ViaTalk prides itself on being a 'different kind of company'. There's no question that the robust features and high minute allotment offered in the company's residential and business VoIP plans make ViaTalk a solid option for anyone who speaks on the phone frequently. Unfortunately, ViaTalk's customer service isn't quite as reliable as its VoIP service. Read on to learn more about ViaTalk and to determine if this VoIP provider is right for you.
Founded in: ViaTalk is a subsidiary of HostRocket.com, Inc.,
which was founded in 1999. ViaTalk's VoIP services were launched in
Headquarters: Clifton Park, NY
Unlike other VoIP providers which attempt to entice customers with cheap plans that have severely restricted minute allotments, ViaTalk offers several plans that contain a generous allotment of minutes at reasonable prices. What further sets ViaTalk's pricing structure apart from its competitors is their extremely low overage charge, which, at 1.9 cents/minute is significantly lower than all competitors' overage charges.
|Plan||Price||Estimated Annual Price||Overage Charge|
|Unlimited Lite - 2000 minutes||$10.95||$192||1.9¢|
|Unlimited||$8.47/month for the first 3 months, then $16.95/month||$276||N/A|
|Business 1500 Plan||$34.95||$463.20||1.9¢|
ViaTalk also offers supplemental services that can be added on to both residential and business VoIP plans for an additional monthly fee. These services include:
|Feature||What is this?||Price|
|Virtual number||Create a local phone number with another area code that will ring on your ViaTalk phone||$3.95/month|
|Fax service||An affordable alternative to traditional faxes||$9.95/month|
|Toll free number||Let people call you for free||$4.95/month plus 5 cents per minute|
|Business class support||Avoid waiting on hold for a customer service representative or email response||$1.95/month|
|ViaTalk World||1200 minutes of talk to 60 international countries for a low monthly fee (cell phones may be excluded)||$8.95/month|
Although a full list of ViaTalk's features is listed below, it is worth mentioning some of the standout features that set ViaTalk apart from other VoIP providers. Among our favorite features are the free second cloned line, 60 free minutes of international calling which are received as a one-time courtesy upon account registration, and a wakeup alarm system in which you can schedule your phone to ring at the time of your choosing. ViaTalk also offers free 411 directory assistance, which can save you a good deal of money if you regularly use this service.
- Free second cloned line
- Ability to check voicemail via email, phone or internet
- Voicemail notification via SMS
- Web-based call logs
- Remote voicemail access
- Anonymous call routing
- Do not disturb
- Call routing
- Caller ID
- Caller ID block
- Speed dial
- Call waiting
- Call forwarding
- Network unavailable forward
- Call hunt
- Customized ring
- Call return (*69)
- Softphone access
- Wakeup/alarm service
- E911 support
- Free in-network calling
We tested ViaTalk's service by calling and receiving calls from cell phones, landlines and other VoIP phones. In all of our tests, the call quality proved to be excellent. In one case, our call recipient even referred to the quality as 'perfect'. We did not experience any feedback, echoes or background noises during our calls. Nor did we experience any delayed phone ringing or dropped calls, as we experienced with some other VoIP providers.
In keeping with ViaTalk's superb feature offerings, the company offers excellent customer support. We were especially impressed by ViaTalk's phone support call-back system, which tells you what number you are in the queue and then prompts you to leave a call-back number so that you don't have to wait on hold. In multiple tests, phone support wait times ranged from under 1 minute to about 5 minutes long.
Another especially useful feature was ViaTalk's chat service, which, although not immediately obvious on their website, does pop up on the corner of the screen when representatives are available. ViaTalk also sends you an email transcript of your chat which can be quite useful for future reference.
Nevertheless, we were disturbed by the fact that when we emailed ViaTalk on a Wednesday, we did not receive a response for over four full days, despite the fact that we received the confirmation immediately. Once we did receive the response, the answer was both brief and straightforward, with none of the pleasantries or courtesies that were found with other VoIP companies.
Ease of Use
Registering for ViaTalk on the website was a quick, painless process, which culminated with the receipt of a welcome email. Although the email was not as aesthetically pleasing as those from RingCentral or Nextiva, we were happy to see that it included the account's username and password - information that was noticeably absent in other welcome letters. With this information, we had no trouble logging into our account and accessing the control panel.
ViaTalk's control panel is clearly designed, making it easy to find the place to execute most desired tasks. One specific thing that we couldn't easily verify was how to create a personalized voicemail greeting. Fortunately, a quick chat to the customer service team elucidated that this task is completed by calling into the system, rather than using the control panel. Armed with the phone number to call (*123), we were able to change the voicemail quickly and conveniently.
The one crucial missing element that we noticed was that our ViaTalk hardware did not come with specific information about how to set it up. Nevertheless, the Linksys box provided was rather standard, and it was not difficult to figure out where to put the phone cord, the internet cord and the power cable. On the whole, using ViaTalk was a pleasant experience.
Money Back Guarantee
Like most top VoIP companies, ViaTalk offers a money back guarantee which can offer peace of mind in case they're new to the world of VoIP. ViaTalk customers with a monthly plan can cancel at any time without penalty, though you may be asked to pay for the full month. Users with an annual plan will be pro-rated for the time remaining in their account starting from the beginning of the next billing month. It is important to note that annual plans that are cancelled more than 14 days after registration will be subject to a $49.95 cancellation fee. At no time does ViaTalk's money back guarantee offer a refund on setup fees (when applicable) or shipping and handling fees.
- Insufficient hardware setup information
- Extremely long email response time
- Excellent call quality
- Convenient chat support
- High minute allotment
- Free cloned 2nd line