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#92478 by thunderbird
Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:35 pm
Here's an E-mail From Ooma:

Account Notification: Important change to your Ooma account

Dear xxxxxxx and xxxxxxxxx,

It is our mission here at Ooma to save you lots of money every month by providing you with free home phone service. As you know, your only obligation is to pay applicable taxes and fees.

State and local governments are increasingly imposing taxes, fees and surcharges on Voice over Internet and 911 services. In this regard, Ooma will apply certain additional charges beginning in the next billing cycle based on your service address of:

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

To determine the taxes and fees that currently apply to your location, please click here. Please note that taxes and fees are subject to change.

If the address we have listed above for you is not correct, please log into my.ooma.com and update your service address now. This will not only allow us to calculate the appropriate taxes and fees for your location, but also ensure that emergency response personnel will be sent to the correct location in case you dial 911.

For more information about this change, please click here.

At Ooma, we appreciate your business and look forward to continuing to deliver the best possible value for high-quality, reliable telephone service.

Sincerely,
Team Ooma
#92491 by Greg4ooma
Thu Feb 02, 2012 4:16 pm
Just got my INCREASE notification. Don't that just suck.

going up 1.40 a month here, to $4.87

I'd like to see the TENNESSEE documentation detailing these price increases.

DAMNIT!

Account Notification: Important change to your Ooma account

Dear XXXXXXXXX,

It is our mission here at Ooma to save you lots of money every month by providing you with free home phone service. As you know, your only obligation is to pay applicable taxes and fees.

State and local governments are increasingly imposing taxes, fees and surcharges on Voice over Internet and 911 services. In this regard, Ooma will apply certain additional charges beginning in the next billing cycle based on your service address of:
#92492 by Mr. Mom
Thu Feb 02, 2012 4:30 pm
I was paying a flat $11.45 per year and it recently went up to $4.00. Ooma says it's because of mandatory taxes and whatnot, but I wonder how Magic Jack gets away with only charging a yearly rate of $19.99? It used to be that the advantage of Ooma was that you could port your number and that you didn't need your computer running to use it, but now Magic Jack can also port phone numbers and can also be used without a computer running. My sister-in-law in the Philippines uses Magic Jack and loves it. The call quality is excellent. Now, it's actually less than half the price, per year, of Ooma, not to mention the initial investment is only a fraction the cost of Ooma. I'm on my second Ooma unit, as my first one (Telo) broke, just after the warranty was out (and we hardly use it). If this one, a refurbished Hub breaks, I will seriously consider switching, because the replacement cost of the Ooma unit is quite a lot. Because the first one broke and needed to be replaced, I ended up not saving any money over a standard land line, for the time it was in use. I decided to go with the refurbished Hub, hoping that Ooma used better quality parts inside, as often happens with companies, with their first gen units. The Telo didn't offer any advantage to me, anyway, as we just have it connected to a multi-handset phone. We basically just use it, so the mail man and UPS can call us from outside, and also so we can locate our cell phones or get a hold of on another, when our cell phones were left up/downstairs or in the car.
#92797 by kettledrum
Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:42 am
I'm surprised there aren't more people talking about this topic. At least mine only went up 30 cents a month.
#92801 by Cyberchat
Thu Feb 09, 2012 11:28 am
kettledrum wrote:I'm surprised there aren't more people talking about this topic. At least mine only went up 30 cents a month.


I hesitated to reply to this topic but your question prompted me to chime in.

More people aren't discussing this topic probably because its a topic that lacks any universal "helpful" answer! In this topic you have the tension between a human nature of wanting something of value for nothing (or next to nothing) tugging against the real world fact that something of value costs "somebody" something to produce or to provide that service. I doubt that the OOMA Corporate Charter includes the word "charity" within it. So I expect that any costs related to regulations or requirements imposed on OOMA by goverments or other external entities will be passed on to the Customers. If I was an OOMA investor, I would insist on it.

From my perspective, the OOMA literature for the Telo and Telo Handset products and companion services explained pretty clearly that the taxes and fees being discussed here were not free and were subject to change. In fact it was printed on the box within which the Telo was packaged. They did explain that they were covering a $11.75 fee for the first year of service, only. OOMA's web site and MyOOMA site provided a lot of additional information on these fees so I haven't been surprised by the new fees.

In terms of monthly fees, I expect that any utility-like service which meets the definition of a goverment-regulated service (local, state, federal) would eventually be subject to the cooresponding fees. I would also expect that various vendors providing competitive services wouldd have similar fees as defined by the goverments. My telephone services vendor previous to OOMA charged these fees. So, from my perspective, I'm not surprised at these fees.

The incremental $3.70 per month in fees combined with the costs for the Premier service and the Extended Warranty are a set of costs which are far smaller than the value of the services I'm receiving from OOMA's products and services. This is in comparison to the costs and quality of my previous telephone service vendor for roughly equivalent services.

Do I like paying these incremental fees? NO! Not any more than I like paying other fees and taxes, but I do understand that there are costs associated with utility-like services.

