Problems with Magic Jack Service

One of the tools I use a lot in Panama to talk to family, friends, and businesses, in the U.S., is Magic Jack. It is a slick little device that connects to the USB port on your PC and allows you to talk VOIP using a real telephone.

All calls to the U.S. and Canada are covered by their annual fee of $20. We also use it to call Costa Rica and it is cheaper than buying phone cards. When Natalie was in China, we called her for just 2 cents a minute. To call other than the U.S. and Canada just required buying time using a credit card.

I have used it for several years with no real problem until about three weeks ago. I had called Lilliam in Costa Rica and used all of my purchased time. I tried to purchase more time, which had always been simple, only to find that my credit card was not being accepted.

Contacting Magic Jack about problems took some time. Finally I was able to talk to a “Live Person” in a chat session. Everything was cordial but nothing was resolved. The attendant submitted my case for review.

Most companies will send you email conformations related to problem calls. Not Magic Jack. Over the last three weeks, I have contacted them several times. Each time I am told my problem is under review. Now I understand that problems such as this can take a couple days to resolve, but several weeks is too much. I still have receive no email about the problem.

You cannot talk to a real person on the phone to discuss your problem, You can only chat on the Internet. Since the problem has gone on this long, I thought it might be worth posting. Luckily, now that Natalie is no longer in China and Lilliam has returned from Costa Rica, all calls are to the U.S. and Canada. Those still work fine, but if my current contract expires, purchasing a renewal wont work as it used the same mechanism as buying International time.

57 thoughts on “Problems with Magic Jack Service

  1. Don, Join the club. We have had the same problem with MagicJack for six months now. They will not accept the credit card and they said our account is “under review”. We have other friends here in Boquete with the same MagicJack problem.

  2. Hi Don,

    My Magicjack did the exact same thing, but now it accepts my credit card and tells me it will appear on my next statement, but it doesn’t appear and I still cannot use it. This has happened for months now.

  3. Well, my balance was low, so I put it to the test and bought $10 additional International minutes and it went through right away.
    Quien sabe?
    Joyce

  4. Well this is an unfortunate item to show up in my in box.
    I was just getting ready to switch over from my VoIP provider who charges $32.00 monthly and whom I have been with successfully for nearly seven years (8X8) to Magic Jack Plus , intending to mainly use it for calls to/from the USA.
    Can any of you that are having problems with credit cards tell me if that is affecting your Magic Jack regular service or is it the Magic Jack Plus?

  5. As I don’t call the States, for years I’ve used Skype. It’s just over 2 cents to the UK and 7 to CR. Are there better alternatives out there?

  6. Skype is an alternative. I prefer MJ for my needs. The next time I contact them I will pass on the address of this post. Hopefully, I will have better luck the next time.

  7. Magicjack is really a nightmare. today I tried to call The Georgia Power Company in Atlanta to check on my account , by the way, I was calling from David. I got connected, but the lady at the other end only could hear half of what I was saying, I could not hear any better myself. After few minutes, out of frustration,I desided to end the call without solving my problem. What an ordeal!!!!!.

  8. It is my understanding that because each Magic Jack is assigned a US telephone number the FCC requires that any credit card used for renewal fees or purchase of additional credits must have a US billing address. You should ask the Magic Jack account representative whether this is true.

  9. I should point out that I have a Magic Jack registered using my US credit card with a US billing address and have absolutely no problems.

  10. Don, I got an offer on my MJ start up page for something called MJ Plus which is for only 48 hours at a cost of $e34.95 for the first year. It says that it doesn’t need a computer to run but does need DSL??? I believe. It states that if you change over you can still keep your old number and have a new one or you can transfer your old number. The device is supposed to work with USB as well. And, a lot of the issues with MJ not being always the best have been addressed in the new product. I’m still not sure what they are selling?? They seem to not be very retail oriented or customer service oriented but with all the money they should be making off these products, it would seem that they should at least hire a PR firm if nothing else. I hope they get this settled because I really like the MJ.

  11. Hi all,
    I don’t have MJ but I am wondering if any of the problems are VPN related? I have been considering MJ for our calls to Panama from the US so I’m interested in users’ experience with it. (And I hope their customer service hasn’t been handed over to “Peggy”.) 🙂
    jim and nena
    fort worth, tx

  12. Interesting question. However, I have used MJ under VPN for a long time, so I think it is a recent peoblem. I don’t think the credit card problem is a different problem.

