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#105797 by joeed2
Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:09 am
My understanding is you can transfer your Lifetime Premier from one Hub to another Hub at any time, under your current terms and conditions, for both taxes (or no taxes) and current Lifetime Premier.

If you wanted to "upgrade" from the Hub to a newer device (Telo), then you would have to do it under whatever "upgrade" program Ooma has going on at that time. Which may or may not include Lifetime Premier, taxes, etc.

As a matter of fact, back in 2012 they did offer an "upgrade" to Telo that included grandfathering in old terms and conditions with no taxes and bringing your Lifetime Premier over to the new Telo. But then that ended quickly, and then the "upgrade" was only bringing over the Lifetime Premier and being under new terms and conditions that you had to pay taxes. So it really all depends on when you do the upgrade.

At any rate, my understanding is if you have Lifetime Premier with no taxes, and your Hub dies... Then you can buy another Hub (Amazon, Ebay, Garage Sale, Pawn Shop, Craigslist, etc.) Then transfer your account over to new (or used) Hub, along with Lifetime Premier and no taxes. The only thing you might be responsible for is a one time activation fee for the new Hub.

Can anybody confirm that? Because if that is the case, then people contemplating this deal solely because they are worried about there Hub dying, don't then really need to worry. Because they could just swap out the Hub with another Hub if it dies, and bring forward LIfetime Premier, old terms and conditions, and no taxes. Correct? Or in-correct?
#105809 by lbmofo
Mon Jan 28, 2013 12:26 pm
joeed2 wrote:At any rate, my understanding is if you have Lifetime Premier with no taxes, and your Hub dies... Then you can buy another Hub (Amazon, Ebay, Garage Sale, Pawn Shop, Craigslist, etc.) Then transfer your account over to new (or used) Hub, along with Lifetime Premier and no taxes. The only thing you might be responsible for is a one time activation fee for the new Hub.

Can anybody confirm that? Because if that is the case, then people contemplating this deal solely because they are worried about there Hub dying, don't then really need to worry. Because they could just swap out the Hub with another Hub if it dies, and bring forward LIfetime Premier, old terms and conditions, and no taxes. Correct? Or in-correct?

If the device is old, there is a re-activation fee and you'd be subject to new T&C including RRF so "old Hub" is likely not feasible to do Hub to Hub swap retaining T&C and lifetime Premier. Even new Hub swap....I heard a forum mod is suppose to clarify and post reply to this thread:

/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=14918#p103907
/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=14918#p103925
#105815 by rainyjc82
Mon Jan 28, 2013 2:04 pm
Ooma is no longer the Apple of phone service, from packaging to aesthetics. They are now Microsoft circa Windows 3.1. Their business model is not to have delighted customers, but rather planned obsolescence where customers are required to pay money to upgrade every so often - or else. Nowhere was that more apparent than in the email we received offering to permit us to buy a Telo and accessory for $120 to replace my perfectly functioning Hub and Scout. This email was a true marvel - I always thought Tom Hagen and Don Corleone were fictional, but they are alive, well, and working for Ooma corporate communications, making us "an offer we can't refuse." (I know this is a super-long email, but if you don't have the time to read it all, at least skip to the bolded parts from Amazon, written by Ooma, below as this is the most egregious thing about this entire business.)

Seriously, if you look at the way Ooma has behaved since the Telo was put on the market, those of us early adapters who kept the company alive when many analysts had written it off should be prepared for our Hub to become an expensive paperweight in no more than a year. Within the next few months, an "upgrade" to the Telo system will occur that unfortunately requires turning off a feature or two on the Hub. This will happen every few months until we are left with a beautifully engineered and designed case study of how to turn (at least some) loyal customers who provided free advertising into people who actively campaign against a company.

Since Ooma's blogs have disappeared, I've used the Wayback Machine to retrieve them. Over 2009, they go from promising the world to current members (when the Hub was the only game in town) to basically telling Hub members they may as well upgrade even if they just bought their Hub since the Hub would work as-is, but all further features would be Telo-only. They also promised nothing would change for Hub and Scout Core Users, including with respect to taxes (message me if you want a copy).

