Sorenson “Win-Backs” are Permitted!

All,

Sorenson Communications filed Ex-Parte Letter to FCC dated on December 16, 2011 responding to ZVRS’ General Counsel, Jeff Rosen’s letter to FCC filed December 5, 2011.

ZVRS complained about Sorenson’s conduct related to customer port requests. ZVRS was able to provide evidence regarding Sorenson’s conduct. To look at the evidence, go to this link here.

Sorenson responded back stating that ZVRS’s assertions are unfounded, wrong and unsubstantiated. Sorenson said that they does not interfere in any manner during the porting process (before FOC is processed) and they don’t contact the customer about selecting Sorenson as the default provider WHILE the porting process is ongoing. They are allowed to contact the customer AFTER porting process and they are allowed to do ‘win-backs’ as well.

Only after the port has been completed does Sorenson disable enhanced functionalities, as required by the Commission’s rules. And only after the port is complete does Sorenson commence any “winback” marketing.

The Federal Communications Commission considered this issue in its Bright House decision and determined that marketing efforts would be prohibited while the port is underway, but “winback” efforts would be permitted as soon as the port is complete. This rule strikes the most appropriate balance: VRS providers may not interfere with a user’s decision to port to another provider, but VRS providers may encourage users to reconsider after they have experience with the other provider.

I tell you MY experience.

I ordered Z20 at the beginning of November 2011.

November 18th, Z20 was hooked up at my residence.

November 22nd, that is 4 days after my Z20 is hooked up. The firm order of confirmation (FOC for porting completion) is processed.

November 24th, I blogged about my experience with ZVRS.

November 25th, Sorenson representive called me, emailed me and left a video mail asking me why I ported my phone number to ZVRS. I told them specifically to not contact me again.

Now, you may already know that Sorenson is permitted to ‘win-back’ their former customers after porting their numbers to a different provider. Several people reported on AllDeaf.com and through the grapevine that former Sorenson customers were offered Apple’s iPad2, laptop, 19-inch HDTV, wifi router, VoIP phone, $300 dollars cash, and a dinner at the restaurant to ‘win-back’ their customers. I hope that someone can offer some kind of proof. I think win-backs are not permitted especially when it gets too excessive, and I wonder what kind of funds are used to ‘win-back’ their customers?

What are your thoughts?

Best,
Amy Cohen Efron

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54 comments on “Sorenson “Win-Backs” are Permitted!

To address their comment at the top paragraph on page 3.

ZVRS doesn’t know a number is being ported until the port is complete. ZVRS uses a carrier website portal to query a full list of numbers that the carriers are terminating to ZVRS. These reports show the number as ZVRS’ until the FOC date. Using this data source, there is no way ZVRS can interfere with the port, much less levy any fees, until the port is complete.

Sorenson alleges that ZVRS somehow levies a termination fee on porting-away customers. Quite simply: ZVRS presently doesn’t know (nor care to know) that a number is being ported away until it is actually ported-away after the FOC date.

Sorenson claims unsubstantiated allegations with ZVRS, yet they allege something that cannot technically be with unsubstantiated claims themselves.

I cannot believe my eyes that this is permitted! It’s bribery pure and simple. No other company would go to the extremes to win back customers like this. To the point it is embarrassing that they’re doing this. Not only that, but the lack of respect on Sorenson’s part. They push and badger and push even AFTER a customer has said NO NO NO NO NO. How many times does one have to say no? This shows NO RESPECT for the customer. None. People who ported back in August are still being badgered in November! That is beyond ridiculous. There should be something protecting the customer’s right to say no. And to only have to say it once. Not 5 or 10 times.

I had the opposite experience. I ordered a Z phone, it never came, I signed up for their service, but never received their product. I was unable to use my Sorsenson VP 200 because they (zvrs) “ported” the number… The issue was never a Sorsenson issue. However, Sorsenson representative was willing to come out and fix the problem for me within 24 hours of the call. What is even more interested in all of this drama, is that my number is actually registered to Purple! Sorsenson fixed my phone, and Im still a Purple consumer.

I believe that every company has pro’s and con’s…

Interesting! As I typing I have new ZVRS 20 product here. I am waiting for FOC complete by this midnight. If there are anything to share I will come back here.

I am glad that FCC allows the win-back, the company has the legal right to try lure the former customers AFTER the porting. That what Sorenson is doing as of right now.

If you claim that someone was offered like Apple iPad 2, Laptop or whatever, do they have proof? Nope, why nothing in writting. its all by saying in ‘Oral’ so its hard to get proof unless someone is smart to require a written agreement/contract for that.

I am glad Sorenson had the fact. I don’t support ZVRS, why? You don’t know the dirty story inside the Z HQ because I do!

Thank you.

Hey myVRS Relay Central,

Thanks for your honest comment and disclosure of your bias against ZVRS. I can respect that.

SUPPOSE… if a VRS company uses FCC reimbursement money for marketing purposes, to ‘win-back’ their former customers with these so-called items that was been circulating around? Maybe they don’t put them on writing, and someone could easily take pictures of these items and file an affidavit saying that these items were provided by a specific VRS company to ‘win-back’… I would be so curious how FCC auditors would perceive this.

It is controversial depending how far the VRS provider would do to ‘win-back’…

Amy

Amy,

That would be interesting if it did. Remember many deaf people are not that smart and doesn’t know well about FCC. That is the problem. That why my website is for, to educate them how to voice their concerns.

Therefore, FCC needs to bust VRS balls more tougher. I know for a fact in 1 1/2 weeks from now, many VRS providers will start to be scared becuase of more new stricter rules and 40+ white label providers will be out of business.

Time for change ….

Hey myVRS Relay Central (Robert),

“You don’t know the dirty story inside the Z HQ because I do!”

You do? Please share. As someone who works at Z HQ, I know of any “dirty story”. I believe you are insinuating a falsehood.

Robert, I am calling you out. Share with the community, or stop spreading your manufactured fear, uncertainty, and doubt. It is an affront to every ZVRS employee when you do so.

Correction: I do not know of any “dirty story” that could possibly warrant Robert’s comment.

Haste in posting comments begets mistakes in comments.

The challenge remains: facts only please.

