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Consumer Affairs
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Read before you sign

Vox Telecom is currently engaged in an aggressive marketing drive of its ADSL telephone over the Internet service. And while the Direct Marketing Association of SA says it is not engaged in ‘illegal negative marketing’, I would advise prospective clients to read the terms and conditions carefully before being committed. As it is, the selling is by cold calling and the sales person will rattle off a list of copious benefits, hard to take in without having the relative documents to hand.

So go to www.voxnetwork.co.za to read up on the deal first.
Vox says that if you sign up you will receive 20 days service free of charge and that your phone will be delivered to you within two working days also free of charge. But you will be charged for any calls if you do not continue with a subscription after that period. Furthermore, Vox will assume you agree to the contract if you do not cancel – so you will be debited R300 set up fee and then R49 subscription fee on the 1st day of each month.
The service provides so-called ‘VOIP’ technology to home users and small businesses. This essentially is Voice Over Internet Protocol. So you need an ADSL Internet connection and an Internet account to use the service (that’s about R350 a month on top of anything you pay Vox). Then what you get includes the following:
• free Vox to Vox calls;
• a saving of 26% on national calls; 21% on cell phone calls; and up to 70% on international calls; and,
• a free Vox ADSL phone worth R3 000.

Vox uses an (087) prefix so if ever you have to call such a number, consider this. Vox clients who have bought into the service will be paid 20 cents per minute on incoming Telkom calls and 40 cents per minute on incoming cell phone calls. I don’t need to tell you who is paying for that. How do you feel about your friends who call your Vox number paying you either 20 cents or 40 cents a minute for the privilege? I would feel very uncomfortable with that.
I am not sure what happens if the Internet service is disrupted. Our Internet has so far gone down three times this year, once for a period of five days. Then also bear in mind that the Vox calls will use up your Internet bandwidth. I don’t know how much but extra bandwidth currently costs about R70 per GigaByte. I also wonder, while you can use up to four additional handsets per router, will they also cost R3 000 each?
In any case, we use a mix of Telkom Closer services for South African landlines (for about R300 a month all calls are free); cell phones for calling cell phone networks (and there is pretty good portability, of course); and Skype for any International calls (free to anywhere in the world to other Skype users with no time limits, and very cheap Skype to global landlines and cell phones too).
I suppose it is a question of doing your homework. Which suggests buying into a cold call sale is not a good idea.

Copyright © Insurance Times and Investments® Vol:22.7 1st July, 2009
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