I know the Ooma corporate apologists will jump all over me saying that legally Ooma's Terms and Conditions permit them to do anything they want and anyway we can keep our Hub for as long as it works and not pay taxes. Sure, that's right. But, I'm a corporate lawyer who has watched as companies alienate customers for a pittance in revenue. A good reputation is built slowly and can be destroyed overnight. Nordstrom, Amazon and Zappos know that, which is why their reps have so much power to make customers happy. Ooma can change their terms and conditions daily if they want (just like they could outsource first level support), but that doesn't mean that doing so is a good idea.

I invested a total oft $600 for a physical box and the promise of Lifetime Premier Service from a start-up where I had no recourse if they went bankrupt in three months (and most start-ups do fail). As a moral matter, I expect that the company honors its advertised terms that caused me to invest in its product and service (regardless of its legal rights).

If I took the deal offered to upgrade to a Telo and paid out another $120 (particularly infuriating when my Hub and Scout have never caused me a single day's problem - a shame from so many angles including the environment), I would be charged $44.76/year or $3.73/month. This is curious as when I checked a while back as I do from time to time, it was about double that. As the T&Cs provide that these taxes and fees can be whatever Ooma chooses them to be, I wonder what they will be after the expiration of the Telo offer.

I strongly object to the fees and taxes charged by Ooma for those of us buying under the old plan as well as changing its terms for the Lifetime Premier Service. Ooma made the mistake of leaving its Hub and Scout page up (which is the package I got) on Amazon (and which I now hae a timestamped pdf as I suspect they are going to take it down quickly like their blog that had reassured all us Hub members nothing would change - PM me if you want it). Check it out at http://tinyurl.com/oomaamazoncore (and remember, Ooma wrote the copy for EVERYTHING following "From the Manufacturer.")

The Amazon Page states "From the Manufacturer: Ooma is an award-winning product that gives you free home phone service. Quite simply, no more nickel and dime fees and no more monthly phone bills."

Ooma also says "Other phone companies nickel and dime you for local toll calls and long-distance, layering on mysterious fees, taxes, and surcharges for stuff you don't need." If the Regulatory Compliance Fee isn't a "mysterious fee, tax, or surcharge," I'm at a loss for what is. There are many more examples of where Ooma promises not to charge fees or taxes, but I think I've made my point

Going back to the amended T&C's, particularly outrageous are parts of Ooma's "Regulatory Compliance Fee."

"Regulatory Compliance Fee (what's this?)
Ooma uses this fee to recover certain of Ooma’s costs associated with compliance with regulatory, legal and tax requirements including: (1) fees Ooma is required to pay to support the TRS fund, which supports facilities and services used to provide telecommunications services for individuals with hearing or speech disabilities; (2) annual regulatory fees assessed on Ooma by the Federal Communications Commission; (3) costs Ooma incurs administering, billing, collecting and making required tax and regulatory filings and complying with other regulations; (4) regulatory surcharges Ooma pays to the providers of telecommunications that Ooma uses to provide its services."

All of these fees are simply recovery of overhead that Ooma pays to be in business. This is not a sales tax analogue. For example, on #4, this would be the same as if McDonald's decided to charge an extra fee for the electricity it uses to light its stores. I would pay $1.78 each month to support the overhead of Ooma - each item being something that should be included in the overall fees I paid for the device and Lifetime Premier Service. If the fees I previously paid weren't enough, they should have done a better job pricing their product. I also have no problem with them pricing their product accordingly for people who are signing up and have these fee disclosed ahead of time (although I still think they should be built into one fee for a device and one fee for Premier service).