  13. I have been using Ooma for the last 3-4 years.

    Its a separate box that connects to your router via ethernet. You plug in a regular telephone. You can also plug in a fax machine.
    I ported my US telephone number (that I’ve had for 20 years) but you can also pick one in an area code that’s convenient for your callers.

    You have access to all your phone calls online, and you get an email message with caller ID when anyone calls you.

    It does cost a couple hundred to buy the box, but the basic service is free.

    If you make calls to countries other than the US (maybe Canada too; not sure), you buy Ooma credit, just like with Skype.

  14. I just read that, on average, 60% of available bandwidth is taken by video transmission — and that percentage is climbing dramatically.

  15. Comment from afar (Quito): I’m like Naples, I’ve never had any probs with MJ (I should probably knock on wood at this point!).

  16. I just tried to take “advantage” of MJ’s MJ Plus offer, a screen came up, and then there was nothing to click on to go further. It also pulls up MS’s Internet Explorer which I don’t find very useful and a major screen hog. This MJ company has some major marketing problems.

    MJ must be run by an engineer. I worked for a company once that was second generation engineer. He was so happy to constantly have back orders because he knew he had future sales “locked up” for his products. His competitors liked his back orders also – so much so that they began helping to fill his back orders and they got bigger as competitors.

  17. “Review” is like a dead letter box, or a black hole where they put things to keep from dealing with them. Nothing it seems ever come out of “Review”. Yes customer service stinks from MJ.

    BTW, I am happy with my VOIPO service. Prepay and it is under $10 per month, unlimited to the US and Canada. I ported my old US phone number to them. They sent me a box to hook to my cable and wireless router so there is no need for a Computer.

    BOB

  18. Got on with MJ, problem was I was using an old email address from a previous bad experience with MJ. I logged on with the current email and was able to order the new MJ Plus for around $39. If they resolved some of the echo problems that will be a large plus – not needing a computer will be another. Over all I am pleased with the product so far and have had the MJ minus for about a year now.

  19. Yes, not having to have the PC turned on would be a major benefit and if they were to solve my vurrent problem, I might buy one to replace my USB version.

  20. Just chiming in, I have also been unable to renew MJ. The automatic system did not work, my attempts to renew it before it expired failed and when I followed the renewal link on the MJ display after it had expired that failed to work also. What was frustrating is that the last two processes accepted my charges on my credit card, then nothing happened. I went on the chat 3 separate times. The people on the other end were useless. They simply said the charge did not go thru. (This process took about 2 hours each time). I have finally given up.

  21. i am having same problem of renewal .. credit card is not going through .. though the website issues the order# but apparently internally get rejected which you only get to know when you speak to billing live agent… its been 3 months and no positive answer has been given beside “thankyou for your patience, an engineer will email you soon” .. it seems they have standard response templates .. i have enjoyed the service so far but now it seems they are going down and taking us down with them

  22. Ever since this article appeared along with it’s accompanying thread I have been leery of going with Magic Jack. They do have competitors and after extensive checking, the one with the best reputation is the NetTalk Duo. I have included their link below. They are proving to be great and have real people who answer the phone and actually give good service. I recommend them heartily.

    The link should answer all of your questions. Check them out.
    http://www.nettalk.com

    The referenced article is from one of my favorite techies:
    http://askbobrankin.com/cheap_phone_calls_magicjack_alternatives.html?awt_l=P8vEN&awt_m=IeqK9nSfy8P6SL

  23. Thanks for the link. I am about to the point where I need to try to get MagicJack to respond as I need to be able to call China so Lilliam can talk to her daughter. Sometimes Skype is not good enough and it is always better to be able to call a landline.

    Thanks for the comment and the new option. I will check them out.

  24. Hi – We seem to have developed a problem with our MJ here in the US. It works fine for calls here in the US but we can’t successfully call Panama since last week. We use it for calling Panama landlines. On our end we hear the ringing signal thru the handset but the people we call in Panama don’t hear anything.

    I dont know the mechanics of MJ but it seems that there must be a hub where incoming voip calls are reassembled for transmission over the telephone lines. I wonder if the Panama national phone companies are doing something to quash this great and cheap service?

