit at all, and thus, the promotion is probably not attractive to these purchasers. The bad P.R. and/or the returned item that must thereafter be sold as a used or refurbished item, even if it only affects a small percentage of purchasers, would seem to outweigh the benefit of having the relatively short termination date.
#16591 by jm9496
Thu Aug 20, 2009 9:53 am
unfortunatly ORC § 1349.61 is

(1) the value prepaid for international service falls under "electronic card, or other medium" as defined under Ohio law. It is a credit sorted in a medium exchangeable for services.

(2) it is not excluded as a calling card. There is no access number, access codes, or other key features that define the trademark components of calling cards other than the affiliation with a telephone company, nor is it called a "calling card used to make phone calls". It is called international credit. "credit" clarifies that this is analogous a store credit.

(3) while costco is unknowingly guilty of (A)(1), Ooma, Inc. is guilty of (A)(2) and liable.

(4) because money was exchanged for the device and credit (i.e it was purchased), it is not meet the definition of promotional program as excepted under (C)(2). (promotional programs are giveaways, like free burrito coupons chipolte gives away every once in a while)

(4.1) Note that this was purchased as a package. Ohio laws regulating the selling of items together, use of the word "free," etc. are collectively referred to as "the Ohio consumer fair sales practices act."

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