Darnit. I did it myself. Wrong facts.

When I said Robert above, I really meant Joseph. I have Robert on the brain from another comment thread.

http://www.myvrs.org/html/about.html

Joseph Brzezowski. Please share your “dirty story” with the community.

Robert, whomever I was referring to accidentally by using the wrong name, I apologize for using your name when I meant to refer to Joseph.

myVRS Relay Central Says:

“December 20th, 2011 at 8:19 That would be interesting if it did. Remember many deaf people are not that smart and doesn’t know well about FCC. That is the problem. That why my website is for, to educate them how to voice their concerns?”

While we all agree that there is so much to educate the VRS consumers including facts, I just want to correct the statement – “many deaf people are not that smart” are absolutely wrong. Perhaps the better word would be ignorant due to the lack of accurate information being passed out to us, regardless of our education. I just want to point it out.

Thanks.

To be honest we all are pushing our luck with the FCC with all the allegations, insinuations, and accusations. The FCC is a federal agency! We are going to boot ourselves out of FCC money for VRS providers and one day our VRS/VP usage will be limited because we keep circulating all kinds of things that the FCC is bound to follow up on. It is like shooting ourselves in the foot.

Now, I understand all the points you guys are bringing up. I think it is time to shut up and enjoy using the VRS services of your choice. And guess what? One ZVRS representative circulated (shared) a video that contained a dirty sign for Sorenson (BJ) and it really disgusted me. That coming from a ZVRS rep, a top rep, a face we see on video and in ads. Now, the video people said wasn’t made by ZVRS but shared by them.

That made me so angry. Before I saw that video, I had kept Z4 on my laptop. After seeing the video, I un-installed the Z4 download. I am going to un-install it from my smartphone next.

While Sorenson conducts winbacks by offering nice incentives, all I saw from ZVRS was shared profanity. If you don’t believe me then you are not on that ZVRS reps facebook. I decline to name that ZVRS rep because I don’t call people out publicly. I will only explain the circumstances and let those who have seen the vulgar video decide for themselves. I have not seen ONE Sorenson rep sharing a video that contained a dirty sign. Hence, I feel comfortable with Sorenson because they won’t stoop that low. I was offended because I am a Sorenson customer so I felt the vulgar video was directed at me indirectly.

If anyone can justify a SHARED video that contains a dirty sign for a VRS provider, let me and all the deaf school kids know!

Thanks.

VRSEngineer,

You don’t know nothing becuase YOU work in VRSEngineer department and you not know what is going on with the Sales and Marketing folks. I had a fact source from someone who knew all the folks there. I am not going to spill the beans. I rather this person to tell the story himself. Yes, I am not kidding about it.

Again, you are making me laugh because you not know what is going on anyway. I do know lot about VRS and all the people. In fact, I had meeting with FCC recently and will have more meetings in next 2 weeks.

Sadly, FCC informed me that there will be more VRS fraud cases and more new stricter rules for VRS for 2012. Evenually, the FRNPRM will have in ASL format which will be available in 2 weeks which is a great news.

JRC,

I am stating the fact that 95% deaf people do not know how to voice their words becuase they not know what FCC is nor how to file a complaint BECAUSE VRS Providers doesn’t educate or empower them. I have seen with my eyes. It’s terrible. Don’t try be smart with me, I know FCC very well and I know the VRS Business myself too.

I stand this corrected. No further questions. Have a nice Happy Holidays!

John C: You raise a good point. The more we report to the FCC, the more action they may take. We may not be happy with whatever action they end up taking. Then again, there are real problems that need to be addressed. It would be nice if everyone would “play nice”, but humans are involved, and that tends to complicate things.

I would love to see this video you are reporting, as I’ve not seen it yet. ZVRS would definitely not condone an abusive or obscene video. If you could forward an email link to vrsengineer@gmail.com, that would spare Amy’s blog comments any association with such a video.

Joseph: A name of this person you know within Marketing and Sales would be great. I would love to have a chat with them in person to understand what you are alleging. But, as things stand, you still haven’t disclosed facts to back up your allegations.

I am definitely not omniscient, but I trust my coworkers to do the right thing. ZVRS is as much a family as it is a workplace. We are a team. All trust is well earned. We work hard to make every customer happy. That is what I’m trying to do here: get to the bottom of any problem that you may be reporting. If there were any truth to it, action would be taken to make sure bad things don’t happen again.

I am here as someone attempting to empower the deaf community with information. I answer technical questions, and I attempt to make them understandable by everyone.

Functional equivalence is about assuming everyone is the same, hearing or deaf, and treating everyone as equal.

While I do believe there is a language barrier at times, I don’t believe, as you seem to, that “95% of deaf people” are incapable of doing the exact same as any other US citizen.

John C: I was forwarded the video in question. I’ve started an inquiry internally. Will respond more after some discovery and appropriate adjudication.

It Truth Sorenson Wash FCC Brain For Many Yr’s
Sorenson Will Hurt To FCC Beware Me Will Facts To Them-Sorenson…
Sorenson Is Owner Shit Hearing Business Company Dirty TOO
Not For Sale You Sucker Free VP Dumb Ass Service Lousy Sorenson..

See, more profanity directed at Sorenson by F–k Sorenson. Why is it necessary to use profanity? 1. Maybe F–k Sorenson works for ZVRS and cannot stand competition with Sorenson 2. Maybe it is someone who is a customer and totally bought into competition with Sorenson from ZVRS 3. Maybe it is a sick person who sees a chance to be heard with his/her profanity???

vrsengineer- can you post the link to the video so people can see which one we are referring to? I would post the link anyway, if you rather not. Thanks for starting a inquiry internally (within who?). The person who SHARED it appears in some video ads and posters. That was why I was so surprised he thought nothing of it to share that video. He is a very high profile ZVRS figure. Honestly, he shouldn’t have shared it. He should just continue representing ZVRS and appear in videos, ads, and posters. But once he shared it on his FB, I wonder since he still represents ZVRS if they endorsed his sharing the video. I wouldn’t be surprised if he got praised by ZVRS. Really. Reprimand him? How? I can’t imagine it. But it doesn’t change the fact that I was offended by ZVRS. I w

Continued: I have known him for a long time. He is a good guy. I know how he gets into things. He is a very open minded individual who is not ashamed of himself. If he gets videotaped doing a lap dance. Fine with him. Fine with me. But he needs to understand I spoke out to him because I am a customer of Sorenson and could see the dirty sign in video. I jeopardized our friendship by lashing out at him. ZVRS doesn’t make me happy because clearly they are not telling their employees not to share videos that might offend people such as me and jeopardize the friendships at stake. I had to stand up for myself and the fact I am a Sorenson customer. I was in the process of checking ZVRS out by downloading Z4 on both of my devices, the laptop and the handheld and using the services. It got to the point where I un-installed the apps on both. I didn’t ask to un-install but was provoked to in disgust. To stay clean and washed of the matter, I am sticking with Sorenson right now.