  25. I have been trying to get my cc to go through for a few days now. I contact MJ via live chat and all I was told was that my acct was under review and that the engineers are working very hard to get the problem fixed. But they couldn’t give any other information. I had just added time to my acct via the same CC two days before and had no issues. The transactions went straight through. I’m now on day 4 not being able to add any time….so frustrating!!! Is there anything that I can do to fix this????

  26. At the risk of being annoying, there really is only one solution. Change providers. That’s what I did. Immediately afterwards, I had the previous number ported over to the new provider. Bonus – my new provider is a lot cheaper. Second bonus – I did not have to give any of my contacts a new phone number. It is all done and zero hassles now. Bueno suerte.

  27. I had this same problem a year ago. For many months, they kept telling me that my account is under review and they cannot tell me the specifics. Ive been using mJ for almost 5 years. Gave one to my mom, my brother and my mother in law. But now i cannot even use them because i cannot renew. I bought NETTALK DUO! Been using it for almost a year and have no problem! Screw majicjack plus.. NETTALK have real customer service you can call. They care. MJ doesnt care at all.

  28. In an earlier post I mentioned two bonuses of having changed my USA-phone-number-that rings-at-my-house-in-Panama.

    There is a third bonus it turns out.

    Whenever the internet drops off (as it is wont to do with C&W), and then when the internet is restored and the modem/router are again connected to the world, the NetDuo service rings my phone (just one ring) to let me know that the service is back.

    Pretty cool! I love it when technology works well.

  29. I just found this thread after spending the day and 2 credit cards trying to renew my Canadian phone number.
    As of this posting, 8 hours later, I still have not succeeded.
    I’ve been with them for 3 years. This business model is seriously flawed.
    Thing is, I still have 5 months on my contract that I’ll lose.

  30. Hello – I am having the same credit card issues with MJ. Like many others I’ve tried everything, including contacting MJ which has been a bit of a nightmare. It is pretty clear that I am not going to easily get this resolved with them. Any chance anyone here has actually overcome this issue and if so how? Thank you.

  31. EDUCATED GUESS #1
    There is NO way anytime soon. You will have to wait for their automated termination system to change. I believe the actual devices are flashed with a piece of code that will disable them making them incompatible with the network. At that point, they have to make up an excuse “Your account is under review”. This is EXTREMELY stupid logic. But it explains why no one I know has ever exited the “UNDER REVIEW” phase successfully. I am not sure if this was deliberate or if its a bug. These devices are mass produced and mass flashed. What I am saying is only true if there is no life after “THE REVIEW”. I had the same problem. I came to the conclusion when I was told that it was an engineering problem.

    EDUCATED GUESS #2
    If they technically ‘can’ turn us back on, my other guess would be that an FCC regulation issue motivated this kind of coding on the device (or the network and servers). I think they might have to review our compliance with the Magic Jack TOS so save themselves. I tried to discuss the TOS/FCC relationship with a Magic Jack representative, but She said that she was not allowed to talk about those matters.

  32. I purchased a magic jack about 6 mos ago and after about 5 mos it started dropping calls and technicqal talk would come on the line. I recently tried to used the device and it said that there was a system problem. I called on the chat line and was informed that I had violated my TOS terms conditions. They never could tell me what I violated but referred me to their terms and conditions. After 3 disonnects on the chaqt line, I finally pinned her down. I was using my phone to much. I knew something was curious because I am retired and used the phone about twice a day. After some back and forth, I informed them that this was apieced of junk and they should be fined by the appripriated authority. I threw the mess in the trash can and hope everone else does the same.

  33. I spent 6 hours with 4different idiots from somewhere overseas, trying to resolve account issues.

    There are phone numbers we never had on our account. They show us as having 4 different devices: we have 2 of them.

    Our 2 units work just fine, but our account has now become 2 accounts with 4 units. There are also other problems which are not technical.

    Nobody exists to resolve ANY account problems.

  34. I have had the same credit card issues with no resolution, the chat service representatives are point blank useless and all read from the same script. I have spent hours trying to resolve the problem of payment with no joy. I have ordered a net talk unit and mj can stick their unit where the sun does not shine!!!!!! I would stay as far away from mj as possible, one site I reviewed had over 1600 complaints

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