Magic Jack - for phone - Mothering Forums

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Old 10-21-2011, 03:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Anyone heard of/use this? A friend recently recommended it to me, and their website seems a bit frenetic, so I'd rather hear some stories from "real" people. 

 

We are paying almost $54/month for our land line, and it's ridiculous since we use it only for a handful of local calls each week. However, I like having a phone that works when the power goes out (which happens frequently in our area, often for several days at a time). And I also like not having to talk on a cell phone all the time (because of the radiation). 

 

DH and I each also have a basic trac phone, which run us about $6 each per month.

 

I suppose if I want to save money, I am going to have to let go of my land line or be willing to rely only on cell phones when the power goes out.

 

The MagicJack seemed potentially good since it's really cheap, and I can use my regular (non-radiating) phone. It does not work when the power goes out though.

 

Thanks for any thoughts if you've used MagicJack. 

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Old 10-21-2011, 04:27 PM
 
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I was really excited to try the Magic Jack, but was completely unable to get it to work for me.  I was able to get it connected, etc - but there was either no dial tone, or when I did get a dial tone and tried to dial out, it would just hang there forever not completing the call.  Their "customer service" was wretched, and after literally 10 hours on the phone over 3 days trying to get it to work, I returned it.  I've had several friends also try to use it, and none of them could get it to work well with their computer.

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Old 10-21-2011, 05:29 PM
 
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Their customer service is crazy-making, I will totally agree with that.

 

Once we got it working though (we had to tell our firewall to make an exception for it, is all, it just took a long time to get customer service to figure that out) it's been fine. Sometimes there's an echo. It's slow to answer a call (I pick up the phone and wait three or four seconds to say hello). Sometimes it still does odd things, like hanging up, or a call won't go through the first time.  

 

But it is soooo cheap. I just renewed it for the second time, so we are on our third year of using it.

 

And they've added instructions to their websites on how to allow the exception on various firewalls, so you don't have to even talk to their customer service people anymore for that.

 

You can always say you'll try it for a month, and you'd still break even. Every month after that, you are saving money!

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Old 10-21-2011, 11:40 PM
 
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I had it for a teenager who was out of state,  and jobhunting and apartment hunting,   then I got one too.   The advantages are it is totally portable,  wherever you go just plug it into a computer and you have a phone,    even if travelling up and down the interstate  and staying in motels.  

The sound is not as good and the computer has to have an internet connection so electricity is required.  

I really liked the fact that you can retrieve messages from the internet from any computer.

 

I have cancelled just my long distance service,  and kept incoming landlines and local calls and used the magic jack to call out of town relatives.   

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Old 10-24-2011, 02:10 PM
 
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I had it for a while when I was living with my mom two years ago.  We had a weird issue where the other person's voice would...how can I put this...stutter?  It would sound like I was trying to remix their side of the phone call lol.  It would put the timing of my replying to their comments being delayed and made for a really annoying phone call >_<.  Eventually I had to get rid of it, it was just not working for me.


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Old 10-24-2011, 02:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for everyone's opinions! I think we will hold off on the MagicJack for now. I'd love to save the money, but we really need to have a reliable phone available. I want my kids to be able to dial 911 in an emergency, and cell phones are still a little tricky for them. 

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Old 10-25-2011, 09:51 AM
 
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We tried Magic Jack, too. It didn't work for us, either. The only computer it would work on was my laptop, which tethered me to our phone system (base station had to be connected to the MJ in order for all the phones in the house to work). Drove me crazy because I have a laptop for a reason! Also, call quality drove OTHERS crazy. It worked fine on our end, but our elderly relatives and some local friends could really tell the quality difference and in the case of the elderly relatives they simply could not carry on a conversation any longer than 3 minutes.

 

We purchased an Ooma from Costco and LOVE it!!!! It was under $200 out the door and we could have returned it easily, if it didn't work out. It has worked out wonderfully for two or three years coming up in early December. (We were just discussing it and cannot recall which year we got it. It seems like we've always had it.) Our cell phones don't always work in our house and we want the family house phone. I had already dropped all "extras" on the landline phone service and had gotten the bill down to the bare bones, which was costing us just under $23/month. Now we have a $0 phone bill for our home phone...no bill at all. The Ooma paid for itself in about 8 months of no longer having a phone bill and we enjoy it and use it ever since for free.