I am a Christian. I am NOT better than that guy or any of you. Sometimes I make mistakes. I have made a share of my own mistakes. I have been misunderstood and labeled such as such in times like during my divorce, people have perceived things wrongly. At the same time I showed my frustrations. But with this ZVRS matter I felt the best course of action was to remove myself from all ZVRS services. I sort of became an advocate for Sorenson by will and by default. I decided to speak up and share my thoughts. It doesn’t mean I know which company can best serve you or what I think who is sinning. ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God. But, I as a customer felt that I had the right to share my feelings about the video, and yes I made a big deal out of it to the point of probably losing friendship with that guy. He and I hardly talk to each other except through comments on Facebook, anyway and at the expos I usually stop by to say hi to him. Next time I stop by, he probably will have a huge scowl on his face at me. In behalf of ZVRS, too. I forgive him. I know he didn’t direct the shared video at me and didn’t intend to offend me. He just forgot I was a very intelligent, perspective person which nothing can’t go past me. Or he thought I wouldn’t think much of it or that I would be passive. I don’t know what he thought, you will have to ask him. He even asked me during our tense dialogue on FB if “I had kids” after I rebuked him for sharing the video – of course he knew I had kids. He might have more talent than me or be more popular than I am, but that doesn’t take away the fact I am a human being and a father, and lastly, a Sorenson customer.

I think ZVRS would be better off if they just stopped nuking Sorenson with their extensive advertising campaign and focused on advertising the goodness of ZVRS and marketing their devices and making new apps. They’re so focused on Sorenson that they lost me and am certainly to lose some Sorenson customers. Even some customers who ported to ZVRS from Sorenson re-ported back to them.

Smile. ZVRS is a very ambitious company with ambitious employees but they need to draw the line.

John C:

if you want to see the true story between Sorenson and the Z, you can see the facts and videos and all links at my site at:

http://www.myvrs.org/blog/2011/12/the-story-about-sorenson-and-zvrs/

The video with the (BJ) thing, I think it’s funny and he told the facts about Sorenson and everyone needs to know about it.

If you see “Fk Sorenson” posts, he is former customer and now is a very loyal customer of Z not a employee. I personally know him.

vrsengineer: Again, I stated that I got this from someone who knew the Z people so I rather for him to tell the story not me. I did contacted him to see if he want to come here and type his own story from his own words.

Thanks and happy holidays :L)

I work for ZVRS but I am not F-K Sorenson. I still use vp200 and am not ready to port to any Zphones yet. I has no problem with vp200 for a long time.
Been thinking about port to ZVRS but nah, not ready yet.

Vrsengineer – you might think its funny. As a Sorenson customer I don’t think it is. Children will see the video and copy the sign. Or the kids have no reception skills lol.

I want to add that I have never seen a TMobile or Sprint rep share a video that contained a dirty word. Get my point? Its time for all companies including ZVRS become more professional, more courteous, with no dirty words or signs. There are people who are not dumb and can read between the lines. I just happen to be one of them, I plea mea culpa. I just would appreciate it more if ZVRs don’t foster a anti-Sorenson or anti-rival company atmosphere which does nothing but annoy people like me. It insults our intelligence.

We are all acting like children. It is embarrassing. I am not trying to be holier-than-thou but I just don’t want to hear anymore of this. I would be content with the company rightfully advertising why they are the best, without mentioning other companies. Sorenson even produced videos of people who ported back to them from ZVRS, that is fair enough due to the exposure ZVRS is bringing to Sorenson with negative vibes, vulgar videos, etc.

One more thing- in several Facebook status messages regarding ZVRS, I emphasized the Sorenson VP200 and the nTouch (NVP) provides the clearest VP pictures, and ZVRS supporters perhaps employees kept saying “so what about the picture!” And “why does it have to be about clear, clear, clear picture?” Man. It is. There arguments are: more features, more products, less wiring, etc. Throughout the war, I keep sticking to the same point I want to emphasize: having the best picture, aka the best videophone quality is most important to me. Not the different devices (aka Z20, Z340, etc etc). All I want is the clearest picture.

Then my argument snowballed with that ZVRS ad man sharing a video with a drty sign for Sorenson. That was the final straw. I was waiting for ZVRS to say “John, yes we agree you want the best picture. No argument here, John. Be on standby as we work on developing the best and most clearest videophone.” That’s all they had to say to me.

John C,

This is your fourth comment on my blog, and as much I would welcome any comments to discuss about ZVRS, and VRS industry as much as I can. When these comments can ‘hijack’ the blog entry discussing about other issues that is not relevant to the topic that I presented.

The topic is about Sorenson are allowed to do ‘win-backs’, that is the important topic that we need to explore if a company can aggressively win-back their customers to use their product. The issue about aggressiveness, with providing fancy stuff to the customer so that they can remain loyal to the company.

Of course, I covet having iPad2! Even though I have one for myself, and I forked 499 dollars for this device. Never regretted purchasing one. But why would Sorenson give iPad2 to their former customers as to ‘win-back’ them?

That is bothersome. I am still awaiting for anyone to come forward to present an evidence. I kept hearing the stories and I would love to have a picture or a filed affidavit swearing that Sorenson did give these items, iPad2, 19-inch HDTV, wifi router, VoIP phone, $300 dollar cash, and free dinner at a restaurant.

That is way too excessive.

John, please stay on the topic. Religion and specific videos done by an individual expressing their opinion about the companies are not relevant to the topic in my specific blog entry.