Do I blame OOMA for these fees? NO! Not even for the portion of the fees which represent business costs for OOMA to meet the govermental requirements and regulations.
#92804 by jcanavera
Thu Feb 09, 2012 1:52 pm
I'll concur, if you looked at you old local carrier bill, those fees are always changing and not going down. We've seen it here with AT&T. So is it a surprise that Ooma made a rate change? No not really and quite honestly that is something out of their control. As others have pointed out the value of the service far outweighs the amount I am paying to Ooma. I don't forget that my last voice bill was $52 monthly. Considering the fees and the Ooma Premier service, I'm going to pay off the initial investment in my Telo very quickly.
#92815 by davidm
Thu Feb 09, 2012 3:40 pm
It's a little suspicious that suddenly these fees went up just this month in multiple states though. Common sense tells me it's actually Ooma who is just now deciding to collect these fees.

Sure $4.50 a month is a better deal than $50 a month but don't forget some of us paid $250 for our Telo (it actually probably cost them about $30 - $60 to make). Also don't forget that you need a reasonable internet connection and you are paying for that. If like me you are able to downgrade to a cheaper internet package and save $20 a month then:

$20 month increased internet charge
$4.50 Ooma charge
== $24.50 actual end cost

$250 Ooma Telo cost / 24 months (2 years) = $10.42 / month

== $34.92

In many areas you can get a landline for that rate. And almost anywhere it will get you 300 minutes a month on a mobile plan. So in some cases it might not be that great of a deal for some any longer depending on circumstances.
#92825 by Lakeo
Thu Feb 09, 2012 8:14 pm
Here is my take on it.

The Legacy carriers, in my case Century Link, was Qwest, was Pacific Northwest Bell, are being taxed our of existence by the Feds, State, and local governments.

In round figures, unlimited local and LD service from Century Link in my area is around 30 bucks a month. Not bad for a system with 99.999% reliability. The taxes however, run it up to about $55-$60 a month. That makes VoIP a hell of a deal, and subscribers are abandoning the Legacy carriers in mass for VoIP or Cell service.(In the spirit of full disclosure, I use to work for Pacific Bell. If you know that name, then you know how long ago that was. Two tin cans and a string time.)

So, guess what. The tax revenues are declining at a rapid rate, and the taxing agencies are going where the customers/money is. VoIP! There is only one way that VoIP taxes are going, and that is UP!

As to Magic Jack. My understanding is that MJ is owned by a company that owns a telephone network. The Network get paid for every call that terminates on their (MJ) system. If they get high call volume, they can subsidize the taxes with the fee's they receive from the call originating carrier. The MJ voice mail picks up in four rings, and you can't change it. They want either you, or VM to answer a call so they get paid for the incoming call.

I could be our in left field on all this, but that's my two cents worth!

lakeo
#92833 by jcanavera
Fri Feb 10, 2012 7:40 am
I know for a fact that the Federal Universal Service fee increased 10/1/11. I'm sure that Ooma carried some of that charge from that date till now. That affects everyone no matter where you live. Looking at my old AT&T bill, the fee side was $8.11 a month. Then the next addition was taxes. I consider Ooma's $4.00 monthly charge for fees and taxes pretty reasonable.

The various sides of government consider telephones a cash cow and all you have to do is look at your LEC or Cellular bill to see how this has grown over the years.
#92835 by jcanavera
Fri Feb 10, 2012 7:55 am
davidm wrote:It's a little suspicious that suddenly these fees went up just this month in multiple states though. Common sense tells me it's actually Ooma who is just now deciding to collect these fees.

Sure $4.50 a month is a better deal than $50 a month but don't forget some of us paid $250 for our Telo (it actually probably cost them about $30 - $60 to make). Also don't forget that you need a reasonable internet connection and you are paying for that. If like me you are able to downgrade to a cheaper internet package and save $20 a month then:

$20 month increased internet charge
$4.50 Ooma charge
== $24.50 actual end cost

$250 Ooma Telo cost / 24 months (2 years) = $10.42 / month

== $34.92

In many areas you can get a landline for that rate. And almost anywhere it will get you 300 minutes a month on a mobile plan. So in some cases it might not be that great of a deal for some any longer depending on circumstances.


In my case my Telo unit was $179 at Costco. My AT&T bill for voice and a 6 meg DSL line was $92 a month and was going up to $95 for February. I replaced the DSL with a 15 meg cable line from Charter Communications for $20 a month. I also bought a cable modem for $79. $14.91 a month if you spread the cost of the Telo over 12 month. With the new monthly Ooma fee at $4.00 a month, that adds up to $45.49 a month for the first year. Compare that to $95 a month to AT&T and it makes sense. The bottom line is I saved $594.12 annually by making the switch. Break even cost for the Telo and the cable modem comes about within 6 months. Even with the Charter service going up at the end of 12 months by $10 a month, the initial cost of the Telo and cable modem are recovered and the savings goes up even further.

I was fortunate that competition allowed me to go to another Internet service provider which saved me some big dollars and gave me a speed increase to boot. So like you said everyone has their own situations to do the math on. In my case it made the risk of jumping to this technology pretty safe in knowing that after 6 months if I didn't like the service, I would have recovered all my initial costs.

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