Well, this post is quite unrelated to plastic but some people out there will find it a lot more interesting. PlasticWorks has just opened a new Abbotsford location and as part of our goal to keep costs down we decided to try VOIP phones. After a bit of research, I decided to go with digitalvoice.ca (not one of their franchise websites – which look almost the same but I never got a response from the first one).
The installation would have been quite straight forward, they just send you an ADSL router (if you need one) and the VOIP router, you plug in the phone(s) and away you go. We have a 2 line system set up – with 1 line for the fax. We had a bit of a problem because we also got them to do the ADSL service. Now they really just resell it for Telus but you end up having to go through them and not Telus directly. This was a bit of a pain as in a business location the phone system can be a bit complicated. Our unit had an old PBX phone system that had been disconnected and 1-2 jacks reconnected for the last tenant. My problem was that as I was only getting ADSL and not a phone line (or on a ‘dark line’ they called it) I had no idea which phone jack had the ADSL hooked up to it because there was no dial tone. In the end I got the ‘pseudo number’ from the tech guys at digitalvoice.ca and then I snagged a telus technician that was working in the same complex and he figured it out in a few minutes. I only write this as I was looking for this sort of blog entry when I was troubleshooting.
Once that was sorted out, I hooked up the phones and then the fun started. First of all, the service is not bad. Occasionally I will have a problem dialing and I might have the occasionaly problem receiving a call (that is harder to tell) and I definitely do get an echo on my side every now and again but overall it’s OK. At our Surrey location we switched to Roger’s which uses land line technology and it also has issues compared to Telus – which really does remain the gold standard. So if the relative cost of the phones is not an issue – I’d stick with Telus.
Other problems I have had seem to be a mix of technical problems and the lovely world of phone deregulation. The first major issue was that my main line would not go to voicemail – it just rang and rang (but not at the store – it stopped after about 5 rings there). Somehow, the number itself or the router that hosted it or something, had an issue that would not go to voicemail. So now I have the orginal number that is really forwarded permanently to a new number where the voicemail does work. Its a bit of a kludge and I think I should have just switched at the beginning but I had already given the number to city hall for a business license so that is the solution digitalvoice.ca came up with and it does work. The one downside is that my voicemail waiting indicator doesn’t work – so I have to check it manually but I should be able to manage that.
The second issue is another fun one. When I got the phones working I tested them a bit (thats how I found out about the voicemail) and checked the numbers etc. Well, I must have just checked the second line, which is the ‘fax’ line, by calling out and asking the Surrey location to check the number on call display. And that works fine. It also calls out fine. However when you call that number you actually get an Asian woman answering in a language other than english and not our fax number. It seems that the number provider, not digitalvoice.ca, ported the number away from them without authorization so its seems that the Asian women has a better grip on that number then I do. I have no idea if any number will reach my second line or if any long distance would be billed to them or what. We’re still working on that one as it just popped up yesterday – a few days after I got my business cards with that fax number on them!
Overall, digitalvoice.ca has been quite responsive to my issues and I would chose them again. They did waive some charges for the first issue – we’ll see about the second issue when we figure it out. Fax usage seems like it is not the best use for VOIP as I did seem to have some issues when faxing out some things today but we’ll see how that goes as time goes on. I may switch to internet faxing and just forward the number there. I am also thinking of adding a 1-800 number so I post more feedback as this experiment goes along or e-mail me any other questions and I’ll respond when I have time.
I hope this helps someone make a decision out there and if you sign up please refer to my number 604-288-4236 or click on digitalvoice.caÂ which has the link already in it.
Thanks for reading!