Ricky Spears’ Blog
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magicJack Hijacks My Free Conference Calls to 218-339-2500!

My friend Russell turned me on to magicJack about a year or so ago. He also evangelized it to several other people I know and about 4-months ago I decided to buy one myself. I was able to get 5 years of VOIP phone service through my desktop, or laptop when I travel, for under a hundred bucks. It’s not always perfect and sometimes the sound quality is not usable at all, but most of the time it’s great and it has allowed me to drop my cell phone contract from 900-minutes a month to only 450-minutes a month—and I use very few of them. I really do get much more than my $1.67/month out of it. However, Monday I experienced a major problem that I feel the need to rant about.

image A lot of my business calls are conference calls. When I schedule conference calls I usually schedule them using Windows Live Meeting because I like Microsoft’s VOIP and I also like to use a webcam so I can see the people I’m talking with and so they can see me as well—expressions and gestures add a lot to understanding another party. LiveMeeting has a lot of other things I like too, but that’s another blog post for another day.

The person who scheduled this particular conference call scheduled it through FreeConferenceCall.com. When it was time, I used my magicJack to dial into the meeting at 218-339-2500. Instead of being asked to enter my conference number, I received the following message from magicJack, “Important announcement! Please listen to this entire short message, the number you have dialed can not be completed from your magicJack. For free conference calling set-up you must dial 305-848-8888. You may press 1 any time during this message to connect. Please use this number for all future free conference calling. Please visit FreeMagicConference.com for more information on magicJack Free Conference Calling. Again, that was FreeMagicConference.com.”

So, I disconnected from this call and called the 305-848-8888 number and entered my conference ID when requested. It was not accepted. Obviously, there was no connection between FreeConferenceCall.com and FreeMagicConference.com. I was really frustrated that I was going to have to make this call and use my cell phone minutes. That’s not why I purchased my magicJack.

image After the call, I decided to test and see if I could use Google Voice to place the call. Although I haven’t used Google Voice very much so far, I have configured it to ring my cell phone, home land line, and my magicJack when calls are received. When I received my call from Google Voice, I answered it on my magicJack and then I heard the FreeConferenceCall phone ring once; after that I heard a busy signal. I thought that maybe Google Voice was blocking FreeConferenceCall.com as well. To test this theory, I placed the call again, but had it routed to my cell phone instead. This time there was no problem and I was connected. Somehow, magicJack is even hijacking and diverting these calls even when they are made through Google Voice!

I searched through magicJack’s knowledge-base to see if I could find out anything about this and no matter what keywords or questions I entered, I kept getting answers about how to schedule a conference call using FreeMagicConference.com. No explanation at all about why I couldn’t join a conference call.

I did check out FreeMagicConference.com and it is a service very similar to FreeConferenceCall.com and anyone can use it to schedule a meeting, even if you aren’t using a magicJack. I haven’t tried the service, but I may try it one day and let you know how it works. However, being able to initiate a meeting doesn’t help me to attend a meeting at all.

I planned to document all this here on the blog, but I got tied up with other things. This afternoon I read a blog post by Russell, my magicJack pusher friend, about his recent problems (read MagicJack Call to Free Conference Call not Placed to 218-339-2500). In his post he provides the transcript of a chat session he had with magicJack customer service, so I thought I would chat with them too. Customers have to speak out about this and let them know this isn’t good business. Here is the transcript of my chat:

Chat InformationPlease wait for a site operator to respond.

Chat InformationYou are now chatting with ‘Kiefer’

Chat InformationYour Issue ID for this chat is LTK419075516900X

Kiefer: Hello, how may I help you?

Ricky: Hi, Kiefer.

Ricky: I seem to be unable to join a conference call at 318-339-2500.

Kiefer: Please follow the instructions for making conference calls.

Kiefer: First, dial 305-848-8888

Kiefer: Then press 2

Kiefer: Enter a 3 digit pin to create a conference room number.

Kiefer: And write your conference room number down,

Kiefer: Next is to distribute your dial-in instructions to your conference room attendees.

Kiefer: Dial 305-848-8888

Kiefer: Press 1

Kiefer: and enter your Conference room number.

Ricky: I receive a message telling me I need to call 305-848-8888, but that’s not who my conference call is through.

Ricky: No. I don’t want to SCHEDULE a call, I need to JOIN a call.

Kiefer: Please follow the steps above.

Ricky: My conference call was not scheduled through that service.

Ricky: How do I join a call at this other number.

Kiefer: Thank you for your patience. I will transfer you to a higher level of support. Please hold while I transfer you.

Ricky: Thank you!

Chat InformationPlease wait while I transfer the chat to the best suited site operator.

Chat InformationYou are now chatting with ‘Kyle’

Chat InformationYour Issue ID for this chat is LTK419075516900X

Kyle: Hi, Ricky.

Ricky: Hi, Kyle.

Ricky: I seem to be unable to join a conference call using my magicJack.

Kyle: May I know the exact nature of your problem with full details please?

Ricky: These calls are one of the major reasons I purchased it.

Kyle: Okay

Ricky: I am trying to connect to a conference call at 218-339-2500.

Ricky: My call gets diverted and I receive a message telling me how to SCHEDULE a call through your service. I don’t need to SCHEDULE a call, I need to JOIN one.

Kyle: Ricky conference call will not work with MJ not unless you will be the host of the conference call.

Ricky: It has always worked before.

Ricky: Why will it not work now?

Ricky: I don’t understand.

Ricky: This just started happening on Monday, and it persists.

Kyle: I’m sorry but we have a new update that you cannot connect to a conference call not unless you’re the host

Ricky: So, I’m just out of luck? There is nothing I can do?

Ricky: Where should I escalate my complaint?

Kyle: Ricky I am at the escalation level and I am explaining this to you,

Ricky: So, you’re the CEO of magicJack?

Ricky: I want to make sure that people there know this isn’t acceptable.

Kyle: No I am one of the escalations.

Ricky: And, do you have a supervisor?

Ricky: Can I chat with your supervisor about this?

Kyle: Our superior will be available in the morning Ricky

Ricky: OK. How should I contact him or her?

Kyle: You can chat us back Ricky.

Ricky: So, I need to go back through all this again? Tomorrow morning?

Ricky: That’s even more frustration.

Ricky: At what time will the supervisor(s) be available?

Kyle: In the morning Ricky I do not have a specific time

Ricky: Do you know a time zone? Morning where? I’m in the Eastern Time Zone.

Ricky: It’s always morning somewhere. :o )

Kyle: We are in FLorida Ricky, it’s EST here.

Ricky: I’m really not wanting to be a pain for you, but I do want to resolve this problem. I purchased your product as my solution to attending costly and time consuming conference calls and now I find that I’m not able to do so. I just need to make sure this gets fixed.

Ricky: OK. I’ll try back in the morning. If I include my Issue ID, can I skip retyping all this?

Kyle: I understand Ricky as much as I want to help you, but I can’t

Ricky: Thank you Kyle. I hope you have a good rest of your evening.

Kyle: And you as well Ricky, have a pleasant evening.

So, the bottom line is that they are no longer allowing their customers to connect to conference calls via the magicJack unless the customer is the host of the call through their service.

I’ll try chatting tomorrow morning and see if I can get to an escalation supervisor. I’ll keep you posted!

Update: I did some research on FreeConferenceCall.com and how they make money. I found a really short and simple article entitled, The Skinny on FreeConferenceCall.com. I don’t know if magicJack has to pay when people use their service to connect to these lines, but I’m doubting it. I end to think they just want their piece of the free US Toll calling pie and they want to force their users to give it to them. I plan to broach this with the supervisor tomorrow morning if I’m able to actually talk to one.

Update: I have filed a form 2000B – Billing, Privacy, or Service Quality Compliant with the FCC. Here is the text of that compliant:

magicJack no longer allows calls to be placed to FreeConferenceCall.com phone numbers, which means that I can’t attend many conference calls that others schedule for me. They play a message that I can schedule a conference call through their own FreeMagicConference.com service, but there is no way to join a conference call someone else scheduled using the other service. They used to allow this and then suddenly I noticed they were blocking the calls on Monday, August 24. I have contacted customer service and they tell me, “I’m sorry but we have a new update that you cannot connect to a conference call not unless you’re the host.” They don’t give any reason for the change in policy, nor was any warning given.