It's so sad that Ooma is treating its early investors so shoddily. We were the reason that they didn't fail like 99% of start-ups and I doubt I'm going to get a payoff when they IPO or get sold to another company. Why on earth would you would alienate someone who in the early years paid $600 in hopes that a telephone service might really be different and prayed that this company would beat the odds and stay afloat? The fact I've been writing and revising this email for a couple hours says how strongly I feel about how Ooma is treating us early adapters - instead of thanking us or offering a cool gift to celebrate their success (with an email to a webpage to invite our friends to join up, maybe at a slight discount), they want me to pay $120 in new equipment charges plus $44.76/year in their overhead fees.

I'm planning to keep the Hub as long as it is supported. Then, when Ooma decides to make my Hub and Scout a paperweight and my Lifetime Premier Service is given a pauper's funeral by Ooma, I'll just add Fios VOIP to my Fios plan. Total cost difference: $6.00/month (other people might pay more but I'm in a condo with special rates for Fios) and absolutely no equipment fees. I got well over 10 people to buy Oomas back in the day as I'm known as a techie in my group of friends (and the lawyers I work with at my large law firm). I now tell people to go for Fios (we're in NYC/Jersey City, the Sixth Borough), but I convinced my parents out in Seattle who loved my Ooma and were going to buy one to go with Comcast VOIP instead. Not only am I personally mad at Ooma, but my reputation is on the line and I don't have any clue what customer-unfriendly things they are going to do in the future that I'll get blamed for.

I'm just so disappointed since Ooma seemed to be so different when I first started with them. From the design of their package to the aesthetics, it was like Apple for phone service. Now it's just another Microsoft whose business model is planned obsolescence. And for all you Telo owners, just wait, a leopard doesn't change its spots (although I hope for your sake that someone eventually smartens up!)

Sorry for the long post, but this is a cathartic experience after being so pro-Ooma over the years and having people who bought an Ooma at my recommendation calling and emailing non-stop yesterday and today to ask what's going on and did I recommend that they spend $600 on an item that the company is threatening to stop supporting even though it still works and they don't want to make a change and learn a new system - the old one is super intuitive and they like it.

Best regards - I hope some good somewhere comes of this!
#105818 by Leeway
Mon Jan 28, 2013 2:59 pm
Technology just moves ahead and I don't see much difference with this than say for example Microsoft coming out with a new operating system and the printer you paid a fortune for and is in your opinion "just wonderful" but it is no longer useable because HP didn't write drivers to go with the new operating system. Bam, you are forced to purchase a new printer.

As for McDonalds, if you think you aren't paying to pay their light bills or their operating expenses, you are naive. Companies are in business to make money. That means they add their operating debts to your purchases.

Such is life, especially in the electronics department. Seems to me, the US government operates exactly the same way.
#105825 by Oomagumma
Mon Jan 28, 2013 3:44 pm
rainyjc82,

Rest assured, you have many people who are sharing your thoughts and opinions.

Leeway,

Someone who wrote such an eloquent response is obviously not naive. His McDonald's comparison was his way of saying that the costs of doing business are included in the price that you pay for goods (or services). He's already paid the price for a certain expected level of service from Ooma and feels they owe him that service even if their cost of providing that service may have changed. I tend to agree.

From a technology perspective, I don't think it's hard to understand that things move forward. However, there really isn't anything about a hub that should keep it from operating under the technology available today. Ooma should be very careful that it doesn't take steps for a planned obsolescence of the hub for reasons which may appear as avoiding fulfilling their promises because of rising costs. Regardless of whether or not they have the right to do it that would not be a good move for their business.
#105826 by DanD
Mon Jan 28, 2013 3:58 pm
Sorry for the long post, but this is a cathartic experience after being so pro-Ooma over the years and having people who bought an Ooma at my recommendation calling and emailing non-stop yesterday and today to ask what's going on and did I recommend that they spend $600 on an item that the company is threatening to stop supporting even though it still works and they don't want to make a change and learn a new system - the old one is super intuitive and they like it.

Best regards - I hope some good somewhere comes of this!
rainyjc82



Well researched and well said! We can only hope that "some good somewhere comes of this"!

