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Update by user Jan 04, 2017

Check your rates charged for your calls to mobile numbers!

Shortly before the Christmas, Sonetel unblocked my account and increased my daily limit without any copy of my photo ID or similar nonsense. They also REFUNDED about 90% of all the money they took from me during my short endeavor with them!

– The amount was much more that I would expect - why? ;-). Here is the rest of the story:

After writing my initial report on this forum, I discovered that Sonetel was also cheating on the rates for the calls made to the mobile phone numbers. I did not report on this right away, because it is a serious accusation and I was waiting for their respond.

This cheat was possible because in Europe, party, which initiates the call to a mobile number, pays for this call. The rates for those calls can differ between the mobile operators, even as much as 4x. I discovered that Sonetel was charging me not the rate of the actual receiving operator, but the most expensive one. When I wrote about this to them, they initially tried to play on my ignorance, perhaps counting that I would not be able to determine what is the actual operator of my conversation party.

After I responded to Sonetel with the hard proof of those billing error, they first ignored my emails for about 2 weeks. Finally, after I asked to close my account and suggested (on this forum) that I may file complain with the US authorities (IC3.gov), I got the email with apology and information of the refund of almost everything I paid. Regardless of their “kindles” I switched to a different VoIP provider, which so far, is very reliable and less expensive.

I cannot be happier! One additional interesting detail: The CEO of Sonetel introduces himself in social media as “serial entrepreneur” and “fun of globalization” – I will leave it without comment.

Original review posted by user Dec 01, 2016

I recently bought 2 numbers for overseas. The service was terrible.

About 50% of the time I was getting either one-way connection (the other party was hearing me, but I did not), error 500 or other. I called them and complained frequently. Because I authorized the auto-payment, they have been taking $10 from my bank every 1-3 days. I did not check the charged rates believing in their advertisement.

Finally, yesterday, in the middle of the important conversation, they cut me off and blocked the Internet access to my account - AFTER taking another $10 from my PayPal. They say it is "for my protection" due to a "daily limits", but my account still remains blocked today, and they took my money and prevent me from using it. I suspect that blocking the Internet access to prevent me from checking the status of my account with them. This is a pre-paid account and they had no rights to charge my PP account (for my future calls) when they was cutting their services for me.

Now, to add the insult, they are asking for the photocopy of my passport or photo ID. My answer was "kiss my (_!_)" as I have no intention to take this risk. If they do not refund my money promptly and apologize for the interrupted business conversation, I will be filing the Internet fraud complain with our State Attorney Office, and the Federal IC3 Office (www.ic3.gov).

I am attaching log of my phone calls, showing the "quality" of their service, their unreasonable request for photo ID and fraudulent withdraw of money from my PayPal account. -adam

Reason of review: Pricing issue.

I didn't like: Taking pre-payment money and then blocking the account.

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Sonetel
Ludvika, Dalarnas Lan, Sweden #1249516
Sonetel Verified Representative

Hi Adam,

No. We are not scammers.

We are actually Sweden's 8:th fastest growing tech company according to Deloitte http://www.fast50.se/ and have a Swedish Government agency among our shareholders.

Most customers actually think we are great https://www.trustpilot.com/review/www.sonetel.com

I am really sorry that you got this bad impression of our service.

The daily spending limits are imposed in accordance with the requirements by VISA and Mastercard (so called velocity limitations) to curb the attempt by criminals that use stolen credit cards for making calls to expensive destinations worldwide (at our cost since we stand the risk), where the criminals get kick-back on the calls made (so called international premium rate). We prevent hundreds such attempts per month. The daily spending limit also protects the customer. If you don't want to share a copy of ID, then that is fine.

We inform in our terms and conditions that we may require it. If you do not wish to do so we will naturally refund whatever unused funds you have. We always refund in case the customer requests that. Your case was provided to the Finance team yesterday, so in case you havn't received the refund yet, you should have it on Monday.

Regarding the other issues you brought up: You experienced some issues when connecting a 3rd party VoIP device to our service. We generally advice against connecting 3rd party devices to our service unless you have very strong networking knowledge as there is a plethora of issues that can occur due to Routers, NATs, Firewalls, bad Internet connections etc at the customer premises. http://sonetel.com/en/help/help-topics/sip/what-sip-phones-can-i-connect-to-sonetel/ One-way-audio issues can however usually be solved by us activating a free media relay: http://sonetel.com/en/help/help-topics/sip/one-way-audio-problems-with-sip/ for your account. Regarding charging.

You had chosen to activate auto-refill. The system only refills in accordance with your instructions, i.e. with X dollars when your balance goes below X dollars. We never charge accounts manually.

So refilling only happens in accordance with the instructions you have given us.

Let me know if you have any further questions. Feel free to connect to me at https://www.linkedin.com/in/henrikthome Best Regards, Henrik Thome CEO and Founder

AdamGalant
to Sonetel #1251884

Dear Mr. Thome,

Thank you kindly for your answer, as I do not use LinkedIn account, I must answer you though this form.

Please be aware that I still have problems with your Company billing me the incorrect rate.

My last email about this to Bhoomica, sent last week, remains unanswered. I am hoping for a quick clarification of this matter because, if you would charge me on that day the correct, advertized rate, I would not exceed the daily limit and we would probably avoid all this troubles.