I don’t know if this is a violation of FCC policies or not, but I wanted to bring it to your attention in case.

I have documented my complete experience, including chat transcripts at: http://rickyspears.com/blog/2009/08/magicjack-hijacks-my-free-conference-calls-to-218-339-2500/

Update (2009-08-27): I was able to chat with a supervisor. The bottom line is that they will not provide any explanation for the change and she says that I can’t chat with anyone higher than her, nor can I call anyone higher. Here is the transcript of our chat:

Chat InformationPlease wait for a site operator to respond.

Chat InformationYou are now chatting with ‘Morgan’

Chat InformationYour Issue ID for this chat is LTK419075595198X

Morgan: Hello, how may I help you?

Ricky: Hi. I chatted with support last night on Issue ID: LTK419075516900X. Then I chatted with an escalation representative on Issue ID: LTK419075516900X.

Morgan: One moment please…

Ricky: Kyle told me I could chat with an escalation supervisor today.

Ricky: I would like to chat with an escalation supervisor, please?

Morgan: Okay

Morgan: One moment please…

Morgan: Thank you for your patience. I will transfer you to a higher level of support. Please hold while I transfer you.

Ricky: Thank you, Morgan!

Chat InformationPlease wait while I transfer the chat to the best suited site operator.

Chat InformationYou are now chatting with ‘Myrene’

Chat InformationYour Issue ID for this chat is LTK419075595198X

Myrene: Hi Ricky.

Ricky: Hi Myrene.

Myrene: One moment please…

Ricky: I’m rather disappointed that I can no longer ATTEND conference calls. I would like to get some sort of explanation about why this changed if I can.

Myrene: aRe you having issue with the conference call?

Ricky: Yes. I can’t ATTEND conference calls that other people schedule through services like FreeConferenceCall.com.

Myrene: Alright, I believe you want to Join a confenece call, right? I am sorry but you cannot call that number, magicjack does not support that number. However, you may create your won Conference call . first, create your free magicjack conference room number, – Dial 305-848-8888.

Ricky: I just get a message saying that I have to use FreeMagicConference.com to schedule a conference.

Ricky: However, that doesn’t help me to attend one someone else scheduled.

Ricky: I used to be able to attend them before Monday.

Myrene: That is the new upgrade in our system that i cannot change it Ricky.. I understand how your feel believe me but we cannot change it anymore.

Ricky: Can you tell me why this was changed?

Ricky: Perhaps, why the company felt this would be good for your customers?

Myrene: Before we do not have our own conference phone number but now since we have upgraded you as  a MJ user can create a conference call for free,

Ricky: I hear you.

Myrene: Thank you for that Ricky

Myrene: And for allowing me to explain it

Ricky: However that addresses why you don’t want people to SCHEDULE calls, but it doesn’t explain why you won’t allow people to ATTEND calls.

Ricky: From a customer perspective, it’s rather rude.

Myrene: We are open with your opinions and suggestions Ricky.. Please do not worry… I  let the higher dept know about this so that they are aware of this as well.

Ricky: Can I chat with anyone higher, myself?

Myrene: I am sorry but this is the higher level that you can chat with Ricky.

Ricky: OK. Who can I call and talk to about this?

Myrene: we as a supervisors… and once we end this chat i will copy and paste our conversation so that they are aware of this.

Ricky: So, you’re saying there is nothing more I can do to get an explanation unless I involve a body outside of magicJack? Like the FCC or BBB or something?

Ricky: I would really prefer to talk to someone there and get an explanation.

Ricky: I just don’t see why some explanation is that difficult.

Myrene: If you are going to create a conference call… the other can join the conference

Ricky: Even if you lie to me, I won’t know the difference. :o )

Ricky: But I don’t schedule these calls. Other people schedule them. I can’t force them to use one service or another–the way you’re forcing me.

Myrene: I know that you are now frustrated with this but i do not want to lie with you because i do not want you to expect.

Ricky: Just so we are clear: are you saying there is no way for me to get an explanation about why I can no longer attend a conference call that someone else schedules via FreeConferenceCall.com or any other service?

Myrene: I am afraid yes.

Ricky: OK. I’ll take this as gospel… for now.

Ricky: Please let my displeasure be known where you can, and I’ll let my displeasure be known where I can.

Myrene: Sorry didn’t quite catch that

Ricky: Please let your supervisors know that I am displeased and why.

Ricky: I will do everything I can do publicize my experience.

Myrene: Affirmative Ricky

Ricky: Thank you, Myrene. I hope you have a good afternoon!

Myrene: I hope so.

Myrene: You are welcome

Update (2009-08-27): I have just found out that calls to FreeConference.com are being blocked in this same manner as well.

Update (2009-10-07): About a week ago I received my paper copy of my complaint to the FCC and I filed it away. Personally, I think these paper copies are quit wasteful in the modern electronic age, but that’s what they do. Oh well. :( This afternoon I received a call from someone named Andrew at magicJack saying that they had received their copy of the complaint and were offering me a full refund on my 5-year contract. I called him back. He was very friendly and professional; I think we had a really good conversation. I told him that I was generally happy with my magicJack and wanted to continue using it–so I didn’t want a refund. I explained that I wasn’t sure about the legality of them blocking access to certain numbers and the only way I could discover that was to file a complaint and leave it for the FCC to decide. He explained that they had reached out to the free conference call companies but said they don’t seem to be willing to work with magicJack to provide free access to their numbers for magicJack users, so it’s unlikely that this functionality will be coming back any time soon. I expressed to him that the consumer will continue to lose as long as CLECs, the VOIP operators, and the Free Conference Call companies all continue to hold onto their current business models and are unwilling to work together to find a solution that works for their customers. A third party will come along eventually that does meet the consumer’s requests and they will wish they had worked together sooner rather than later. It was nice to get to finally express my opinions to a real person at magicJack. [By the way, I am not at liberty to disclose Andrew's direct phone number at magicJack, sorry.]

83 Responses to “magicJack Hijacks My Free Conference Calls to 218-339-2500!”

  1. 1
    Perry Bazell Says:

    Hi Rick,
    I have the same problem with MagicJack and Conference calling from a non MagicJack number as an attendee.
    Here is what I run up against:


    Re: LTK419075189917X and

    May I communicate with your

    I like to clarify this problem I now
    have had for a week.
    My calling to a conference room of
    another company, (non MagicJack)
    as an attendee is now being intercepted
    by MagicJack.

    I call: 269 320 8200 and I receive the
    following reply recorded message by
    “Important announcement! Please listen
    to this entire short message, the number
    you have dialed can not be completed
    from your magicJack. For free conference
    calling set-up you must dial 305-848-8888.
    You may press 1 any time during this message
    to connect. Please use this number for all
    future free conference calling.

    I press 1 and dial the access code, given to
    me by the other conference calling party:
    MagicJack voice responds with:
    “This is an incorrect code #.
    Obviously MagicJack has no connection with
    the conference party I’m trying to reach.

    MagicJack is blocking my call to the outside
    conference call.

    Does MagicJack have a program error to
    be corrected?
    Or is there an intentional company decision
    not to accept outside conference number
    but reroute them to MagicJack’s #:

    I bought MagicJack on the adverticement
    of being able to call anyone in the USA.

    Please give me a direct reply to my
    question and identify your position
    with MagicJack.

    Thank you.
    Customer since Sept 27th 2008.
    (Paid until Sept 27 2010)

    Please wait for a site operator to respond.
    You are now chatting with ‘Ruby’
    Your Issue ID for this chat is LTK419075594170X
    Ruby: Hello, how may I help you?
    Perry Bazell: Hi Ruby, I have some additional communication I would like to state. Is your manager available?
    Ruby: Hi Perry.
    Ruby: You can just state your problem or concern here Perry
    Perry Bazell: 08-27-09 Re: LTK419075189917X and LTK419075558961X
    May I communicate with your manager. I like to clarify this problem I now have had for a week. My calling to a conference room of another company, (non MagicJack) as an attendee is now being intercepted by MagicJack. I call: 269 320 8200 and I receive the following reply recorded message by MagicJack:
    “Important announcement! Please listen to this entire short message, the number you have dialed can not be completed from your magicJack. For free conference calling set-up you must dial 305-848-8888. You may press 1 any time during this message to connect. Please use this number for all future free conference calling.”
    I press 1 and dial the access code, given to me by the other conference calling party: 513324#.