Thanks,
Amy Cohen Efron

Wow. You guys have been busy. Let me respond to the comments in reverse order:

John C: I’m not sure which “ZVRS ad man” you say shared a video with a dirty sign for Sorenson. If you have a link to the post, or a copy of the email, or even a name or online account of the employee, I assure you we will follow up on it and take action.

Every employee of any company represents that company, whether they like to admit it or not. ZVRS only condones videos that it produces as marketing material. Anything beyond that presents potential liability issues. Employees that are found to be posting inappropriate material are summarily dealt with.

I don’t think it is funny. I find no humor in vulgar written language or signs, particularly when representing my employer. ZVRS policy does not condone such action either.

Based on his comment above, Jonathan (myvrs) thinks it is funny. He is representing himself and his own website, however, not a VRS provider.

Religious beliefs have no place in any public discourse.

You keep saying “He” throughout your posts. “He is a very high profile ZVRS figure”. Who? I can’t address this internally without some context. Who is this “He” you keep referring to?

As to the entity that calls himself “*obscenity* Sorenson” (I’m not about to repeat that name here): please stop. You’re not helping anyone by using that vulgarity as a username. Quite simply, it isn’t welcome. Use a proper handle when identifying yourself, and try to support the conversation with facts and words that you wouldn’t mind repeating in front of your mother.

Profanity is not welcome. Please keep things civil.

VRSengineer, in respect to Amy’s topic I cannot go off topic anymore as per her request. To answer your question on who is the person is that shared the video, I rather not call him out in public. He is probably reading this thread so I need to be careful. He already blocked me from FB so I don’t know if it is still there or if he removed it. Unless I know he didn’t remove it I can’t reveal his name. I hinted he is in ZVRS videos and ads often.

That’s the end of it. I am done. I need to respect Amy’s wishes.

John C, are you referring to man with glasses and a goatee in the ZVRS videos/ads? If that is correct, I am not surprised. Several people from ZVRS removed me off FB and who cares. I have the freedom of speech.

VRSEngineer, from your previous post

“Based on his comment above, Jonathan (myvrs) thinks it is funny. He is representing himself and his own website, however, not a VRS provider.”

I am not Jonathan, I am Joseph. Please be clear on that. Thank you.

Amy, thank you for making clarifications about posting rights and I repsect your blog and I am here just to discuss about Sorenson/ZVRS issues only.

Thank you & Happy Holidays 🙂

I’ll have to admit, that the dominant provider is allowed the immediate opportunity to win-back its former customers after the porting process is completed, does not sit well with me. Other VRS providers need a chance to prove themselves to earn and win the consumer’s trust and business, not to see it taken away so quickly by the dominant provider.

The key concept is that Sorenson is a dominant provider. It does not hold a monopoly in the VRS market. (Competing VRS providers may disagree with me…) Anti-trust rules come into play, and win-backs in the anti-trust context are generally frowned upon. Anti-trust law is a complex undertaking, and I do not want to dabble into this area. I already have my hands full in TRS regulatory issues, mainly out of the desire to preserve and/or expand community interpreting services.

My position is that Sorenson is allowed the opportunity to conduct win-back campaigns on its former consumers. I just wish that it wasn’t so immediate, and hope that Sorenson can respect the consumer’s porting wishes for at least one week, before mounting a win-back effort. Also, my position is that the only incentive allowed for any VRS Provider in any consumer acquisition is the CPE unit.

Frankly speaking, I have not heard of any anecdotal evidence implicating Sorenson’s use of non-CPE incentives in their consumer acquisition initiatives. If non-CPE incentives are indeed being used, then they need to be documented and filed in an affidavit with the FCC.

I am a little bit suspicious of marketing/sponsorship campaigns conducted by VRS providers in conjunction with enterprise partners. i.e., a VRS provider is a ‘Gold Sponsor’ of a Deaf convention. What does that mean? Does that mean this VRS provider has ‘locked up’ the market for this organization backing the Deaf convention? Or, a VRS provider is now the exclusive partner of a business or organization? What does that mean? Did money exchange hands (in guise of a one-time donation) in locking up the market possessed by this business or organization?

The FCC has asked for information for any sponsorship arrangements between VRS providers and businesses and organizations. Hopefully the FCC will glean important lessons from this information and better regulate the VRS market.

Amy said: “But why would Sorenson give iPad2 to their former customers as to ‘win-back’ them?”
———–
What bothers me is they are doing this after telling the deaf community that if tier rates were reduced (by the FCC) that the VRS industry would go out of business and we would lose it all together. If their business was under that much threat they needed scare tactics, where are they pulling all this money out from?

Sorenson in spite of rates reduced by FCC still have a business to run and to maintain the edge as the leading VRS company. Keep in mind, that any other VRS company can conduct winbacks just the same as Sorenson can. Why focus on Sorenson?

The reason for my support of Sorenson is, I have been a Sorenson customer since VP100 came out, having got VP 200, and am in the process of receiving NVP. Quality always was great from Sorenson, I couldn’t as for more. I knew the technology from Sorenson are designed exclusively for Deaf people.

Sorenson is a long time running company, so of course they have the money for winbacks. Whether the money is CPE or non-CPE, I do not know. That is a good question. Its employees have maintained the professionalism from all ranks unlike ZVRS so I have to imagine they do most or everything by the book. I have known Ron Burdett, a top person at Sorenson for years from his days as a dean at Ohlone College. He is a honest administrator who helped a deaf program flourish at a college. I know he will not risk the company only to be burned by FCC’s investigative ways.

“[Sorenson] Its employees have maintained the professionalism from all ranks unlike ZVRS so I have to imagine they do most or everything by the book.”
——————
Not quite true. I have heard many stories lately of people who have unannounced visits from Sorenson. The installer arrives and tells the customer that ZVRS “stole” their number and they must get it back. The person is intimidated into agreeing to whatever is being propositioned. At that point, the NVP is installed and all other VP’s are taken (MVP, SnapOjo and Z340 in one case). At that point the hysterical customer calls into ZVRS tech support to relay their story.

