It was too hard to quit Vonage
The US Federal Trade Commission has taken action against Vonage for making it too difficult for customers to cancel its VoIP services.
According to the FTC announcement, Vonage "used dark patterns to make it difficult for consumers to cancel and often continued to illegally charge them even after they spoke to an agent directly and requested cancellation." It doesn’t define these sinister-sounding dark patterns, but the court complaint says they are "a panoply of hurdles ... which compound to deter and prevent customers from stopping recurring charges."
Most people will be familiar with this sort of sharp practice, which certainly used to be commonplace in the telecoms industry but has been largely stamped out (in the UK at least) by the interventions of regulators. It’s the old trick of making it really hard to even find out how to cancel a contract and then adding as much hassle and stress to the process as possible in the hope that people will just give up in exasperation.
– This is an excerpt from a longer article on our sister site, Telecoms.com. Read the full story here.
— Scott Bicheno, Editorial Director, Telecoms.com