    MagicJack voice responds with: “This is an incorrect code #. Obviously MagicJack has no connection with the conference party I’m trying to reach. MagicJack is blocking my call to the outside conference call.

    Question: Does MagicJack have a program error to be corrected? Or is there an intentional company decision not to accept outside conference number but reroute them to MagicJack’s #: 305-848-8888?

    I bought MagicJack on the adverticement of being able to call anyone in the USA. Please give me a direct reply to my question and identify your position with MagicJack.

    Thank you. Customer since Sept 27th 2008. (Paid until Sept 27 2010)

    Perry Bazell: Okay Ruby
    Ruby: Thank you for your patience. I will transfer you to a higher level of support. Please hold while I transfer you.
    Please wait while I transfer the chat to the best suited site operator.
    You are now chatting with ‘Cassy’
    Your Issue ID for this chat is LTK419075594170X
    Cassy: Hi, there. Cassy here and I’ll be assisting you.
    Cassy: Please hold for a moment while I’ll review your previous chats. Thanks!
    Perry Bazell: Okay Cassy
    Cassy: Alright, I believe you want to Join a conference call, right? I am sorry but you cannot call that number, magicjack does not support that number. However, you may create your won Conference call . first, create your free magicjack conference room number, – Dial 305-848-8888
    Perry Bazell: Please read my communication again. You are not understanding me.
    Cassy: You can actually set up conference call and be a moderator, you only need to dial 305-848-8888 to render it
    Perry Bazell: Cassy what is your position with MagicJack?
    Cassy: I’m a supervisor here, Perry
    Perry Bazell: Okay.
    Perry Bazell: Please read my communication again – I’m not understod and also read my earlier communication today and from 08-25-09
    Cassy: I understand it, Perry but you can actually be a host on conference calls using magicjack, however, some other line block magicjack conference as they don’t allow magicjack to join on conference call
    Perry Bazell: Please answer my question
    Cassy: Magicjack didn’t block any phone company, some VOIP block magicjack to join on their own conference calls so it is not a company’s fault or decision in regards with your issue
    Perry Bazell: You are stone walling me! Who is your manager?
    Cassy: I believe that I have already provided you all the information needed; I will not end this chat with you. Thank you
    Chat session has been terminated by the site operator.

  2. 2
    rickyspears Says:

    Perry – Thank you for providing your transcript! I can’t believe that Cassy told you that someone else is blocking the call and it’s not them. Well, isn’t it nice of that blocking party to also play an advertisement for magicJack! And then to tell you she wouldn’t end it, but she did.

    I just want an explanation about why they made this change. And I think everyone else feels the same way. We all know there are problems with the magicJack network, but we deal with them because the price point and product is so good. However, this decision is just like slapping us in the face, and each failed answer is another slap.

  3. 3
    Louella Says:

    I have been trying to join our conference calls too at 712-432-3900 and have the same problem. I can’t afford the cell minutes and have missed some of our learning sessions on the conference calls and webinars. I sure hope they change things soon!!

  4. 4
    herry Says:

    google voice blocks freeconferencecall too.. just dial out through google voice using another phone and you’ll get the same busy signal.

  5. 5
    rickyspears Says:

    Herry – When I wrote this on Wednesday, I did a test call to FreeConferenceCall.com through Google Voice to my cell phone and I was able to connect to the meeting. I didn’t try doing that with my land line though. I just now tried it with both my land line and cell phone and both are now giving me a busy signal. So this may be something that Google Voice has started blocking too.

  6. 6
    Tanna Boran Says:

    This is a messy issue.

    I respectfully posted to Warrior Forum (“The #1 Internet Marketing Forum since 1997) regarding this because I thought internet marketers who promote their products might be concerned that they’re being blocked from doing so. (Here’s the link: http://www.warriorforum.com/internet-marketing-product-reviews-ratings/120309-big-magicjack-freeconferencecalling-com-problem.html#post1143901)

    Now they’ve warned me about bashing “product creators.”

    I’ve registered a complaint with the FCC. I encourage people to consider doing the same. http://esupport.fcc.gov/complaints.htm

  7. 7
    Bob Says:

    I have had the same experience but did not save the chat, but it was the same story. I am definitely no longer a strong supporter of MagicJack. I used to tell people that I was 90% happy with my MagicJack but some deficiencies could be ignored for the low cost. This policy plus their attitude has dropped my satisfaction to around 50% and I will no longer recommend it to anyone!

  8. 8
    Rocky (Richard) Says:

    Holy Crap! Read the part of my transcript near the end about terminating service at any time with no notice:

    Please wait for a site operator to respond.

    You are now chatting with ‘Jocel’

    Your Issue ID for this chat is LTK419076859190X

    Jocel: Hello, how may I help you?

    Richard: Why is MagicJack blocking my access to other free teleconferencing numbers? This is a violation of FCC rules!

    Jocel: Hi, Richard.

    Jocel: magicJack reserves the right to block calls to phone numbers that abuse its services. Any service provider who is currently being blocked may interconnect with magicjack for free so our customers may complete their calls. Have your conference service provider email us at connect2magicJack@magicJack.com

    Richard: How does me calling someone else constitute “abuse to magicjack?”

    Jocel: As of now, you cannot call other conference service except for the conference service that magicjack has.

    Jocel: Please have your conference service provider email us at connect2magicJack@magicJack.com

    Richard: As a VOiP service, you argue that you’re not a “phone company” so to limit my connections is quite hypocritical. I will now submit a formal complaint to the FCC.

    Jocel: Alright. Feel free to submit that.

    Jocel: You may also check the terms of service for magicjack and see if we have violated our rules.

    Jocel: http://www.magicjack.com/tos/

    Jocel: Click on the link above for the terms of service.

    Richard: Furthermore, Syndicated Radio talk show consumer host, Clark Howard, has notified his millions of listeners that MJ is doing this scurrilous practice. This is not good PR for MJ. I want to see your service succeed.

    Jocel: Okay.

    Richard: You’ve already been legally sanctioned for violating your own “Free Trial Policy” why are you doing this?

    Jocel: Please try to check first our terms of service and you will see there that we can change and upgrade the software of magicjack without prior notice.

    Jocel: It is stated in our terms and condition. 13. Modification.

    Jocel: MagicJack reserves the right to modify or discontinue the magicJack device and Software, temporarily or permanently, with or without notice to you.

    Richard: You can do anything you wish. Whether it’s Legal, Moral, or Intelligent is a completely different matter. Again, I’m not the enemy, but I feel this is dead wrong on MJ’s part.

    Richard: Do you have to refund me if you terminate my service?

    Jocel: You will be refunded if and only if you are still on the 30 days trial period and you need to return the magicjack device.

    Richard: But if you terminate my service for no reason after 30 days, I get nothing??

    Jocel: Your service will not be terminated since you are given one year free of service.

    Richard: But you just stated that you could terminate me anytime with no notice, so which is it?

    Jocel: It means for modification like the conference service.

    Richard: Ok, again my fear is that this is bad PR. Clark Howard’s Radio Program and website http://www.clarkhowar.com are very powerful and he’s been a pretty ardent proponent of MJ in the past…

    Jocel: Okay.

  9. 9
    Rocky (Richard) Says:

    I just checked http://www.clarkhoward.com (typo in previous post) here:


    I can now see MJ’s point–I wouldn’t want to pay these fees either if I was MJ. These CLECs sound smarmy:

    Sep 02, 2009 — MagicJack blocks free conference calling, offers own service
    Yesterday a caller named Chad was upset that MagicJack had begun blocking him from using a free third party conference calling service. He was instead being told to use MagicJack’s own free service.

    Clark did some digging with MagicJack and the FCC and has a somewhat esoteric explanation for what happened.

    Certain states offer small phone companies known as competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs) a special deal that’s little known. If your free conference calling service of choice is routed through a CLEC, the CLEC actually charges huge fees (known as termination charges) to your phone company. That’s how they make the free service available to you.

    The original thinking here was these termination charges would effectively help rural customers because they would incentivize companies to run phone lines in the countryside.

    MagicJack is blocking other free conference calling numbers at this time so they don’t get hit with the hefty bill for termination charges. That’s why they set up their own free conference calling service as an alternative.

    No word yet from the FCC about whether or not MagicJack’s actions are legal.