In another situation, a good friend of mine was visited by Sorenson’s friendly installer. The installer told my friend that ZVRS’s ZC’s hard reset the VP-200’s and that’s why they no longer have contact lists. This installer also spun other wild tales of lore. How do I know this? My friend works for Z in their Tech Support department. I also happen to know the person who is in charge of training ZC’s and he would never condone this type of behavior. ZVRS has a code of ethics as VRSengineer has pointed out and anyone caught doing the wrong thing would be terminated.

ZVRS requires signed consent of an LOA, I know because I went through this process myself. Also the installers do NOT show up unannounced. They make appointments and also confirm with you that you understand this means your VP-200 will be shipped back to Sorenson. This is why I have a very hard time believing any of those people in the first three Sorenson attack vids.

Wri7913 -Amy had requested me to focus on her topic so under another blog with this topic I can respond to you. By the way, thanks for informing me that Sorenson customers are robots who do what Sorenson asks them to do in making those videos, which is why you have a hard time believing them.

Wri7913 – the customer who allowed the installer to take ojo, mvp, and z340 needs to take ownership. First, that customer should make a video to share story. Secondly, who comes into my house to take all that without taking ownership of the house? I mean, am I going to give up what I own just to port to another company? That’s just so farfetched. All that person had to do, is stash it away in the garage and say, pls install ZVRS or else! Who’s going to walk away from an installation! Thus to lose a customer to Sorenson? I don’t doubt it if ZVRS or Sorenson installers ask for old equipment from other companies. Just take ownership and keep what belongs to you. Otherwise if they won’t install on basis of that, it is their loss. I mea, seriously. Am I going to give up my blackberry if I wanted to switch to Tmobile? Give it to Tmobile who could then sell it on ebay or craigslist? Ofc we can’t sell what’s given to the installer (VPs) but I am just making a fruitless point. Point is, all customers, take ownership. Stash it somewhere and say, “all I have is the ZVRS 340. You can have it, sir.”

John C – The Sorenson installer intimidated the person pretty badly. When I talked to them it was just after it happened and they were in hysterics. After they realized they had been conned they were pretty pissed off. I told them the best thing to do is file complaint through FCC as there is not much they can do after the fact. They were told lies such as ZVRS “stole” Sorenson’s number and threatened that if they number was not returned they would be in trouble with the law. It is not as far-fetched as you think and from what I hear it is actually pretty common. The other thing Sorenson installers and sales people say is that ZVRS is not compatible with 911 which is obviously a lie.

Wri7913- are u saying if a Sorenson installer would come intimidate me if I ported to ZVRS? Really, people can only try to intimidate me if I don’t take ownership or control of every situation at MY FRONT DOOR. If I have children, and somebody comes over ending up all of us in hysterics, then it means I am not taking ownership of my front door, of my home, and it means I am not in control of my own house. You’re making it sound like deaf people can’t maintain their control over their household. I refuse to accept that. As for me, whoever comes over, I will be in control of my own household. The installer will never be in control of any kind. We have to stay strong and be stern to the installer, if we called the installer to come, we still have to stay in control. If they call us, we have to stay under our own control, not theirs. If they couldn’t, I mean you used a strong word intimidation. Well, I am glad I am not under their household because then they would let that installer be in control over me and our house. You know? It is so important to show any others living with you the control you maintain over your household so any outsider (visitor, installer, repairman, phone man, etc) cannot cross your boundaries. That applies to all VRS companies. As for me, they cannot intimidate me. I would simply jump to the supervisor and explain how I feel, if it doesn’t work, I keep moving up the chains until someone goes “wow! Sorry on behalf of our company. I will talk to the installer and reprimand the installer for you since you felt pressured.” At least I maintain control enough to speak to a senior supervisor to deal with the installer. I have to call my own shots. What, an installer calling all shots in my own house? I am not that kind of person to allow that to happen.

[…] Sorenson Communications are allowed to use “win-back” strategy to woo their former customers to port their 10-digit number back to their video relay services. Sorenson assured that they will not do ‘win-back’ during the porting process, only after the process is done. Check my previous blog about Sorenson are allowed to use “win-back” their former custome… […]

Well, well, well!
I am one of the former Sorenson customers that switched over to Z with no regrets. Approximately three weeks after leaving S, I was contacted by, not one but four!, S. representatives. You guessed it, I have been woo’ed with all the devices mentioned. I don’t appreciate the scare tactics they’ve used on me. Ex: “Your IP Address is visible and invites hackers”. “Your Z products will NOT be replaced if broken and “It’s not 911 compliance”.

I would think after one and perhaps two “no thank you, I’m not interested” they would get the message that I’m not giving in to them. No? Back off!

And…..KUDOS to you Amy for your outstanding blogs. I have throughly enjoyed reading them.

MYOBS – it seems strange you’re telling Sorenson to back off in Amy’s blog. Just contact them directly. Anyone can say the same thing but what really makes a difference is that you resolve it directly with them by calling Sorenson Communications. Talking to a more senior representative should take care of your problem.

By the way, thanks for helping me realize I could do the same if ZVRS bugs me to port to them. I will follow your example.

I ported my Sorenson VP-200 number to Z20 recently and my FOC date passed on Dec 16th. One week and a half later I was finally contacted by a Sorenson representative.

No I have not talked to this rep yet, he left me a VAM on my Z20. I will probably call him back just to see what they do offer. I will let you guys know and I”m pretty sure what they are going to do. The Sorenson rep is of the top reps for my state so I expect full frontal assault in sales.

Am I going to entertain the notion to switch back? Probably not because of some rumors I hear floating around about what Sorenson is doing. One floating around seems to be that they are not shipping ZVRS products back to them. I’m a little bit leery about that one because if they had my Z340 or any product in their possession they would be able to get all my contacts. I would take this as a huge violation of my personal privacy.

So on all VRS equipment including both Sorenson VP200 and NVP, and Z340 contacts cannot be deleted and erased? Through ZVRS’ website, is it impossible to erase the contacts and any history? Are you sure that is accurate information? For instance, if I decided to sell my sidekick on craigslist or ebay, I would make sure it was 100% erased, not just on the sim card but on the device itself.

