Thursday, July 26, 2007

My Correspondance With Lisa Bickford

Over the past few days, I've had the distinct (dis)pleasure of communicating user frustrations to Lisa Bickford, a C-level exec at TeleBlend. What follows is the dialog.

My first email to her:

Lisa-
I am in possession of an Innomedia and Linksys "Gizmo" device from Sunrocket which I wish to take to another provider. However, it seems as though the administrative access password was changed in the past week, since Sunrocket announced it's closure, either by Teleblend or by Sunrocket. As Sunrocket no longer exists as a viable corporate entity, I am formally requesting the administrative passwords to the Linksys and Innomedia devices. (Teleblend must have them, in order to reprovision them for updated SIP credentials, etc)

Thank you,
DM
Her reply:
We have not changed anything on customer devices, nor do we have the “administrative passwords” to any devices. All devices are pointing to standard registration servers which point devices by MAC address to our network. If that information was not previously provided to you by SunRocket then I’m afraid the information is lost to us since SunRocket is out of business.

You may find that either Linksys or Innomedia may be able to tell you how to do a “factory reset” of the device to restore it to whatever the factory default configuration is, but we will not support devices that have been restored to default settings.

Thank you for your inquiry.

Lisa

Lisa Bickford
Teleblend
email: lbickford@teleblend.com
voice: 209.320.4309
fax: 209.320.4392
My next email to her:
Lisa-
I appreciate your reponse, however, something isn't settling right with me about this...

Many, many users on the DSLReports forums have reported that, seemingly overnight, the "Gizmo" has been reconfigured, and the old, known, administrative passwords are no longer in effect.

If Teleblend has, as stated on your website, acquired the old Sunrocket network, and presumably the provisioning hardware, as implied by this entry on your FAQ:
Do I have to change my hardware to use your service?
You don’t have to change a thing, just go to our website www.myteleblend.net , sign up your telephone number and your service will continue as normal

You should have the ability to determine and disseminate the passwords to the users who wish to move to another provider. You would not be able to reprovision any Gizmos without this information.

I own my Gizmo, it is not, nor was it ever, Sunrocket property. As an end user, I should have the right and ability to take a piece of equipment I paid for and use it with another VoIP company.

If Teleblend is knowingly withholding this information, it is extremely bad PR and very anti-competitive, neither of which are good for a fledgling VoIP provider in today's unstable times (in the month of July, 2 providers have shuttered).

Please converse with your technical team and have them locate this information. It would make 200,000+ people very happy.

Thank you,
DM
Her response:
As I told you previously, we do not have and never had have passwords for the Linksys or Innomedia devices. They come pre-configured from LinkSys and Innomedia and all we do is accept the MAC code from the device into our system. We are not willingingly withholding anything. As I stated before, we DO NOT have passwords for these devices and we HAVE NOT changed passwords on any devices.

Thank you.

Lisa Bickford
My reply
Lisa,
Thanks again for your reply. Please clarify one point for me (and the thousands of users on DSLReports.com):

If you don't have the administrative passwords to the devices, how are the administrative passwords being changed? These devices don't "phone home" to Linksys or Innomedia (who have already stated that Sunrocket set the passwords). They are configured to only talk to Sunrocket servers, which are now your servers. The administrative password cannot be changed without first logging in via the administrative password.

If there is some other way in which this change can be made (ie, a telnet backdoor, blank password, etc), please let us know.

Again, there are many users out there with this question. An example, from http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r18736918-Answering-your-questions-on-TeleBlend :

"If they really want to be helpful, they should tell their PR person to stop telling us that Teleblend doesn't know the passwords to our devices. They were changed on Friday, well after Teleblend was claiming they had nothing to do with SR... and yet, miraculously, TB still has access to our ATA's.

All they are doing is making me really, really, mad, since they are basically stealing all I have left after being cheated by SR. And I will look for any way to get back the funds I will have to spend to get a new ATA. Since I have signed no agreement with them, I'm not bound by any arbitration provisions or jurisdiction mandates. They stole my ATA in Virginia, so I hope they are prepared to go to Small Claims Court in VA.

The fact that they have to steal our ATA's demonstrates that they don't even believe their service is the best option. TB should minimize the bad feelings and do the right thing by giving us our passwords back. It would also show their openness and honesty, which might get them some loyalty from SR customers who want the easiest transition. (I can guarantee that with how mad I am now at TB I would NEVER go with them.)"

(This was not posted by me, but by another user, in response to a solication from either a Teleblend employee or contractor).

I can understand your frustration with this, but you need to understand ours (the users). We wake up one morning with NO service, and then *poof* a new company appears with the same tech support phone number as Sunrocket (1-877-252-4549, which shows up in the Google Cache of the page from 19 July, but seems to have been changed to a non-functional 1-877-252-4548 now), the same "Got Vonage" badge on the front page, a website who's SSL cert was repeatedly rejected by browsers and seems to be catering solely to Sunrocket refugees, and PR written by someone living back in 1958 ("Teleblend is a privately held, privately funded, profitable Voice-Over-IP phone service provider offering service in all 48 states." from https://www.myteleblend.net/documents/Teleblend%20PR%20071907.pdf - I know what was intended, but this doesn't help your credibility).