    If you find yourself in a similar situation to Chad, you have several options: You can either use another phone — like a cell — to call in to the conference call line of your choice; or you can have a friend patch you in on a conference call via 3-way calling; or you can consider using the free MagicJack conference call service.

    Unfortunately, Clark won’t be able to answer any questions submitted via commenting. If you have a question, please try posting it to our message boards.

    Add your comment
    Avg. rating: N/A

    What others are sayingFree Conferencing Block
    IDT Calling Cards block these calls as well.
    By Kathy @ 09/03/09 02:04:53 PMreport abuseFree Conferencing
    I live in Windstream’s network, pay for unlimited long dist, but my work conference calls are charged an extra 10cents/min. I’m looking for an easier way then 3-way or using my cell. I did not have this problem with Callvantage, but they are no longer an option after next month.
    By Cindy @ 09/03/09 01:29:54 PMreport abuseWhy use the “Free” Conferencing?
    These services are blocked by a lot of companies since it is very sleazy. The ability for Rural CLECs to charge higher rates for termination was not meant for this purpose. Most carriers terminate to each other for fractions of a penny and most of these sleazy gray shaded free to consumer services charge anywhere from .08 to .13 per minute. That is ridiculous and puts a lot of strain on carriers. Since a carrier can’t pick and choose where calls go, this is highway robbery. I know free is fun, but it is not always worth it to make charlatans

  10. 10
    james Says:

    Chat InformationPlease wait for a site operator to respond.

    Chat InformationYou are now chatting with ‘Kenny’

    Chat InformationYour Issue ID for this chat is LTK419076867318X

    Kenny: Hello, how may I help you?

    james: kenny

    james: i am trying to join a important conference call and the magic jack is not allowing me to do so

    james: please fix it

    james: so i can tget on my conference call

    Kenny: Thank you for addressing your concern, James.

    Kenny: Please wait while I check that for you

    Kenny: Thank you so much for patiently waiting, James.

    james: go ahead with how to fix it

    Kenny: magicJack reserves the right to block calls to phone numbers that abuse its services. Any service provider who is currently being blocked may interconnect with magicjack for free so our customers may complete their calls. Have your conference service provider email us at connect2magicJack@magicJack.com

    james: kenny how will this get me on my conference call now??

  11. 11
    EPOE Says:

    I think everyone should file a complaint. I made the mistake and bought a Magic Jack… For crying out loud, they have info-mercials playing around the clock on a cable channel, Radio Shack is pushing Magic Jack. They make you feel like an idiot for spending more than $1.60 per month for long distance.

    I think it is an anti-trust problem if you price lower than your costs.

    I think it is an unfair trade practice Magic Jack trys to switch you to their conferencing… and they show they have no understanding of the problems they are creating when they try to get you to switch when you are trying to be a participant of some one elses call.

    I think it is fraud that they sell you an entire year up front and they change who you can call after you have purchased

    I think it stinks that they try to blame this on FreeConferenceCall.com

  12. 12
    George Says:

    I live off-grid without a land line and just found out I cannot access an important conference call using Magic Jack as I did last month. This is totally unacceptable. I won’t recommend this product to anyone else.

  13. 13
    Debbie Says:

    i am sending out emails to everyone I know who is contemplating buying majic Jack. this is a total scam!

  14. 14
    Debbie Says:

    You are now chatting with ‘Fong’

    Fong: Hello Debbie

    Fong: how can i help you?

    Debbie: I cannot access this site with a majic jack andy idea why

    Debbie: I called for my morning conference on my majic jack line and was not able to connect

    Fong: A number of our customers that also happen to be MagicJack customers have recently made us aware that MagicJack is intentionally re-routing their calls. When a MagicJack customer attempts to participate in a FreeConferenceCalling.com call by entering one of our dial-in numbers into their phone, MagicJack plays a message telling them they need to hold their call on a different number. This initially can cause confusion because it seems to the caller that if they just dial the new number they can participate in their call. Only after a number of failed attempts at joining the conference will the caller then contact MagicJack support who informs them that the entire call needs to be on this competing MagicJack service and that they will no longer connect to our conferencing service.

    Fong: We believe that this is an unwarranted and possibly illegal degradation of your telephone service and we are looking into steps on how we can remedy the situation. Unfortunately, the most timely way this problem can be rectified is if the voice of unhappy customers forces MagicJack to change their wrongful practices.

    Fong: For an example of what one MagicJack customer has gone through and what steps he took, please check out the blog post below.

    Fong: http://rickyspears.com/blog/2009/08/magicjack-hijacks-my-free-conference-calls-to-218-339-2500/

  15. 15
    Tanna Boran Says:

    Fong is the name of the person at FreeConferenceCalling.com that I spoke to as well. He was helpful.

    Please take the time to register a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC): http://esupport.fcc.gov/complaints.htm

    This policy of MagicJack is contrary to the features they advertise on television. Plus, if they refuse to connect calls to certain telephone numbers like conference lines, what’s next? Refusing to connect calls to adult services? Telephone numbers of competing companies? People of religions they don’t like?

  16. 16
    Bob Says:

    I posted earlier and see that there are many people having this problem. I feel that once this issue is shared with potential customers, it will drastically reduce their sales. I am very sorry I signed up for 5 years and am stuck with it unless I just choose not to use it but get no refund at all.

  17. 17
    chris Says:

    more of the same, can no longer call freeconferencecall.com numbers, and when contacting MJ about this, you get the same responses. I was asked to get hold of freeconferencecall and ask them to contact MJ, but they said they would not do this, and that MJ are doing something illegal. so i contacted MJ again and they said they would send my concerns to someone in MJ and that i should wait for an email from them. I don’t expect a resolution anytime soon.

  18. 18
    Rocky (Richard) Says:


    MJ is having to pay exorbitant charges to connect these calls due to CLEC rules and the shifty methods that FreeConferenceCall.com and others have used to profit from CLEC.

    Initially, I was hopping mad at MJ, but if I were them, I’d have done the same thing. Plus, they offer an alternative conference calling service.

    If you want to complain, hit up the FCC or whatever agency regulates CLECs. MJ is just protecting itself from HUGE fees for any MJ user calling these services.

    The bigs like AT&T and Verizon are letting you connect for now and they’re going to head to court with the likes of FreeConferenceCall.com later, in an attempt to recoup the massive charges.

    I hope my explanation helps.

  19. 19
    rickyspears Says:

    Rocky – Since I originally wrote this post, I’ve received some direct correspondence from others in the free conference call industry that have chosen not to comment publicly here–I wish they would though. One industry executive has told me, “It does not cost MagicJack anything more to handle or route calls to [free conference call] numbers [than to any other long distance call].” I’m not saying this is truth, but it is just as likely to be truth as your assertation.

    I’m sure that long distance calls to different areas cost different amounts depending on the routing. But it seems to me that this can’t be any more expensive than a call to some person or company in some very rural area. So, what’s next? Will magicJack start blocking calls to people and companies that aren’t in or near big cities?

    If it really doesn’t cost any more than any other call, it makes it seem that magicJack is really strong-arming their customers into using their own service so they can get a piece of the free conference call pie themselves.

    magicJack’s own elusiveness about this is part of the problem. If in my first chat the representative had said, “I’m sorry, but these calls are more expensive for us than other types of calls and we can no longer afford to allow those calls at the low rates we charge for our service,” and they should have given us some notice that they were doing it instead of just cutting it off all of a sudden when we needed it, then I would be much more understanding. But even if magicJack is paying more for these calls, they way they have handled it, and the way they have taken advantage of us customers, is bad business in my opinion.

  20. 20
    Cathy H Paris Says:

    Thanks for the blog about Magic Jack. On Sept. 9 2009 I got blocked from a conference call. I submitted a complaint to the FCC too. Thx. for the tip.

  21. 21
    Tanna Boran Says:

    Rocky, what accounts for the huge change from your previous comments vs. your comment from yesterday? Tanna

  22. 22
    John Says:


    We are a local CLEC. We work with Some of the companies and Yes magic Jack is Blocking us.
    IT is Illegal. In 2007 the FCC state that call blocking was illegal via this order (Establishing Just and Reasonable Rates for Local Exchange Carriers, Call Blocking by Carriers, 22 FCC Rcd 11629 (2007).)

    You should do many things. Contact the your State AG office and file a complaint based on false advertising. They clearly state that you can call anywere in the US. Then on block the conference call companies. They are only blocking free ones. Which is also Anticompetitive.