Is it a legal regulation by a VRS company to consficate your old VRS providers’ VP equipment? If I changed from Tmobile to Apple’s iPhone, would Apple take my sidekick? No. I am trying to figure out why in the VRS industry the companies during ports take the former VRS company’s VP equipment causing customers to become hysterical. I mean, isn’t VP like getting an iPhone after porting from Tmobile? Are we saying that the VRS companies do things differently or are FCC rules different as compared to phone companies or handheld carriers?

In my opinion it would be a violation by ZVRS if I couldn’t erase my contacts on a Z340. It is ridiculous. This whole thing. That gives me more of a reason why I shouldn’t trust ZVRS or port to them because if I ported to yet another VRS provider again, how would I erase it? As wri7913 said, “If they had my Z340 or any of their (ZVRS) products, they would be able to get all my contacts.”

That makes effectively makes ZVRS the culprit and violator for designing their equipment as incapable of deleting or erasing the contacts on the list. Right? Speaking like a lawyer, I say yes. If Sorenson’s VP200/NVP has the same problem then both companies are in violation of our privacy by design.

Oh boy. What I heard is that iPhones have technology that even hackers can’t detect which tracks everything we do on it. I imagine androids have that same technology too. I really feel that every carrier, every company, and every VRS company should not design any technology or add any type of technology that
allows the companies to track our “footprints” and every punch of the keyboard, every site we have gone to, every text or email we made, every contact list we have had. My goodness if Nazi Germany or Russia during the cold war possessed that technology it would be son against father, wife against husband, daughter against mother, and government against the citizens.

Scary. Thanks wri7913 for pointing out the vulnerability and violation of and by ZVRS.

John C: please calm down and stop spreading FUD.

The Z340 uses XCAP to pull down its addressbook from ZVRS servers when it boots.

There is no addressbook stored on the phone itself anywhere but RAM.
The Z340 is “empty” when it boots.

Your ZVRS “My Contacts” are stored on the ZVRS servers, and are 100% accessible by you via the ZVRS website under your profile.

If you delete a contact from your Z340, it posts an XCAP update to the ZVRS server which deletes your contact there as well.

If you delete a contact from your My Contacts on the ZVRS website, your Z340 will not see that entry the next time it is rebooted.

This means that while the Z340 has no local contacts stored on the phone, other Z phones do. Wiping those entries depends on whether the Z phone in question is still able to “call home” and pull down an updated addressbook from ZVRS My Contats.

These are the facts.

In a Sorenson win-back situation, as soon as your number is marked as ported-away in the ZVRS platform, the Z340 will no longer be able to login to the ZVRS servers and pull down an XCAP update to fill its addressbook.

Until the ZVRS platform knows the number is ported away, however, the phone is fully live. ZVRS doesn’t know a number is ported away until the carriers say so, which only happens after the FOC date.

If a Sorenson rep were to ship a Z340 back before the FOC date, it is entirely possible that someone could take note of the Z340’s addressbook entries.

On the other hand, I think this premise is a farce.

ZVRS does try to assist customers in transferring and populating their My Contacts – in an attempt to make the customer more willing to use the ZVRS equipment to place their calls. The more entries in the phonebook, the more willing a customer is to use that as their primary VRS videophone.

The added benefit of having My Contacts is that all of your Z phones in the same profile share the same My Contacts. Contacts you add to one Z phone appear on your other Z phones. This is a key feature that other VRS providers, including Sorenson, do not have.

As for privacy concerns: ZVRS does not take note of the identities or contact information of customer addressbook entries. No reports are run on the backend to interrogate the actual content of customer’s My Contacts. ZVRS has no intention of violating a customer’s privacy by doing so.

My Contacts are your contacts. They are only to be used by you, for your own purposes.

ZVRS takes customer privacy very seriously. If you have concerns, please contact ZVRS customer support, and any concerns will be immediately addressed.

VRSEngineer- Don’t talk to me like a child and tell me to calm down. I don’t appreciate the tone of your language.. Spreading FUD? Be advised, don’t mess with me. I am very intelligent and understand what people say, because I can read and write and not miss anything. Don’t underestimate me. Read below:

Wri7913 is the one who quoted “I’m a little bit leery about that one because if they had my Z340 or any product in their possession they would be able to get all my contacts. I would take this as a huge violation of my personal privacy.” Then I followed up with comments. You should have said to wri7913 to “calm down and stop spreading FUD.” Not me. He was the first to quote that, so the source of FUD is from him. I have the right to dispute ZVRS’ VP picture, the morals of the ZVRS reps, and to debate, and it is up to people how they take it, as truth or as something to dispute on.

Your company representatives are the ones who instigate FUD among Sorenson customers in the war ZVRS vs Sorenson. A high profile company representative of ZVRS even shared a video that had an obscene sign for Sorenson. That video charged me and got me going. I was already engaged in a debate before that video, but the shared video was the catalyst.

You may not know who I am, but I can be pretty sharp when you corner me with “Do not spread FUD,” because I will not follow up on any points I am trying to make if somebody didn’t say something, and in this case wri7913 clearly stated concerns about violation to his privacy regarding contacts on his Z340. I will not allow you or anybody to twist things and point to me, if somebody else said something originally about privacy concerns re: contacts or anything like that. Wipe your eyeglasses and look at wri7913’s comment before mine.

Hi, I am typing this by my friends who dont want to use their names on this. And they know I dont mind typing for them. Ok here is their story. They got z20 because they went to a DeafNation event and Zvrs told them they can get a free Orange Tshirt if they sign a paper that they were not aware what it was for but to get a Tshirt. Unexpectedly, they got a box from Zvrs later on thru UPS and when they opened it they found Z20. They had a letter in the box with info what to do. So they hooked it up not knowing their next impact. When z20 was done, thier VP200 died because their Local Number was ported to Z20. They tried to use it but were not very happy because only 8 contact list allowed in z20. And the quality of picture sucked. Freezing and puzzles not great. They said they wre happy Sorenson called them and they said they wanted to go back to Sorenson because Sorenson is best. Getting all what Sorenson provided, they want to let you all know that Sorenson Ntouch is far better than Zvrs products– better believe it. It is the truth.

