The company I work for happens to be in Moscow so I call them regularly. Why do they suddenly want to charge me for these calls? It doesn't make any difference whether I call the U.S.A., Italy or Russia. They are all free and perhaps I call Moscow three times a day but perhaps twice a week.
I told him to first look at the website http://backsla.sh/betamax. There you can always see the latest prices and you will realize that with most Betamax companies you can call Russia's landline phones for free, within a Fair Use Policy (FUP) of 300 minutes per week. This FUP seems very fair to me. I never exceed it, so Betamax' normally works like a flatrate for me.
In fact I am very surprised about their cheap prices for Russia, because I know that connections outside of St. Petersburg and Moscow are very expensive to buy in wholesale markets. Therefore e. g. Rebtel users have to pay $0.019 Cents to Moscow and St. Petersburg landlines - but $0.079 Cents to other Russian cities. So Betamax' $0.00 Cent is a great bargain. For the German company it makes a big price difference whether they terminate calls in the U.S.A., Italy or in Russia. Although it might be difficult to explain to the average user like Robert.
Now I see that calls, which were originally free, are now being charged under the 'fair use policy'. This I don't understand.
There can be two reasons for that:
1.) Robert calls for more then 300 minutes per week.
2.) He shares his IP number with other users, so that Betamax thinks that it's only one user. That's what happened at Voxalot, a virtual internet PBX: All Voxalot users had the same IP number to Betamax. Therefore they jointly exceeded the FUP very fast. Voxalot managed to strike an agreement with Betamax to pass the original IP number, so that every user now has his own FUP.
So, if Betamax charges for actual free calls, there might be a technical problem. Otherwise it seems a great bargain to me to get 1.200 minutes per month from Betamax for just €2.50. (Taking into account that that you have to pay €10 every four months to get the €0.00 to Russian landlines.) People should also consider what user satphoneguy wrote in Voxalot's forum:
having lived in many parts of the world I think that a lot of what is happening is relate to cultural differences and expectation of customer service. from what i have read the vast majority of complaints are coming from the USA. here in the USA it is somewhat expected that if you are unhappy with a service or feel deceived by misleading marketing that you should be eligible for refund on what you spent. most American companies do indeed give 100% refunds to their customers no questions asked when they complain. i do know from having lived overseas that is not the business etiquette everyplace. there are a number of reasons why many people may feel deceived since the betamax 'fair use policies' are not very clear. in particular concerning additional charges for use of SIP devices on some services. it is all exasperated in that americans also feel that every company should have a customer service line where they can call with questions(or complaints) or at very least email support with a quick turnaround to response(same day)
i do have to say though that it seems many people who complain about numerous betamax companies continue to try the others. this is very similar to what i dealt with working for a very large retail company - some of the biggest complainers and returners of products for refunds were also some of the biggest shoppers; i would see them on nearly a daily basis.
i personally have never had a billing issue with betamax. although in recent months my only funded account is nonoh; since the rates are so much less for the mobile destinations that i call than with any of the SIP options and i have unlimited calls to NA and most landlines through another provider.
Many people in Europe accept a lousy service, as long as it's cheap. But others expect a great service although they pay nearly nothing. That's just not possible to deliver for a company. Good service always has its price, especially in a country with sky-high wages like Germany. People who want more than just plain phone minutes should subscribe to companies like PhoneGnome, Packet8 or Sipgate which have real hotlines by phone and email for their clients. That's what I also told Robert, who finally admitted:
Please always have a look at the small print at the end of every Betamax web page!
* Max 300 minutes per week of free calls, measured over the last 7 days and per unique IP address. Unused free minutes cannot be taken to the following week(s). If limit is exceeded the normal rates apply. With your FREE DAYS you can call for free to all the destinations listed as free! When you have no FREE DAYS left the normal rates apply. You can get extra Freedays by buying credit
They say it very clear that free calls are limited to 300 minutes per week and IP address. That's not too difficult to understand, isn't it? What still remains a mistery to me, is the sentence „When you have no FREE DAYS left the normal rates apply“.
What are these normal rates after 300 minutes? I couldn't find them either.