    Lastly what they are doing is criminal fruad. Think of it this way. Freeconferencecall.com advertised for people to use their service, you call the service and get rerouted to a different service. That is Fraud. Stealing the customer is illegal.

    Report them to the AG.

  23. 23
    rickyspears Says:

    John – Thanks for adding your comments here. Since you work for a CLEC, can you confirm that calls to the free conference call numbers you provide cost the same as other calls for magicJack? Also, is magicJack blocking all calls routed through you or just the calls to free conference call numbers? I think we’re all still missing some important facts like this.

  24. 24
    John Says:

    It is hard to say the cost, Generally they may be a bit more then other areas but remember this. You are talking Marketing Versus Regulation.

    Becuase Magic Jack chose to Market their product at 19.95 a year, has nothing to do with the Regulations that have always been around. It is truly a marketing problem, not a rate problem. Their poor business plan, does not let them do Illegal actions by blocking calls.

    Think of the big picture of why this is illegal. If we allow people to block whoever they want. What if Verizion and AT&T get in a fight? They say, ” hey are people can;t call your people” This would mess up the entire USA calling system. That is why if they don’t like the rates they can not pay them and go to court. But they cannot block calls and commit fraud.

  25. 25
    Bill Says:

    FreeConferenceCalling.Com is now being blocked as well…

  26. 26
    BW Says:

    This is also happening to me. I can not use freeconferencecall that someone has setup. This really puts a black mark on MajicJack product!

  27. 27
    Carolyn Sue Says:

    Well it looks like Magic Jack does have a problem with the CLEC’s. I am now not as angry as I was earlier today. I will simply use a long distance phone call for my conference calls on my landline. Tapping into conference calls is by far not the way I use my Magic Jack phone line most.

  28. 28
    Tanna Says:

    If MagicJack has a problem with CLECs, maybe they could deal with it head-on instead of:

    (1) lying about it;
    (2) calling the service reduction a “new feature” (LOVE that one);
    (3) suggesting an alternative that doesn’t work (their conferencing service does not allow you access to other companies’ conference calls; and
    (4) reneging on their claim that we can call any number in the US and Canada.

    My main use for MagicJack for the past 18 months has been 95% conference calls. MagicJack is effectively rendering themselves useless to us.

    John’s right — allowing all calls BUT a certain few creates a slippery slope that would ultimately make telecommunications in the US into chaos. I do hope that the FCC and other entities step in and require MagicJack to do what they say they’re going to do.

  29. 29
    CW Says:

    I had the same problem last night – can’t believe they would change it without so much as a email to notify us of the up coming change. I guess they did not want us to know – might loose some customers -


  30. 30
    rickyspears Says:

    I’m going to leave comments open on this thread for a while longer. I really appreciate so many people contributing their comments and experiences here–both customers as well as executives and employees of magicJack, some CLECs, and some of the free conference providers. I never expected to so much great input from so many people.

    All three of these seem to have a few things in common: they all have established business models, they all are unwilling to change in their business models, they all have either laws or terms of services they reference as the reason they don’t have to change anything in their business models, and they all feel the legal side of what they are doing is more important than their customers.

    This scenario has played out many times over the centuries: companies become complacent in their business, refuse to give their customers what they are asking for, and another company comes along and meets the customer’s needs. Eventually, all these companies will need to either adapt or lose part of their business. This is how each of these companies got their start. The CLECs saw a need for phone service in remote areas. The free conference call companies saw a need for free conference call services. magicJack saw a need for cheap VOIP service. As with most businesses, they usually seem to forget how they became successful–by meeting people’s needs–so they will lose their success by failing to meet people’s needs. Company executives see it happening all around them, and it frustrates them when they experience it as a consumer, but they erroneously feel their businesses will survive through legislation alone.

    The sad thing is that the customer loses because they all refuse to see it.

    So, what do I think will happen? If these companies don’t begin working together to meet customer’s needs and expectations, a new player will surface that will meet customer demand. Right now, people want to use cheap, or free, VOIP services like magicJack, Skype, and Google Voice to make free conference calls. The companies who currently provide these services need to either start putting the customer first and find a way to provide these services instead of pointing fingers at each other, or they will all be pointing their fingers at themselves when someone comes along and steals this opportunity from them.

  31. 31
    Estelle Combs Says:

    I just think Magic Jack should have given us a warning before they started changing things around. A lot of my conference calls are BUSINESS related!

  32. 32
    FrankHue Says:

    Chat with a MJ higher up support personnel today. Indications are they are hearing what we are saying and intentions are to get it resolved.

    Evert: Hi, this is Evert, from higher level support and I will be assisting you.
    frank: When do you feel may be a reasonable time frame to check back on a possible resolve on the CC blocking issue?
    Evert: I cant give you any ETA for this, since we have just implemented this..But I believe that we will fix this matter

    With that our call ended on a “positive tone”
    Your guess is as good as mine?
    But it sure looks like this could hurt MJ sales in the long term if un-resolved. I trust they are earnestly addressing the issue. MJ is a great service right up to about Sept 1st,’09

    Let’s keep beating those drums and banging on their doors.
    LLMJ!(Long live MJ)

  33. 33
    FrankHue Says:

    in addition the message from MJ higher up support personnel is ..”..Dont worry, once this issue will be fixed, it will advertised thru TV and Internet”

    Evert: I appreciate that you understand the situation ..Dont worry, once this issue will be fixed, it will advertised thru TV and Internet

    frank: that will be fantastic. I’ll earnestly await for the fix to happen soon.


  34. 34
    JT Says:


    A few months ago I too purchased a magicJack as I needed a seperate number as I have recently started to work from home and cannot afford the high land line prices from the big telecommunications companies. Unfortunately most of my training is done via teleconference and magicJack is blocking the conference numbers assigned by the company I work for. As soon as my term with them is up I will NOT be renewing. I am also contemplating on filing a complaint with the FCC as this is really affecting not only my training, but my business as well.

  35. 35
    Nikki Says:

    I bought 5 years of service and rarely use the phone but when I did pick it up last week and tried to dial a number (after having it a year) nothing happened. It says “your service has expired.” Not only do I have 4 more years, but they gave me absolutely no notice that (they thought) it was going to expire. I emailed but of course got no response. I have an Ooma phone and absolutely LOVE it. Forget Magic Jack!

  36. 36
    BerlinPacific.com Blog » Blog Archive » Can Free Conference Calls Last? Says:

    [...] Apparently MagicJack blocks calls for FreeConference.com – more evidence that FreeConference.com feeds off of high call termination rates. http://rickyspears.com/blog/2009/08/magicjack-hijacks-my-free-conference-calls-to-218-339-2500/ [...]

  37. 37
    Stop the Cap! » AT&T’s Deluxe Suite At The Hypocracy Hotel: Throws HissyFit Over Google Voice Call Blocking, Calls It ‘Net Neutrality Violation’ Says:

    [...] year. They go beyond just blocking some of the conference calling services — they actually redirect calls to a recording encouraging customers to instead use one of their own partners [...]

  38. 38
    loretta Says:

    Im having the same problem. I work from home. all my trainings is through free conference callingcom. They need to fix this.

  39. 39
    rickyspears Says:

    I got a call from magicJack today about my complaint to the FCC about this. I’ve added this information to the article above as “Update 2009-10-07″.

  40. 40
    Tom Says:

    I just signed up for Magic Jack and paid for 3 #’s, 5 years up front, a little over a month ago and call conferencing is one of the things I needed. I just found out it is blocked and then found your web site. I will be contacting Magic Jack as well to see when they will have this resolved. If I don’t get a straight answer, I’ll have to cancel and get my $ back. They did not say anything in their ad about “no conference calling”. They said I can call “anywhere” in the US. Their ad is misleading. It should say “almost anywhere in the US”.

  41. 41
    Tom Says:

    I contacted magic Jack and talked to “Ken”. He said that Magic Jack reserves the right to block their service to any one that abuses it. I told him I resent the insinuation. He said for me to have the company I work for, to contact Magic Jack to allow their conference calling system to hook up with Magic Jack. I suspect this is baloney, but I wanted to see if any one had updates or got a similar answer.

  42. 42
    rickyspears Says:

    Tom – You will see that several people who have posted here have been told to have their conference calling companies contact magicJack for information about how to connect their systems for free. I think it’s probably true that they can do this for free, but I also think it’s also true that the free conference calling companies and CLECs don’t want to lose a single penny they they think they can earn by not doing this. It can’t hurt to let them know though.