Zvrs can not beat Sorenson’s product. Because it is a WOW that is wonderful! Dont accuse Sorenson because they give the best. The care about you the Deaf. Sorenson is not greedy or selfish….my friends are very happy to get what Sorenson could offer. All free — wow!!!! Just wanted to share with you! Sorenson rocks, as for a fact. Thank you.

ZVRS promising them t-shirts by having them sign a paper is an unethical practice by a VRS company and it angers me because some deaf folks are not careful enough to read the fine print, the disclaimers and clauses. It is deceptive practice. We should spread an ASL video advising everyone NOT to sign a paper without reading the full contents, the fine print, or without asking a neutral friend to help them read it. WOW. That is totally wrong. And certainly no FUD. If this is true we need to get the word out. John Smardo, thanks for alerting me to this.

Unbelievable. Amy, do you condone that practice, allowing people to think it is just for a bright orange t-shirt when it effectively ports them from Sorenson to ZVRS without their true understanding of what they are signing for?

John Smardo and John C: This thread is about win-backs being permitted. Please try and keep on topic.

The 8 contact “limit” on the Z20 has been corrected. I fixed it myself on November 30th: all Z20s now have a scrolling list of all of their My Contacts. If you’re running TE2.2.1 you may only see 8 at a time, but that list scrolls. If you are running TE4.1.0 or later, Cisco changed the interface a bit, so you will see more.

To answer your concerns, first I’ll share with you full disclosure of the forms that ZVRS customers may see.

A first time videophone customer may see this form:

http://www.zvrs.com/z-series/z-ojo/myfirstvideophone/application

If you are porting a Z20 from Sorenson, you may see this agreement:

http://www.zvrs.com/company/the-z/legal-disclaimer/product-agreement

If you port a number, there will be an LOA that you must sign to authorize ZVRS to port your number (you will need a ZVRS profile login to see this page):

http://www.zvrs.com/loa

There is another form that customers might sign when receiving a Z20 that allows an on-site ZVRS specialist to ship a customer’s VP200 back to Sorenson for them.

As for win-backs (trying to keep on topic here), it’s that last form that really causes most of the friction right now: when one provider ships another provider’s equipment back (with the customer’s blessing), it prevents the losing provider from a quick-and-easy win-back – the equipment is no longer in the customer’s possession.

The agreements I list above are pretty easy to read. I really don’t see anything there that would qualify as “fine print”.

Beyond an ETF fee that is waved if the equipment is returned, and that the customer may be initiating a port away from another VRS provider, the customer really isn’t exposed to much risk here.

And as for signing things: I personally read _everything_ I sign, mostly to identify the legal risk I may incur by signing a contract.

Deaf or hearing, this is the society we live in. Take a look at your wireless cellphone or VISA/Mastercard contract sometime, then read the above agreements again and let me know if we’re even in the same ballpark here.

Everyone: Please keep on topic here: if there is nothing in your reply comment about win-backs, this might be the wrong blog post to be commenting on.

VRSEngineer- are you Amy’s website host to monitor those in keeping them on the topic? Speaking to me like a child again? If Amy tells me, it is adult-to-adult because it is her blog not yours. And in any blog sometimes people blurt out helpful information about the same general topic- whether it is winbacks or whatever it is.

My concern was I found it appalling if true what Smardo claimed- having customers sign so they can get “orange ZVRS t-shirts” without disclosing to customer the signature was the acceptance to port to ZVRS from Sorenson, only for the customer to find out when their VP200 died. If it is true, those customers signed without realizing it WAS for a port to ZVRS. I was glad Smardo disclosed
the possibility of that happening, because it is unethical practice no matter what, we cannot expect deaf customers to read or understand everything on the contract being signed. If I ran a VRS company I would regulate my company to make sure every customer understood what they were signing, because I do not want any of my employees to exploit a deaf person that might be “special needs.” I was at the expos and just about all kinds of deaf people were at the VRS booths, from all levels. The low levels, the high levels, the advanced, the stupid, the special needs dept young adults, the high schoolers. If its true a company targets just about anybody who doesn’t understand how important it is to read everything on a contract before signing it, that is exploitation.

As for winbacks, if I ported to another company I would not turn over my old equipment. I would keep it so if I wanted to port back I could and keep the same equipment. If a company requires me to give them their rival company’s VP equipment, I wouldn’t do it anyway. I would simply stash it away in the garage or just tell them to just install the new equipment and if they can’t without me giving them my old equipment, it actually spares me from porting. I do not know what FCC’s rules are on that and every company may have a different policy.

John C: I continue to attempt to avoid ad-hominem character attacks. Facts are far more effective.

The ZVRS code of ethics would frown on any activity that would mislead or misinform customers.

There is no “standard practice” of giving away anything without fully explaining things to the customer.

That being said, there is often misunderstanding in conversation where information is relayed but not fully understood by the other party, yet the other party appears to erringly acknowledge that they fully understood what was said.

What is far more likely in the hypothetical cases that continue to be suggested is that the full implication of what was being signed by the customer was communicated to them at the time, and they likely indicated to the ZVRS representative that they understood when they really did not.

If a customer indicated to a ZVRS representative that they did not understand, and a representative were to misrepresent or not fully relay the information to the customer, it would be a violation of the ZVRS code of ethics. In this case, were facts to that end presented, action would be taken to remedy the situation.

We both agree you would not sign anything without reading it and understanding it, yet you argue against holding the customer responsible for signing a contract they did not understand?

The risk and liability here really is quite minimal either way. The phone number is still the customer’s: they can port it wherever they wish.

In the case of a customer being misled: if the customer realizes it soon enough after the port is initiated, they can tell the losing provider and they can cancel the port (known as a “yank-back”). In this case, there is no need to wait for the number to fully port to initiate a win-back.

If a customer initiates a yank-back or a win-back to Sorenson, and they had received a Z20 from ZVRS, they can ship the equipment back to ZVRS and not worry about the early termination fee. It need not be immediate: in the case of a win-back, the customer can keep the equipment until after the FOC date of the and send it back, during which time they continue using it for their phone service while they wait for their phone to be returned by Sorenson.

John C – which part of VRSEngineer’s post that he is speaking to you like a child? That’s an outrageous accusation. He’s simply stating the facts and staying on topic unlike you.

