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Sunset at Sunrocket? Layoffs rumored

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Update: Andy Abramson has more details on the story. CTO/CXO and several others are gone.  Still no word from the company or their PR department.

Sunrocket, one of the many VoIP service providers that has been suffering as a result of an all-out voice assault by the cable companies is rumored to have hit a major airpocket today. Our sources say that the company laid off about 40 of its employees, including some C-Level executives. While the company isn’t exactly out of business, things are pretty dicey here.

I have emailed their PR department but haven’t heard anything just yet. I am getting on a plane in about 10 minutes and if they get in touch before that, I will update the post. I am going to try again during the stopover in Newark. Please treat this as a rumor for now.

The VoIP service provider claims that it has 200,000 subscribers. The founders – Joyce Dorris and Paul Erickson – left the company earlier this year, and now the only hope for the company is to raise more capital from its existing investors including Nokia. The VoIP service providers including Vonage have been having a bad year as cable companies have started to flex their muscles and offering triple play services. SunRocket has been a hard company to figure out – and despite it’s great marketing spin, we found it hard to buy into their plans.

Our previous SunRocket stories

118 Responses to “Sunset at Sunrocket? Layoffs rumored”

  1. former SR customer

    Be sure and call your credit card company. Even though I am past the time period to dispute the charge for my SunRocket service, I was told to send in a letter and explain the situation. My credit card company said they would take care of me. By all means dispute your SunRocket charges with your credit card company.

  2. Cynthia Zweber

    I was unaware of all of this. My Sunrocket services was bad yesterday (7/16) and is not working hardly at all today (7/17). When I called customer service it had a recording that said they were no longer taking customer service calls or new customers. Am I out my $200 AND my phone service? How do I get my number transfered to another company with all of this going on?

  3. namaste

    I just found out about the SunRocket misery. It is too bad; I was really happy with its service. I had also signed up for 2 years 1 year ago.

    My phone is still working, although somewhat erratically. The red light on the gizmo has been blinking since yesterday — at least (I noticed it yesterday, but had no news about SR). I called SR this afternoon because my wife’s call home did not go through a couple of times, and got an ominous pre-recorded message from SR, saying something like “SR is not accepting any calls.” I then googled SR today to see if there was any news about it. Sure enough, there was news and we all know now what happened.

    In my own case, I called Packet8 which is giving some break to current SR customers. I decided to sign up with Packet8.

    Hope it does not go belly up like SR.

    You may want to give it a call; it does allow you keep/transfer you SR number. It is also introducing, I found out, a new plan in a couple of weeks — 500 mins/month for $15+. Additional minutes will cost 2.9 cents/min.

  4. its me

    I would just like to let you know that they better give ussome type of sevrence pay and of they dont then that is mnessed up cause they gave the sales floor $500 when they laid them off and they bhad not even been working for very long. And they tried to say that we where ok and we where nottttt.

  5. Former Upper Level Tech

    Yea, Sorry to all that were effected. If you are a SunRocket member, please check http://www.sunrocketforum.com for updates on what to do or how to pursue a refund and/or your number that you’ve had forever. The traditional way of doing things is out the window and no one is there to take a call for any reason.

    Again the agent who you’ve spoken to in the last few days were just as in the dark as you guys. They just decided to cut off the IVR prompt and hit the lights on the project so hang tight and check that forum for things yet to come.

  6. Shelley

    I just found out that the SR svc went down. What buyout offers are being offered at this time. I am trying to understand when I paid approx $209 up front why other VOIP svcs cannot buyout the contract without additional fees. Are there any other NO upfront cost companies for VOIP service? what about the current service? Will the phone number/service be left in limbo? Why is it also, that it is now going to cost another $200+ dollars to switch? I am a low income single parent and I don’t understand why this Lead, Incompetent individual could do this to so many honest and hard working individuals. Any suggestions?

  7. Former CSR

    Unfortunately, I learned while working as a CSR at SunRocket, if your service is disconnected, you can not port a number from it. If you still have a dial tone, you can start the process, but if it gets disconnected before being completely ported, you will lose the number. I am very sorry. When members asked me if SunRocket was closing down, I answered as honestly as I could. They were telling us no, business as usual or I would have warned you. And those who are owed money, make a dispute with your credit card company. We were told to say it would take 38 days for refunds, but none were being processed. They Gotcha and they Gotme, too.

  8. Ashwin

    Hi..

    I have enjoyed the SR service for 4 yrs plus..and liked it..and had referred at least 7 of my friends…and they all liked it too..specially for the cheap rates..although the service sometimes sucked..

    I just tried calling my home..it still works..although the voicemail access is denied..so i have it set up for my email forwarding..so i get the messages on my email..

    WELL.. here is the site from VIATALK..giving a BUYOUT offer of 6 months service from SR customers..check it out and good luck to all..

    http://www.viatalk.com/switch_to_viatalk.htm

  9. Tip:

    As of 11:30 AM Pacific time, the Sunrocket web servers are still up.
    I logged into my account and forwarded my Sunrocket calls to my cell phone. Not sure how long it will last, but the forwarding service is working at this point in time…

  10. Martha

    My Sunrocket went dead yesterday afternoon (EST). I was lucky, my contract was up in August; forgiving them the 3 months free extension through November I was “owed.” I always had a problem sending faxes with Sunrocket. The Gizmo gave my computer IP address trouble frequently. I feel for all the businesses out there that have ads with their numbers. This was very unprofessional. I like everyone else would like to know if we can port our numbers out of Sunrocket, or are we just SOL?