 

It does not need a computer to work, but it does require an internet connection. When the power goes out, the Ooma goes out (as do all of our computer peripherals). We had a major blackout back in September and the whole county was without power for about 12 hours (starting in the afternoon). The cell phones had power (they were already charged), but still did not work due to the congested lines. Folks with regular landline phones could not get calls to go through, either, due to congested lines. This was an extreme situation, but that's how it went down.

 

Under regular conditions, if you keep a regular telephone (non-cordless) you can plug it into the regular wall jack and make an emergency call. At least here in our service area and other areas where my friends have also tried it.

 

For awhile, one could not make 9-1-1 calls from any of these "alternative" phones. Magic Jack could not when we had it. The Ooma did then and still does now. You must follow the online instructions for set-up when you get it, though. There are ways to use the Ooma without setting it up properly, too, and it would NOT allow 9-1-1 calls when done that way.

 

The other challenge with any "alternative" phones (even cell phones) is the reverse 911 system only has landline phone number automatically included in our county. It was easy to add our mobile and Ooma numbers to the system online.


"Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless." - Mother Teresa

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Old 10-25-2011, 10:44 AM
 
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We have an Ooma as well.  We bought the system and now we pay $120 a year (so $10 buck a month).  It says we will still be charged monthly taxes (which would be about $4 a month) but we haven't seen a charge for it yet.  We couldn't find a land line anywhere near that cheap.  We like it.  And, yes, even without a land line you should be able to plug a phone into a phone jack and still dial out for 911.

 

I understand your concerns about power outages.  Have you tried calling your phone company to negotiate for a cheaper local-calling only rate (tell them you're interested in going land line free if they can't bring their price down)???  Might be worth a try to negotiate with them.

 

 

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Old 10-25-2011, 12:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheshire View Post

We have an Ooma as well.  We bought the system and now we pay $120 a year (so $10 buck a month).  It says we will still be charged monthly taxes (which would be about $4 a month) but we haven't seen a charge for it yet.  We couldn't find a land line anywhere near that cheap.  We like it.  And, yes, even without a land line you should be able to plug a phone into a phone jack and still dial out for 911.

 

I understand your concerns about power outages.  Have you tried calling your phone company to negotiate for a cheaper local-calling only rate (tell them you're interested in going land line free if they can't bring their price down)???  Might be worth a try to negotiate with them.

 

 


I'll check out the Ooma and whether we can dial 911 without phone service. 

 

Our phone company is trying to get everyone to convert to their Internet/TV/phone system, so it is IMPOSSIBLE to speak to them at all about a land line. They want the land lines all replaced with their new technology. Which we don't want.

 

I suppose I could also get a phone through my Internet provider, but then it wouldn't work when the power is out. But it will save me money!

 

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Old 10-25-2011, 12:44 PM
 
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It didn't work for me

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Old 10-26-2011, 03:08 PM
 
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It works reasonably well enough for us.


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Old 11-02-2011, 01:35 PM
 
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We've had Magic Jack for 10 months and it's worked well for us.  I really don't have any complaints.


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Old 11-02-2011, 01:47 PM
 
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we had one, we had a regular land line, but used the magic jack for long distance; it was a gift from our FIL and dh doesn't have a cell phone (for which long distance is free). 

 

it didn't interfere with regular usage of the land line, so i'm confused about what some people are talking about.  we just plugged in the computer and used the regular phone with it to make long distance calls. 

 

the weirdness for us was that dh's paranoid grannie would sometimes not answer her phone when we called her that way b/c the caller id on the receiving phone says something strange - i am not sure what.

 

we liked it until dd broke the thing.  it is like a thumb drive, it stuck out of the computer and was apparently very delicate :*(


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Old 11-03-2011, 04:17 AM
 
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We have Magic Jack.

 

I have mixed feelings.

 

We're not on the phone a lot as it is.  Primary means of communication has shifted to mostly internet based.  And for making appointments, and stuff like that, it's been OK.  The one thing I've found is that if *anything* else is running on the computer when I make the call (web browser, updates, etc), that will interfere with the call quality.  So before using the phone, I have to go into task manager and close out any extra stuff like that.

 

We do keep a pre-paid cell-phone, since the Magic Jack phone is off during the night or when we're away.

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