  43. 43
    Tanna Says:

    Please, if you have the time to post here about your experience, please take time to register a complaint with the FCC. It takes only a few minutes: http://esupport.fcc.gov/complaints.htm

    It’s not complicated; just tell your story in your own words. This is just so illegal, it’s not even funny.

  44. 44
    Tom Says:

    I filed a complaint with the FCC. I also contacted and left a message by phone, the conference call service weblm, as the gentlemen “Ken” from Magic Jack suggested. According to “Ken” weblm is supposed to contact Magic Jack to get hooked up so I can call in. There was no mention on any fees involved.

  45. 45
    Bianca Says:

    I am incredibly disappointed at the fact that magicjack is pulling this manipulative practice. As much as I liked their service for the great price, I will be returning it and bad word of mouth spreads 10 times faster than good word of mouth. Shame on them.

  46. 46
    George Says:

    This is what I got back from FreeConferenceCall support.

    Thank you for contacting Free Conference Call George. We apologize for your trouble using our service with Magic Jack. Magic Jack is blocking Free Conference Call and other conferencing service providers. We believe this to be an illegal act in violation of Federal Communication Commission rules, and we are pursuing legal remedies.

    Magic Jack’s problem, as we see it, is that Magic Jack has promised unlimited long distance calling for a price of $19.95 per year. If you use your telephone too much, then it costs Magic Jack too much money to connect all of your telephone calls. Your use of conferencing services tends to keep you on the telephone for a prolonged amount of time. Consequently, Magic Jack has decided to limit your calling privileges, in direct contradiction to their advertised promise of providing unlimited long distance service.

    Please contact our customer service department with your concerns, and depend on Free Conference Call for help in resolving this problem. We welcome your formal complaint, and will use your information to build a case with the Federal Communications Commission. We also recommend that you file a complaint with the federal and state agencies listed below.

    We have made several attempts to contact Magic Jack via the email they have provided, with negative results, they are not connecting despite our attempts to reach them at the email they are distributing to their customers. At this time we strongly suggest filing a complaint with your local State Attorneys office. Please contact me for further assistance, have a wonderful day.

    Also here is our blog site you may listen to our CEO talking of call blocking; you may also leave a comment.


    Above is a list of all 50 State Attorneys offices and ways to contact them to file a consumer report. Also listed below are links to file a complaint with both the FCC and the FTC.






  47. 47
    Jeff Says:

    More of the same: missed two important telecons because thought that I was given incorrect connection information. However, I finally discovered otherwise and was stonewalled with the same script “an Upgrade”.

    I am going to file a complain in the morning, go after a refund for 5+ years in contracted services and immediately start informing everyone of this deceptive and illogical business behavior. My clients, vendors and associates.

  48. 48
    jz Says:

    My Magic jack works just fine. MJ needs to simply tell everyone that to connect calls to free conference lines will cost you $.00x per minute end of story.

    To everyone who thinks everything in life should be FREE – I’ll bet you do not work for FREE so get a life.

  49. 49
    Tanna Says:

    Now when I call an access telephone number for one of the free conferencing services, I hear a recording telling me “Welcome to the MagicJack conferencing service.” Of course, the access code I have for the call doesn’t work, since MJ hijacked the phone number.

    When I call the same number from a non-MagicJack line, I am connected to FreeConferenceCalling.com or whichever service the moderator has decided to use. So, MagicJack is diverting calls and presenting themselves as the recipient of calls to those numbers.

    About 7 or 8 weeks after submitting a complaint to the FCC via email, they sent me a letter via postal mail saying that the problem is an FTC issue and I was barking up the wrong governmental tree.

    I say it’s both — the FTC needs to be in on the false advertising, and the FCC needs to investigate claims of selective call connection.

    Oh JZ, if MagicJack advertises that you can call free to any number in the U.S. and Canada, that’s the service that they must provide. If they don’t, it’s false advertising. If they never promised all calls would be free, there would not have an issue. So, feel free to get a life yourself. You obviously don’t attend classes or trainings via teleconferencing services, so this doesn’t affect you.

  50. 50
    Tanna Says:

    Does anyone know of a good no-cost or low-cost alternative to MagicJack?

    I’d be happy to give my money to Skype at 2.1 cents per minute, but I just heard from them, and they won’t guarantee that they’ll connect “special rate” numbers.

    It’s kinda ridiculous. Apparently there are numbers which are charged at different rates than other numbers. Unfortunately, we have no way of knowing what they are because they look just like standard telephone numbers.

    Maybe there needs to be a special area code for conference call services.

  51. 51
    Cargojack Says:

    I have had a magicJack for more than two years. I rarely use it except to make calls overseas (I am in the US), and have had a good experience with it. I did have some problems when I first got the device but after a frustrating exchange of emails, they were all fixed. Since I first got my mJ, sound quality has improved. Although many people complain about the mJ, I am happy with what I get for $19.95 a year. I would never use it for my business or as a primary phone number, but it is good to have in case I have a problem with my cell phone. I do think some people have unreasonable expectations for the product. Overall, I have been happy with my magic Jack.

    cargojack (at) skidbox (dot) com

  52. 52
    Tanna Says:

    That which is promised to us in national television advertisements is 100% reasonable.

  53. 53
    Tom Says:

    I signed up several months before they limited conference calling to their own service. It looks an awful lot like a move to leverage customers into using their service only. New customers sign up, unaware of the type of conference calling is limited. I bought 3 magic Jacks with 5 years of service on each, believing that I would get the same service, because I paid for it in advance. I spent just over $500.00. How is that an unreasonable expectation?

  54. 54
    Ellen Says:

    Its still happening. I got mj for Christmas specifically to join conference calls. I registered yesterday and had the same experience as all of you.

    I wanted the mj to call one number on a regular basis. After installing it and signing up, I discovered that the number I use for conferencing has been blocked by mj and will not be unblocked. No where in the literature is this mentiioned. I said fine, I would like a refund. They said no, because I did not get it on-line. It was a gift purchased from a retailer, so they were not going to refund the money. So, it did not give me free or any long distance service to the number I wanted to call, and they would not even consider a refund. I did not make one call on the device. The support people told me to call other numbers. To add insult to injury, they required me to spend an extra dollar for replacement insurance which required giving them my credit card number.

    Its really irritating that the support people pretend they do not know what I am talking about. I spent all morning with 4 different helpers on live chat. Finally, Faye said I would not be getting a refund, could not talk to her supervisor, and she would be terminating the call–which she did. I have transcripts of all my conversations, if anyone is interested. So far I have submitted complaints to the consumer protection agency, FBI IC3, BBB in Florida (MJ’s home state), PC Magazine’s Product of the Year Award, and Good House Keeping’s Seal of Approval, as well as several blogs and forums such as this one. I intend to do 2 or 3 every day till I get a refund.

  55. 55
    Tanna Says:

    Ellen: You go, girl!

    I don’t know if I mentioned — after submitting a complaint online to the FCC, I received a letter in the mail from them saying that my problem was the domain of the FTC. Well, yeah, but it’s the FCC’s problem too.

  56. 56
    Bill Says:

    Here’s the REAL problem:

    Due to a SNAFU in telecommunications law some telephone companies may charge a termination fee (they charge everyone that calls one of their numbers a fee to coinnect to their customer). A number of these small companies have upped their termination fee that they charge the incoming caller’s provider. A number of these small companies have either started their own “free” service for conference calls or even advice and astrology type calls and a number of “free” conference call companies have contracted with the the smaller CLEC providers to obtain a portion of that fee. So essentially your call from an AT&T land line gets charged by ACME Rural Telephone Company a CLEC FEE of say $.25 for each AT&T call ending in ACME’s service area. Recently some firms pretending to be a CLEC, but really being just a large private WAN designed to gather CLEC fees from major carriers have raised their rates from $0.001/call like a normal CLEC charges to perhaps $0.25/minute.

    My landline carrier is a CLEC. any “outside” call made to any number “owned” by Greenhills Telephone Company is charged a fee. Even if you are just calling Grandma down the road with your AT%T cell phone.

  57. 57
    Michael Says:

    I didn’t catch if this was covered previously so I apologize in advance…
    But it looks like Google Voice may block Free Conference Calling sites as well.