  11. Brian S.

    I have been a sunrocket member for over 2 years without any issues. The service was good, and the price was outstanding.

    All they needed to do was give people some kind of warning so we could port the numbers out without worrying about all this stupid crap.

    I understand that businesses have to shut down if they are losing money and stuff like that, but a warning would have been nice. I was laid off from my previous employer with a 5 minute notice on a Friday. Two months later, I was just about to start working for another company and they called me back wanting me to work there again. If they would have given me a warning the first time, I would have at least considered it… however, I didn’t even think twice… It was a shady way to end the situation.

    There’s no reason to shut your doors without warning. A few years ago here in the Cleveland region (at least), there was a restaurant chain called The Ground Round. They shut down the day before Valentine’s day without warning to all the people who had reservations for V-Tine’s day, and to all of their staff. There’s simply no reason for something like that.

    Bah, I’m not happy with how they handled it.

  12. Unfortunate indeed… just prepaid for 2 years and i find it very unlikely that another company would buy SR with the debts they carry and how would a chargeback help if they have no money?

    Still have service today but red light blinks and no VM access.

    I am most concerned about getting my number of 20 plus years ported to another company ASAP. Any suggestions?

    Thanks

  13. I have got SunRocket servive one month ago. I am shocked to see this news.
    Can somebody tell me how can we get back the money refund? Is it something like would be taken care by SunRocket? Do we have any federal laws that take care of customers/dependents of a Bankrupted companies?
    Thanks!

  14. So has any one figured out how we get refunded or is everyone just SOL? Im sorry for those employees who got the boot on this too. This company seems like they were not a good company after all. Since i found out about this this morning I have been doing research and it seems that most VOIP companys are going under. Does anyone know if this is accurate?

  15. Sunrocket is gone and where will the numbers go? Will Vonage try to acquire their subscribers and will Vonage survice – re Verizon ligitgation?

    Is it time to abandon VOiP and just settle on Verizon FIOS / Comcast Digital or move all contact numbers to Wireless Carriers ATT and VerizonWireless. Man I am bummed if not screwed. Just listed Sunrocket number in my Yellow Pages Ad.

    Barry ;(

  16. The REAL question now is [for all those 200,000 subscribers] –
    What is the BEST quickest, smartest, and most painless backout plan AT THIS POINT >whereas numbers are retained and service is restored???
    Are any of the numbers retainable and can they be ported? How long will it take??

    I wanted to mention a helpful free directory service for all Sunrocket users. People are able to find you via your old Sunrocket phone number in the event that you can not transfer it.

    The website is called http://www.lookmeup.org

  17. Former CSR

    We all knew there was something up. I have no problem with “business is business”, but this company lied to it’s customers and employees. They were very shady at the end. I am very sorry to all the people who were double and triple billed that I could not help. They took away the ability of level 1 and 2 agents to do refunds. All those “tickets” were just sitting in a queue with no one working them. And no intention to, either, I suppose, looking back.
    All that talk at the beginning and they were so backstabbing. Bell Industries, also. Michael Barker, if you care so much for all the little guys on the phones, why didn’t you give us other positions? Or at least a warning.

  18. Apparently I keep busy trying to work, miss a few days of internet news, and next thing you know I’m screwed.

    The REAL question now is [for all those 200,000 subscribers] –
    What is the BEST quickest, smartest, and most painless backout plan AT THIS POINT whereas numbers are retained and service is restored???

    Are any of the numbers retainable and can they be ported? How long will it take??
    What is the best plan of action to do so? Can it be done outside of SunRocket? Utility form, third-party?
    What is the fastest way to get efficient service / voip dialtone back into your home / office AND with which company??
    OUT of all the current providers what is the best BACKOUT plan with a company that won’t screw it’s customers AND it’s employees?

    I personally want to thank all those SunRocket employees who in the past have given me excellent customer service and support over the phone. I really am sorry to hear this management screw up. I dont care whether or not revenue wasnt happening, they could have managed a proper shut down or transferred ownership. No excuses. An appropriate email to existing customers BEFOREHAND would have been smart.

    This is like a bad twist of Iraq and Enron.
    Leaving thousands of dependent people of phone service completely dead in the water.
    This will go down in history.

    SOMEONE PLEASE ADVISE BEST BACKOUT PLAN TO HELP SUNROCKET CUSTOMERS.

    How do I get my SunRocket numbers over to a new dial tone in the fastest way possible??

    thanks.

    Simon
    http://www.designdog.net

  19. Well, my SR phone just died, rebooted a few times with no luck. Called service number realized that they no longer have the call service. My one year contract just got renewed in April, looks like I have to shop for a new service plan…

  20. Ernest

    This Explains why my phone would not work all day.
    I’ve been with Sunrocket for exactly one year and no problems. Tried to renew and could not. Glad I got to use a full years service.

    I’ll miss you Sunrocket.