DanD
#105827 by lbmofo
Mon Jan 28, 2013 4:09 pm
Oomagumma wrote:Someone who wrote such an eloquent response is obviously not naive. His McDonald's comparison was his way of saying that the costs of doing business are included in the price that you pay for goods (or services). He's already paid the price for a certain expected level of service from Ooma and feels they owe him that service even if their cost of providing that service may have changed. I tend to agree.

I felt a little strange that Ooma would send out such email related to this topic but that's a different topic.
In any case, I believe, Ooma isn't and won't be breaking any promises. rainyjc82 and all others in the same boat, I trust, would get the service promised by Ooma until their hardware goes belly up.

Oomagumma wrote:From a technology perspective, I don't think it's hard to understand that things move forward. However, there really isn't anything about a hub that should keep it from operating under the technology available today. Ooma should be very careful that it doesn't take steps for a planned obsolescence of the hub for reasons which may appear as avoiding fulfilling their promises because of rising costs. Regardless of whether or not they have the right to do it that would not be a good move for their business.

Like I said earlier, I think Hubs will remain operational on Ooma network until there are no more. As for Ooma wanting to charge RRF with newer T&C, I think this is due to changing regulatory landscape vs technological issue. Ooma wants to play by the rules and the only practical way to do that is via RRF. For my zip, the Ooma RRF is $4.68; compared to my cell phone bill's $5.84 (this is on top of them charging me an arm & a leg every month), given Ooma's basic service is free, Ooma still has some catching up to do before people should accuse them of padding their bottom line via RRF. Another thing to note is that $600 doesn't really last that long with traditional landline service; with lesser service from landline, $600 would probably last a year or two max. Inline with this thinking, Ooma has provided excellent service with features far superior than landline for all these years and one would continue to recieve this superior service for free until the hardware fails....really an awesome deal. This is the flip side...people should be happy vs critical.
#105834 by Oomagumma
Mon Jan 28, 2013 4:46 pm
For those who have a Core package for which Ooma isn't charging a RRF to the customer, are they (Ooma) being required to pay taxes on these accounts to the taxing authorities? If there's anything I can see that would push Ooma to try to somehow migrate Core users to the newer units it would be this. Obviously, this may precisely be the reason the email went out. They could have quite a bit to gain and seemingly (to them) little to lose, unless you count the negative publicity, which they may not have counted on. Is Ooma in any way grandfathered so that they don't have to pay taxes for those units which were activated before the taxes were implemented?

I don't have a problem at all with Ooma feeling pressed to cover the costs represented by the RRF and, obviously, for those customers signing up under the conditions requiring a RRF, they should be okay with paying it because they signed up being informed of that. Those who signed up under those terms/conditions are generally okay with paying the taxes. Most feel it is a great service and the "price" (RRF) is cheaper than almost any other alternative out there.
#105838 by lbmofo
Mon Jan 28, 2013 5:09 pm
Oomagumma wrote:For those who have a Core package for which Ooma isn't charging a RRF to the customer, are they (Ooma) being required to pay taxes on these accounts to the taxing authorities?

My guess is that once Ooma signed up to do the proper thing (billing on behalf of), governement entities don't care whether Ooma is actually collecting from their customers, they just want to get paid their tax $ per service address. I could be wrong (maybe there is a write-off for non collected $).
#105875 by caseybea
Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:24 pm
Great well-said messages in this thread.

I basically see this whole (poor!) notification thing as the first of many attempts by Ooma to get rid of the hubs. This is the handwriting on the wall. And despite what Ooma *promised* its early customers (including me), they clearly don't care about that any more and I truly believe they will force the issue somehow down the road.

If that day comes, I'm outta here and will switch to some other voip option. My recommendations to others to use Ooma will stop. I only let a company lie to me ONCE.

PS: Did you ever notice how many technical PROBLEMS Telo customers have? You very rarely see ANY hub/core customers with technical issues. Just throwing that out there.

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