Off the point a little bit here:

Maybe John Smardo’s friend has a lousy internet connection from their ISP, it’s not the phone itself. Cable splitters could degrade the video quality, 1% packet loss would do that. Maybe not just splitters, the cables installed around the house were probably bent as it was not carefully placed by a cable guy, or a rat chewing on them in the walls. One of those three could impact the VQ.

Most HSI customers are hearing in general and the 1% packet loss does not matter to them or the ISPs when they don’t even have a videophone in their household. Surfing the internet would not be a problem for them with the 1%. So if the cable company sees a 99% success rate with 1% packet loss, they wouldn’t think it’ll be an issue for their deaf customers with a videophone. Most likely they’re not educated on what kind of internet connection a videophone need (0% packet loss) and that resulted in telling customers that their connection is fine when it is really not.

Back to the point in regards to win-backs:

And I want to point out that complimentary t-shirts are given to customers when ZVRS’ flashers are out of stock. As customers were waiting for flashers to arrive, t-shirts were being sent. Not sold on giving tshirts when instead ZVRS’ ships the Z20, the customer will need to sign LOA and CRA first before Z would send the Z20…

I thought ZVRS’ LOA and CRA agreements are clear. Most deaf people don’t read which they should… The Tele-Sales team and the outside Sales team works hard to be sure customers understood the agreements using ASL and willing to explain more to customers when neccessary. The customers ALWAYS sign the LOA at their computers in their homes.

The LOA does state clearly by the way:

“I authorize and designate CSDVRS, LLC to act as my agent regarding the switching (porting) of my local ten-digit telephone number from my current video relay service provider to CSDVRS, LLC.”

“I understand that I am switching my local number from the current phone I use to the new Z phone, and that the phone I have now will no longer work and will disconnect. I also understand that all of the features of the current phone, such as contact lists and speed dial, will be disconnected and disabled.”

So, John C – you don’t understand these? I thought they’re REALLY EASY to read. “Fine print”? Umm…

Most of ZVRS’ win-backs are just educating the customers of the technology and all the features they have to offer. I don’t see anything wrong with sending a VP200 back if a customer knowingly agree to getting a free Z20 (valued at $1,500), free ZBox, OneNumber feature, many more. They don’t give away iPads, TVs, cash, etc like what I’ve been hearing that Sorenson does. I’m okay with having to send VP200 back because that’s clever marketing. And Sorenson is doing the same with ZVRS’ products.

First, I don’t need to explain which quote led me to rebuke you for talking to me like a child. You are jumping into blogs and telling them to stay on the topic, is it Amy’s blog or a company generated blog? I don’t mind if the blogger tells me to stay with the topic but not others leaving comments. Simple.

Second, you need to talk to Smardo regarding his claim deaf customers were signing without their knowledge they were being ported. However I believed his story. I expressed dispeasure at the notion of lulling people into porting to ZVRS.

I understand everything, I can read everything. However I wasn’t talking about myself. I was talking about other deaf people who may not even read the simple print and maybe misunderstood, or got deceived.

Remember, in every apple batch, there are some rotten apples. Who is to say that ZVRS doesn’t have any rotten apples? Unless you’re in heaven and everything is perfect. With that said, I believe ZVRS has some rotten apples and that’s in every aspect, even at the expo booths.

I will not engage in anymore discussion over this topic. I might comment in other topics in this blog but enough of the rotten apples and this is 2012, all of us customers deserve something better not retorts back from ZVRS reps, supporters, and insiders. If I was running your company I would forbid all employees from commenting in the blogs or from warning commenters. Instead I would just relentessly create video ads, posters, and a “Can We Help You” slogan. Just stay off brawling with Sorenson supporters in blogs. It doesn’t do anything but make me detest ZVRS even more as I have managed to get the company down to a personal level.

Okay, guys!

Stop! Please stay on the topic and I am little tired of squabbling on my blogsite. It appears to me that both of you are adamant that every VRS company are not 100% perfect and there are always problems.

The bigger picture that I am trying to do is to EMPOWER the customer like me, like any John and Jane Does all over the U.S.A. to understand that there is a freedom of choice and also most importantly of all, understand how VRS work under FCC’s rules and regulations.

Each Deaf American Citizen needs to understand that their voice are important to FCC and I do not want them to feel intimidated by the big bad company OR bad apples from the big bad company. We all need to know the features, products and services.

We definitely need a neutral “Consumer Reports” for evaluating different VRS companies.

Thank you and please remain cordial as possible.

Amy Cohen Efron

Note on the porting process by ZVRS… Their customers are asked repeatedly through the process if they understand that they will be porting their number to ZVRS. They are repeatedly asked if they understand that they will have to ship back the VP-200 as part of the entire process. The final time they are asked is when they setup their installation date. I have friends who work for ZVRS and they have stated this many times that it is blatant lies when someone claims ZVRS “had someone sign a paper for a t-shirt and all the sudden their VP was ported”. There is no way, no how that will ever happen especially with ZVRS. I went through the port process myself and I know for a fact this is how the process goes. John Smardo is either intentionally lying or relying on second hand information which may also not be correct.

A different VRS company ports based on verbal agreement, which I consider to be a “no no”. It is always better to have a signed agreement between two parties in case there is ever a dispute. Often these “win-backs” are based on verbal agreements and not signed documentation.

I would like to speak as a lawyer would: it is all hearsay, the responses by wri7913, VRS engineer, etc. HEARSAY. The stories I hear about ZVRS is hearsay, however believable. Since we all are going back and forth with our responses, any allegation against ZVRS and Sorenson is hearsay. No actual proof whether some of the stories are lies or truth. But we choose who to believe based on company attitude towards us, so I believe the Sorenson people and supporters because their attitude always have been great towards me. The ZVRS people have put me down so I am no way in a position to believe their stories. It is hearsay to me. I did read the links provided but in regards to allegations against ZVRS, I believe the stories. It is public opinion. But from the law point of view it is still hearsay.

I would like to have big zipad cuz using small phone waste battery and so small to see it how do i get one like ya have ?? cuz i need to use when i out of home when job or important calls i can see big hand sign .

I am not responsible distributing iPads. You need to contact Sorenson VRS about this. I am just a blogger.

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