  58. 58
    Vincent Says:

    Have you try faxing yet? I have been having difficulty trying to fax and had to pull out an old old 1970’s fax machine to fax. We even got black listed by MJ because we complained. I think there business model is failing and this is there attempt at getting back at their competition. Ideally, if we all asked for our refund and use the other carriers, I wounder what would happen.

  59. 59
    Les Says:

    Not conference call related but within the last week I’ve not been able to call either my AT&T or wife’s Verizon cell phones. Had my daughter try it from her MJ and same results. So are the cell carriers blocking it too now??? Reported it to MJ and they stated that they’d have their engineers investigate. Oh well it was nice while it lasted.

  60. 60
    David Says:

    This is BS, I pay for a phone line to use to call whomever I want (non 900 numbers or over sea), whenever I want and now they tell me I can not speek with my family on a conference line that has been set up for years.

    I am totally unhappy with this.

    ‘It cost money for people to call conference lines’, THAT’S WHAT THE $20 A YEAR IS FOR.

    They should have thought of this before they said unlimited calls to any number in the US.


    One p****d off customer

  61. 61
    Rijkstra Says:

    I too purchased Magic Jack for conference calls to 916-233-0500. I can find a lot of companies using that number, but not the host. Fortunately, I found this blog before my 30 days is up. To replace it I’m considering NetTalk which has far less negative vibes on the net. It’s about the same size as the Magic Jack but will plug into your router or PC.

  62. 62
    Phillip Says:

    Does anyone have any information concerning the security of the MJ conference site or any of the other free conference sites?

  63. 63
    John M Rathbun Says:

    I contacted FreeConference.com regarding this situation and they urged me to report it to the FCC using https://esupport.fcc.gov/sform2000/formB!input.action?form_page=2000B

  64. 64
    Vincent Says:

    I ordered Nettalk.com on Friday 2/26/10. They told me 7 to 10 days to get order. I thought they were kidding. I thought for sure it will come in 3 to 5 days, next week Tuesday or Wednesday. I had to wait for the following week. Got Nettalk on Monday 3/8/2010. So it was 6 business days. Came via USPS so don’t expect FedEx or UPS. Is this how they keep cost down. Good for them. Consumer has to balance immediate satisfaction versus price.

    Opened box and chose not to read instructions. Seem basic enough. Connect supplied CAT5 cable from Nettalk to wireless router (I use wireless router). Connect telephone to Nettalk box. Connect supplied power cable to Nettalk box. Green light lit and orange light flashed. Got dial tone and called my cell phone using the area code and 7 digit number. Got a recording that said I needed to dial the number and enter the # sign. I did that and got the same information. Kept trying this for 5 minutes. So I read instructions, the only instructions on the outside of box. Still no luck. Decided to go to Nettalk website and learn what I needed to do. After 10 minutes reading FAQ’s, I see I have to dial a 1 + area code + 7 digit number. I tried this and it works. Yippee. So what is my phone number for my net talk? It is a 012 number. I go back to website and register my information so that E911 can find me, I change the number to an available number for my area code. Cool feature that I did not try is that one can release a phone number and get a new phone number. This is great if one relocates to a different area with a different area code.

    Used it for fax and conference calls and it works great.

    So fare so good.

  65. 65
    Rijkstra Says:

    Vincent: I ordered my Nettalk device the same day you did, but I’m still waiting. They use UPS Mail Innovations, but contrary to the policy of that system, refuse to send to a P.O. Box. In my rural town which has no mail delivery, UPS-MI regularly delivers ONLY to PO Boxes. I had to have them send it to a UPS store ten miles away and will have to pay $5 bucks for the privelege. Yes, their shipping policies are screwed up and insensitive to the realities of customer needs.

  66. 66
    Ben Says:

    Is anyone with Magic Jack able to reach any number in the 706-935-xxxx, 706-937-xxxx, or 706-965-xxxx area code?

    Starting July 2010, I can no longer reach numbers there.

  67. 67
    Tracey Says:

    I use a Nobelcom calling card to call my family overseas. Even when I had my regular landline I used them, because they had the most reasonable rates.

    I just tried to call Nobelcom’s US based number and its blocked via Magicjack. I call it and I get redirected to the “exclusive” provider of MagicJacks international calling. It sounds very shady to me. They want to force me to use their overpriced international provider essentially? I thought I was choosing magicjack as my local and long distance provider, not my “exclusive” international provider too. Very shady.

  68. 68
    T Lane Says:

    I sure wish I had known about this issue before I purchased my MagicJack! I cost me and extra $150 on my cell phone bill last month because I couldn’t connect to Free Conf Call!!! How frustrating…now I have disconnected my land line and purchased Magic Jack and can’t use it for what it was intended to be used for!!! How can they do this…..

  69. 69
    Ian L Says:

    Anyone want to hear the REAL story on this? I don’t work for a CLEC, nor do I work for MagicJack,, nor do I use MagicJack as my main phone service because I can afford to pay more than $20 per year for that. Have the five-year membership though and it works fine for what I need it to do!

    Anyway, MagicJack can “terminate” calls in one of two ways: direct connections with providers at negotiated rates (which could be zero cents per minute) or going through the PSTN infrastructure at large and paying X amount per minute, which is determined by the phone company in question and is generally published in annual Public Service Commission reports. If voice interconnection/peering is established, MagicJack (or whoever) sets up a SIP, digital or analog connection (probably SIP or ISDN digital) connection between itself and the other carrier, and they either keep track of minutes and bill for the difference between inflow and outflow, or they open up the pipes and let the telephone juice flow for free.

    Now some areas are harder to wire than others; so some carriers Prural ones) charge higher interconnection fees per minute than others. That’s all well and good because a national company like MagicJack doesn’t have a ton of people making calls to/from those areas, because that’s not where the population centers are.

    The problem arises when free conference calling services game the system, contracting with a CLEC that will provide them with a block of inbound numbers, then splitting the interconnection charges with the CLEC when people call in to the “free” cnference call line. Adding insult to injury, sometimes these CLECs jack up rates even more to these conference call providers (more money is always good, right?) to the point that MJ is paying over ten cents PER MINUTE to connect a conference call that will have multiple participants and will last quite awhile…on a rather popular system to boot. The result for the conference call company and CLEC is they may be making as much as a dollar or two per minute on a service that doesn’t require miles of rural phone lines or any of the other LEGITIMATE reasons for a high termination charge.

    I’m looking at a VoIP provider’s rate sheet right now that lists out charges to connect to a given area code/prefix combination. Standard rates range from half a cent to a couple of cents per minute, depending on how rural the area in question is. So far, a couple of numbers in teh 218 area code, including 218-338, are the ONLY ones I’ve seen that go above 20 cents per minute (not 2, TWENTY). It does NOT take twenty cents per minute to run a line from the telephone central office to wherever the conference call system is collocated. No freakin’ way.

    The 916-233-0500 number…well, I don’t know what’s up with that. Its termination rates are as low as anyone’s. Could be something anticompetitive, but the 218-339 number…yeah…

    MagicJack’s own conference number on the other hand is higher than zero for termination rates (or half a cent) but still reasonable (in the neighborhood of a penny per minute).

    So you might be wondering, might these high termination rates put some other rural subscribers out in the cold? Actually, yes. MagicJack won’t complete calls to high-cost exchanges; the nearby Paul Bunyan Telephone Cooperative (5.6 cents per minute on my rate sheet) comes back as “service unavailable” when I try to call it, as do numbers from BPS Networks in Missouri. That said, both companies aren’t exactly cheap to call to, and if you have a MagicJack then you have an internet connection, and if MagicJack works, so will another VoIP company that will allow you to connect to those numbers.

    Also, not all rural telcos are blocked. Both telephone cooperatives in my area (central TX) work just fine with MagicJack. Maybe there are some telephone co-ops that don’t work near where I live, but I haven’t found them yet.

    The crux of it all is that, if MagicJack connected calls to high-cost markets, they would have to raise their yearly rate. If anyone is okay with them doing that, go to NetTalk…unless they block those numbers as well. You can only do so much with a buck and change per month, and if a rural telco eats that up with one call…or a big

  70. 70
    Anonymous Says:

    Hi I’ve just researched this same problem and missed out on a very important Conference call with the same exact issues…Magic Jack. I am outraged and spend time I didn’t have to try and figure this out. What a hoax!! Iam very very ******.

