Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Vonage Headed for a Class Action?

Posted May 10, 2005, 9:50 AM ET by Ted Wallingford
If you believe the hype, Vonage is responsible for more disaster and despair than Enron and the price of oil combined. That is, if you believe the hype.

It seems another person is suing Vonage because they couldn’t get through to a 911 dispatcher during an emergency, and somebody died during the emergency. According to CNET, Cheryl Waller, of Florida, dialed 911 on her Vonage service, but instead of getting an emergency dispatcher, Cheryl heard a recording from the local sheriff’s office saying they were closed. The lawsuit claims that, as Ms. Waller’s daughter died during the incident, Vonage was responsible for mis-routing the E911 call.

Now, to get right to the point. Is Vonage culpible in the medical emergency Cheryl’s daughter experienced? If Vonage’s E911 routing was in error, I would say they are partially at fault. If Cheryl didn’t adhere to her user agreement and follow Vonage’s well-publicized activation plan for 911 service, then it’s hard to say Vonage is at fault.

Either way, this is going to get spun into a stigma piece about how VoIP and 911 “don’t work together”. I smell a class action lawsuit.


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