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#274 by wstasior
Fri Jun 27, 2008 2:58 pm
I called ooma about porting my AT&T landline number and was told the charge is $79.00!!! That seems excessive. I recently ported two cell numbers from Sprint to AT&T and it was free.

Is this really true? The website does disclose that there will be a fee but it doesn't say how much. It's worded in a way that make it sound like it will be nominal. Obviously my bad for not checking ahead of time, but it seems misleading to promote the the ability to port numbers but be so tight lipped about the fee (one can only find out the fee by calling customer service).

What's the story on this? Why are the fees so high? Why is ooma so secretive about disclosing them?
#275 by Bobby B
Fri Jun 27, 2008 4:04 pm
Hi wstasior, thanks for the feedback. This topic actually just recently came up in both the ooma Blog and a recent review:

Blog Post Link Review Link

Just to recap and add a bit to both posts:

The $79 cost of porting includes two primary components: (1) the cost of transferring the number between phone carriers and (2) processing the number port. Most other phone, cell phone (such as Sprint or AT&T wireless) and VoIP carriers provide free or low-cost porting because they make up the costs associated with porting through monthly subscriptions. Since the ooma Core bundle carries no monthly costs, we charge a one-time porting fee when transferring a phone number. That being said, we do intend to reduce the porting cost over time as we further optimize and automate the porting process.

In the past month, we recently added the one-time porting charge on step 2 of the activation process. Previously it was obscured by one of the "help" drop-downs, but we've tried to make the porting charge amount as transparent as possible by moving it inline with the associated helper text. The porting charge amount has also always been available on the FAQ on the learn page. If you have any suggestions on how we can make this charge more transparent, please let us know, and we'll do our best to fulfill those requests.

#276 by wstasior
Fri Jun 27, 2008 6:09 pm
Thank you for the quick and thoughtful reply.

>If you have any suggestions on how we can make this charge more >transparent, please let us know, and we'll do our best to fulfill those >requests.

I tried researching the porting issue from the "Support" tab. There, the top How-To is "How do I port my current number to OOMA". That would be a good place to state the fee. In my case, I had read the faq back when I purchased my ooma but don't remember seeing the fee (quite the opposite - I remember learning that I'd need to call OOMA to find out). I suspect it was added later. It alleviates some concern to see that you've put it up, but it should be added to the support section too.

I think the "service is free" defense for the high fee is somewhat troubling. Let's be honest here... as somebody who would like to see OOMA succeed, my biggest concern is with your business model. Free service after I buy the box won't mean much if every time I need some support you need to charge me an arm and a leg for basic services. I'm sympathetic to paying a portability charge to cover what you pay out, but paying for your internal porting process is murky. Where do you draw the line? What other things am I going to need pay for because you don't charge for the service?

What worries me is that OOMA is trying to be like the slingbox. I love the slingbox in part because there are no service fees. But what makes that work is that there is no service. If slingbox goes out of business, I'm still up and running. Not the case with you guys.

Anyway, thanks for the information. I'd be curious to know how much of the porting cost is the fee OOMA pays out - but understand that may not be something you are willing to share. But if it's the bulk of the $79, then I really have no complaints (other than the fact that I couldn't find it on the site -- which seems to be something you are addressing).

#281 by Bobby B
Mon Jun 30, 2008 9:36 am
Hi wstasior,

Thanks a lot for the great feedback. I've went ahead and added the exact $79 charge associated with porting to the support knowledgebase article you mentioned.

With a purchase of an ooma system, we are committed to delivering unlimited US calling bundled with basic calling features: voicemail, caller-ID and call-waiting all with no hidden fees or monthly charges.

I understand your concerns with transparency of "extras" associated with the ooma system. Hopefully these should be addressed with a plan in the works to create a "add-ons" section in the ooma Lounge to show what other services and features are available for use with the ooma system. This section will allow users to view the exact charges associated with add-ons, including items like ooma Premier, extra ooma Scouts, porting or an extended warranty. It will also allow users to purchase these items directly from the ooma Lounge without having to call customer support.


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