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Get ready for the telemarketers

One of the things I love about Vonage phone service is that I never get harassed by telemarketers. Well, that is all about to change. Vonage just updated their Privacy Policy, and there is one section that stands out:

Opt-out Policy If you do not want your PII used by Vonage for any direct marketing purposes, then you may opt-out of such disclosures by calling us at 1-VONAGE-HELP (1-866-243-4357).

What does that tell you? Vonage is a publicly traded company now. They need to start turning a profit after their abysmal IPO that has landed them a class-action lawsuit. I almost jumped in on the Vonage IPO after missing opportunities in the Red Hat and VA Linux IPO's. This new desire to turn a profit, coupled with the new privacy policy, means that Vonage is either planning on, or has already begun selling subscriber info to marketers.

I called in to opt-out, and they don't make it easy. You start in voice-mail jail, where I had to navigate through three layers of menus, before jamming 0 to get a rep. Once I waited long enough to get a rep on the phone, I had to give my name, phone number, username, email address, and credit card billing address, just to verify I am who I say I am. Once that was done, I asked to opt-out of the new privacy policy. I was then asked "which phone number" I wanted to opt-out. I informed the genius on the other end of the call, I only have ONE Vonage number. He got me sorted out, and I ended the call. There is only one thing that bothers me. This new policy went into effect yesterday, and there is this little nugget in the opt-out policy:

However, we are not responsible for removing your PII from the lists of any third party who has previously been provided your information in accordance with this policy. Since Vonage must use a Customer's PII in order to provide them with Vonage services, Customers cannot opt-out of all uses of their PII unless they cancel their service.

Great. That means that if they sold my name/number yesterday, I'm going to get calls regardless. Thanks Vonage. I was one of your first customers, and this is how you repay my loyalty. Maybe it's time to switch to Skype.

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