IP phones are different from old POTS phones, something that many don't realize. I use IP phones for work (expensive per month) and Magic Jack for home (inexpensive). BOTH require some extra care and feeding compared to regular POTS phones.
I have now had Magic Jack for several years, and have had a great experience.
GREAT internet connection that is STABLE. GREAT router (I connect direct to my router).
If you don't have BOTH of those your Magic Jack will NOT work well. Magic Jack in particular seems to be more sensitive to Router issues than some other IP phones (though it has done much much better than an 8x8 set up that we were using for a business lines at my house so I could be on the office phone system when at home via the same modem and router). If you have a cheap or older router ... don't count on Magic Jack to work well, or at all.
Issues that some have that I don't:
I have two Magic Jack plus's ... those seem to have the least amount of problems compared to their newer units per the reports. I have NOT updated the software in them!! It is stable, automatically reboots if power or internet connection is lost, gives good voice and fax quality, WHY MESS WITH SUCCESS?!
Problems others have that I have NOT:
HEAT or an UNSTABLE POWER source is a killer of any microprocessor, which is what the Magic Jack unit is, a mini computer. I keep my unit out where it gets plenty of air movement, and I keep the transformer as far away from the unit as I can. Long phone calls can cause the unit to heat up thus it needs LOTS of cooling space around it.
The transformer unit is underpowered (or sometimes bad). Just get a 2 amp or larger GOOD QUALITY USB power transformer from a reputable supplier and connect to that the Magic Jack unit vs the 1 amp supplied unit.
50 call per day limit!! (many people don't know this) Run over that and you violate your terms of service and will be terminated!
Some exchanges (few but they exist), many 800 numbers, and almost all Call In Conference Call Center numbers are in exchanges where the place where the call terminates is allowed to CHARGE the originating phone company a per minute charge for the call! This is an FCC tariff issue that Magic Jack can't control, dates back to the 1930's, and has never been changed by the FCC (that is why those places are where MOST Conference Call set ups are physically connected - reduced or no cost for the conference call company since the local phone company is making money on the transfer fees for EVERY conference call attendee that calls in, or 800 customer that calls in). Magic Jack doesn't charge enough for their regular service to pay out those fees ... which is why I imagine they have to pass those costs onto the customer.
(you need to fund your drawing account with Magic Jack to call into those Conference Calls that are terminating in those exchanges - which is most Conference Calls unfortunately - so Magic Jack can turn around and PAY OUT what the other phone company charges them) (911 fees work the same - it is an additional cost to Magic Jack that varies GREATLY per location. Locally we have no 911 fees so Magic Jack doesn't charge me for 911 service).
Do NOT transfer your old number to Magic Jack until you have it up and running, and it is stable!!
I set up my last Magic Jack line just so I could port over my 25 year ATT number, but I let it be up and running for about 3 weeks with no problems before I even thought about ordering up the Port of the old number. The port then went very smoothly. HASTE creates problems here since you may find that your Magic Jack doesn't work right (usually a internet provider issue or router/modem issue - some of which you will never be able to control or fix), so you want to test out your new Magic Jack connection for at least three weeks imo BEFORE you get caught up in Porting and then Re-Porting.
I think Magic Jack is a fabulous device ... for the right situation (great STABLE internet connection, good router, STABLE non fluctuating electrical supply. It is NOT going to work everywhere for everybody. It's 50/day call limitations may also restrict it's usage for some.
OH ... and for me my FAX works perfectly with Magic Jack, both in and out. Also love the voice mail to e-mail option, which I do in addition to having turned on the message light option so my hard wired phones flash at me where there is a message (just like my old ATT service did).
Some services provide more options, including better customer service, but you pay for that. A LOT MORE for that.
Our current office IP system costs me $40/line/mo (we have a number of lines) and it does NOT include FAX ability without expense add ons. Great customer service, but for a business we need instantaneous response if something goes down, so we are willing to pay the freight $$ to get it. My Magic Jack service on the other hand costs me $50/YEAR for the TWO lines I have on Magic Jack! (I prepaid for an extra 5 years for $100 + pay $10/yr for the one ported number so $30/yr for one line and $20/yr for the other line).
Not for everyone ... GREAT for me ... but most of the bad reviews would disappear if people followed the above advice and understood the above issues.
Reason of review: Fair pricing.
I liked: Service and pricing.
I didn't like: Customer service minimal at best.