  71. 71
    Jen Says:

    I found a workaround for this. I don’t care about cell phone bills because I have unlimited minutes. I just don’t seem to get decent quality with a headset so I wanted a landline for conference calls. It also saves the battery on the cell.

    Anyway, the workaround is to forward my cell phone to the conference call number, call my cell from the magicjack line to connect the call, then turn off forwarding on my cell. The minutes probably get counted on your cell phone bill, so if that’s a concern you’ll have to consider that. It does seem to work though so I can use my land phone which is more comfortable for me.

  72. 72
    James Says:

    Just renewed my subscription last Sunday. Immediately after, My room mate could no longer call his mother who is on a rural telco.

  73. 73
    Sean Says:

    This is the fault of the FCC. Period! They created this issue with stupid short sighted loop holes and followed it up with the utter inability to fix it. Magic Jack is right! They can’t have their business put in jeopardy by these loop-hole exploiting crooks. I do not think you all realize that the high fees that they charge can be as high as $.30 per minute. Come on that is 1970s pricing. How would you all like a long distance bill that is different based on where you call in the U.S.? The answer is you would not. My point is do not blame the greedy carriers (remember some are small businesses) blame the slow to act FCC, who caused this problem and never fixed it.

  74. 74
    Ralph Says:

    I wouldn’t have a problem with the Magic Jack Conference system except that it is UNRELIABLE! People can’t always get in, the calls get dropped, and the conference software seems to confuse conference rooms at times. And, when you try to get MJ support bots to resolve your problem, the is nothing worse than vague answers to specific questions! You quickly discover that there is no button on their support console that sends you a relevant answer to your specific problem. IF MJ’s conference system worked satisfactorily, this would work for us… but NO!

    And of course, this comment doesn’t even begin to address the issue of callers who may not be able to reach our conferences for the same reasons from other networks…

  75. 75
    Robert Says:

    I have had a similar problem with Magicjack but now they are blocking calling card numbers. Foe example I wanted to call Australia and dialed the calling card local number, entered my language code, entered my PIN and then tried to enter the phone number in Australia and then magicjack intercepts the call and then its done. They want me to buy their long distance minutes. This all worked fine between 01/2012 and 02/2012. Now it does not work. Still waiting on their Tech Support to call back.

  76. 76
    Mo Says:

    Magicjack suddenly decided to block calls to local access numbers of some international calling card, with the same “cannot make calls to conference” message. I am not able to receive calls from landlines from some international counties. My landline can receive those same calls perfectly ok.

  77. 77
    Mo Says:

    MagicJack seems tricking customers who brushing concerns about call-blocking within the 30-day trial period by providing false hope that the problem will be rectified. It looks like this has been going on for years. I’m cancelling.

    Told them it was illegal per FCC and misrepresentation per FTC. My chat transcript portions:

    Dexter: It was stated in our Terms of Service at http://www.magicjack.com/tos (Number 3 – B and Number 4). Some restrictions in cost prohibitive areas may apply. You will not have the ability to call any number that would require the addition of any charges to your phone bill, such as 900 or 976 numbers or any other “fee per call” type service..

    Mo: Do you or your supervisor know about FCC regulation “22 FCC Rcd 11629 (2007)”

    Dexter: As per Terms of Service you have agreed upon registration : Section IV :

    Dexter: We may require prepaid purchase and/or we may charge you for calls to conference lines, platforms and certain non-ILEC area calls, or any call wherein we incur a cost from another carrier. We may provide for a fee, premium prepaid services, which may be powered by YMAX Communications Corp. (YMAX), and may include some inbound, international, conference, platform and outbound calls that receive a recording and certain calls to non-ILEC areas, and the rates for those services will be governed by listed price lists or tariffs.

    Dexter: If you hear that message : ” To call a cOnference Line, you must purchase international minutes…”, this means that the Number you are calling is on non-ILEC areas where they are not Allowing magicjack calls for free.

    Mo: This is not cost-prohibitive area, it is not a 900/976 number, and it is not fee per call type service.

    Dexter: We regret to inform you but the other end has blocked us from reaching them and we are already working on the Agreement.. I fervently wish too that the free calling will be agreed once again.. However, they are now blocking it.. In the mean time, you may able to reach them by having International minutes..

  78. 78
    Mo Says:

    Unfortunately, this is not only happening with freeconferencecall.com, it’s happening with global meet and webex numbers as well. It seems that the more they discover conference call numbers, they program them into their system so that they can block them. I am still able to dial few conference call numbers though, but I am sure it’s only a matter of time before they block them as well.

  79. 79
    Rijkstra Says:

    I’ve had NetTalk now for over two years and never had a call blocked. I use it regularly for conference calling.

  80. 80
    Stephen Uhl Says:

    I do not know of NetTalk; does it work with MagicJack? Cost and any other details?

  81. 81
    New MagicJack User Says:

    I am facing the same problem. Thanks for this post and FCC complaint. If possible, please try to spread this through social media like facebook, twitter etc. to shame MagicJack and force them to correct this.

  82. 82
    Anonymous Coward Says:

    First, MagicJack is a VOIP service. The FCC has not claimed jurisdiction over VOIP providers (for *NOW* at least), so they can practically get away with anything they want (as far as providing telephone number access neutrality, which is the subject of this thread).

    NOTE that, if the FCC ever DOES lay claim to VOIP providers, you will *NOT* get this service (such as it is) for a mere $20 per year– more than likely, it will cost you upwards of $10 to $20 per MONTH. Just keep that in mind before you think the FCC is going to ride in on their white horse, and “save” you! Governmental regulations cost companies money, and they will HAVE to raise their rates to remain profitable.

    Some services (like freeconferencecall.com, and some calling-card companies) engage in “telecom arbitrage”, which is a fancy name for a complicated scheme where they can make money by CHARGING-BACK YOUR TELCO for “terminating” the call. If MajicJack allowed you to connect to these services, they would be out of business very fast, or they would have to raise their rates as I stated above.

    The governmental agency that *DOES* have jurisdiction over MagicJack, is the FTC (Federal Trade Commission). MagicJack is advertising that they will provide you with free access to *ANY* telephone number in the USA or Canada, when (in fact) they do not. This is *FRAUD*. In fact, this is not an “honest mistake” made by the company– it is an ongoing issue for which they are well aware of. This means that not only can the company be fined, it could even be shut down– and because they are committing “constructive fraud” and the CEO is well aware of it– he could end up in federal *PRISON*.

    What *REALLY* makes me angry, is that they *HIDE* this situation from you– which is information that you need to make an “informed purchase”.

    The stupid thing is, that they could simply *TELL YOU* about this issue on a separate web page, or in their “terms of service”. Most people (including me) would go ahead and purchase the service anyway, because it is so cheap– you can still call friends and family long distance for $20 per year. If they put these restrictions in writing, (like in the TOS), there would be nothing the FTC could do– you would be considered to have been informed.

    If they told me about this before I made a purchase, I would have purchased the service anyway (and just put up with the restrictions)– *AND*, I would not be angry because they withheld vital information from me…

    I think you *SHOULD* file an official complaint with the FTC– just to force MagicJack to put this information on their TOS…

    Just sayin’

  83. 83
    Shawn Says:

    I bought the 5 year deal too but have all but given up using Magic Jack for all the reasons above. It was great at first then gradually connections dropped, echos frustrated my friends though I couldn’t hear the echos on my end and at the 2 hour mark, all calls were just dropped and blocked from my attempts to redial them.
    And forget listening to my favorite podcasts. Not unless they were on MJ conference service. Then, a few months back, Google Voice warned me that the precious number and service they had freely gifted me with in 2009 was about to expire because I hadn’t used it once! However, they went on to say that if I wanted to retain free access to GV, then I had better start using it. As usual, that word “free” got to me and I immediately started trying out their service.
    I don’t have a cell phone, only a landline and after I got on to how GV works, I started calling everywhere. My verdict – KUDOS to Google Voice!!! I’ve now been a steady user since 10/5/12, merrily making unlimited, sparkling clear calls to North Carolina, Hawaii, northern California and even locally. No longer do my nearby friends dread my calls on the Magic Jack echo lines and I can chat as long as I want to my friends in Hawaii and also listen to hours of conference calls. So far, I’ve never been denied access to any phone number and it’s all been FREE, FREE, FREE. I am a happy camper. Goodby Magic Jack, Hello Google Voice.

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