I am very glad to learn that you are a Swedish company. I could not find anything about your company, such as address, management info etc. on your website, therefore I developed a strong suspicion that the true intentions of your "security" department, asking people for photocopies of their passports, or other photo IDs, was to collect such information for some illegitimate reasons.

Therefore, I was slowly getting ready to report everything to IC3.gov.

I am also sure that you, being yourself an entrepreneur, understand that interrupting phone service in the middle of the conversation, could be perceived as lack of respect and insensitivity to your client business, even if he unknowingly exceeded his daily quotas. Blocking access to the account information at this very moment, lives people in the dark, making it impossible to correct any problem. Requesting that client must provide photocopy of his photo IDs to have his accounts reopened, additionally compounds the bad impression.

All of this can create an image of your Company as driven by arrogance and potentially with some hidden agenda. The security requirements of MC or Visa, you was kind to mention, also do not apply to my case as you are billing me through the PayPal.

As to the technical issues, I am using several different VoIP providers with all phones on the same internal network and I do not experience those problems with them. I signed for your services simply to save some money, which as I see now was a mistake.

Please consider this unfortunate experience as something that will prompt you to develop more reasonable "security" procedures and the overall ways of treating your clients. Best Regards, Adam Galant Theia Systems, Inc.

Sonetel
to AdamGalant #1266852
Sonetel Verified Representative

Hi Adam,

Really sorry about the delay in response. I did not get any notification from the site, so I was unaware about your update here.

I have asked the head of customer service for an update.

No emails are unanswered for a week.

We use desk.com for tracking all emails and have very strict monitoring. In most cases when people say they havn't received a reply, the response from us has ended up in their spam box - so please check to see if it isn't there.

In any case, I will provide an update as soon as I know the status from my head of customer service.

Best regards,

Henrik Thome, CE & Founder

AdamGalant
to Sonetel Carpentersville, Illinois, United States #1266986

Dear Mr. Thome,

Sorry, but I am done with Sonetel.

There is no reason to do anything on your side, anymore. I now have a different provider and I am very happy with them. Those folks are 10 years in business and the service is much richer and very reliable. They do not ask me for any photo IDs, nor they impose any daily limits and, most importantly, they do not interrupt my phone calls in the middle when my account needs to be recharged.

I noticed that, on your website, you ingeniously fixed the problem with incorrect billing by putting everything now into one line (which used to be only Orange). Now it reads "Poland Mobile P4, Others, T Mobile, Plus, Orange - $0.168". But, as a teaser you left the line "Poland Mobile - $0.083" ... very funny, of course the "Others" for $0.168 will always trump "Poland Mobile" for $0.083.

Are you expecting that your customers are *** or dyslexic? FYI, with my new provider I pay now $2/mo per phone number, $0 for calls to land lines and only $0.025 for calls to any mobile number. This comes to less than 1/7 what Sonetel was charging me! In my complains, I did not ask that you refund me almost everything thay I paid, as you recently did, I asked only for an honest service.

Frankly, I do not know how you can stay in business. So, no more Sonetel for me, this experience was like a bad dream.

Good-bye Sonetel,

Adam Galant

Sonetel
to AdamGalant #1271509
Sonetel Verified Representative

Hi Adam,

I am glad that you have found a provider that suits your needs.

Thanks for bringing my attention to the price list issue in your comment.

You wrote: "Now it reads "Poland Mobile P4, Others, T Mobile, Plus, Orange - $0.168". But, as a teaser you left the line "Poland Mobile - $0.083" ...

very funny, of course the "Others" for $0.168 will always trump "Poland Mobile" for $0.083. Are you expecting that your customers are *** or dyslexic?"

We were not aware that the word "Others" had entered into the price list as the price list is automatically generated each week based on tens of thousands of price list entries from the carriers we work with.

Apparently one of our suppliers have started having some price list entries labeled "Others" which our Least Cost Routing module interpreted as the name of a new phone company. Our mistake was that we should have found this issue in our quality review - which we didn't.

I see this as very serious and have had a series of internal communications to ensure that we avoid this from happening again. The price list may not have any ambiguity. We are in the process of writing code to resolve this issue permanently, but it will take a few days as the issue is more complicated than it may seem. As an example we have the same issue for Switzerland, and there "Switzerland Mobile" represents the dial codes +4175;+41754;+417540;+417541;+417542;+417543;+4186075;+4186077;+41860777;+41860779;+418607150;+418607427;+418607540;+418607541;+418607542;+418607543;+418607700;+418607701;+418607702;+418607703;+418607704;+418607705 while "Switzerland Mobile Others, Lycamobile, Sunrise, Orange, Swisscom" represents the dial codes +4174;+4176;+4177;+4178;+4179;+41772;+41774;+41775;+41777;+41779;+41790;+41791;+41792;+41793;+41794;+41795;+41796;+41797;+41798;+417698;+417699;+417700;+417701;+417702;+417703;+417704;+417705;+417720;+417721;+417722;+417723;+417724;+417725;+417726;+417727 The longest matching dial code is the one that defines the price of the call.

The different dial codes comes from a wide range of competing high quality carriers - from whom we pick the cheapest - for each destination worldwide. As we want to ensure that customers get the best possible price, while avoiding ambiguity, and while not knowing if a dial code represents the majority of all mobiles in a country - or just a handful - this becomes a bit tricky. Our only intent is to deliver a great service with great prices.

I truly apologize for the issues we have had in our price list. Best regards, Henrik Thomé CEO & Founder

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