Please step out of your shoes as CxO of a VoIP provider, and into any one of the 200,000+ pairs of shoes from those who were left high and dry when Sunrocket unceremoniously shut down. For all the reasons, and more, listed in the above paragraph, TeleBlend is fighting an uphill battle when it comes to trust and credibility in the VoIP world right now.

I invite you to join the discussions at DSLReports to help clear the air; it would be welcomed by everyone who is a participant there.

She didn't reply to that one, so I fired another one her way:
Lisa-

Lots of questions are surrounding the legality and legitimacy of your operation. Primary among user concerns at DSLReports is how and why you were able to obtain our billing and shipping information without our express consent. I had no prior relationship with your company, and never authorized Sunrocket, Sherwood Partners, nor TeleBlend to give your company access to my personal information. In the very least, this is a serious privacy breach, at the most, potential wire fraud.

Please address these issues, as well as the issues I brought up in my email from yesterday timestamped at 1:56PM Eastern Time.

With no response to that one, I lobbed this one her way:
Ms Bickford-

You stunned silence doesn't sit will with me, nor the thousands of others who are waiting for these answers.

Yesterday afternoon, the CEO made an attempt, to get us answers in a forum discussion on DSLReports. It was a failure, in every sense of the word. If you doubt me, feel free to browse this thread:
http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r18745467-Feedback-on-the-answers-by-Teleblend-CEO-Bill-Fogg

The fact that you're just spouting back the company line on issues like this puts more dings in the credibility of TB. All that's been offered to the stranded Sunrocket users are half-truths and (not so) artfully dodged Q&A sessions.

Do you and your company a favor and be truthful and honest with us. We haven't done anything wrong. We were the ones left stranded when Sunrocket closed, not you. If you really want to do your "customers" a favor, give us straightforward, honest, technical answers to the questions we have posed.

Oh, and once my number port away from Sunrocket is complete, please remove my billing information from your system, which I believe more than ever, is illegal for you to be in possession of without my express written consent.

Thank you,
DM

Finally, a reply:
I am neither stunned nor silent, Mr. Molavi. Simply too busy doing real work to engage in either defending myself or justifying our business model or our business practices. Bill Fogg and I agree that the company must have a common message in order to avoid confusing the
public or conveying inaccurate information. So many things are still in flux due to the abrupt nature of the SunRocket closure. If we could answer your questions completely, we would,but the liquidation assignee for SunRocket is controlling much of the process, not us. We are doing our best in a difficult situation to provide telephone service for displaced customers, not running a scam or deliberately doing anything to further injure the displaced SunRocket customers.

I hope your port to another provider goes well. I look forward to seeing your report of the process on DSLReports. You will see more information from us and the other providers as it unfolds. As soon as we have definite answers to some of these questions rest assured that we
will provide them. I hope you have as much luck talking to the CEO and SVPs of the company you've chosen to transfer your phone service to.

My last email to her:
You've failed miserably. The public is confused.

Either you or Mr. Fogg need to engage in a real dialogue with the customers to set the record straight, once and for all. Skipping out after answering a few questions won't cut it, it only fuels the fires, and the assumptions that TeleBlend is hiding information from the customers.

I look forward to doing no further business with your company, unless, of course, I find out that you are in possession of my billing information.


My verdict: STAY AWAY FROM TELEBLEND.

11 comments:

Andrew said...

I am sorta in the same boat with you. Use them for a month while you find who you want at peace and at ease, then go elsewhere. They will invest in this dog and then be left holding the baggie of dog doo.

Opportunity said...

dmolavi...

The keys to finding Factory Reset PW's are in the hands of the factories that make the 2102's - Sipura and Linksys... they can overide Teleblecchhh, Sunyuck and any other VOIPy company that wants to fool around remotely with our boxes.

Joshua said...

Funny, I was on the phone with a tech the other day and she admitted that the company changed the passwords on the devices. They're just a bunch of monkeys.

If the techs admit that TB has changed them how can this bitch not know.

nospams said...

TB is shady and reports of their service are pretty bad, changing the passwords was also a low blow. But then again, you read it here first to turn off provisioning (auto-config) before they changed the passwords. There's also at least one password crack tool posted on this site. I switched to ViaTalk, but their service is a bit spotty too - sometimes getting the fast busy signal, sometimes voicemail doesn't come up at all when I call my own phone, sometimes voicemail doesn't work when I try to dial into it. Seems pretty obvious that a lot of these VOIP companies cannot handle a sudden surge in new users but I'm hopefull that they can ramp up capacity quickly (within a month?).

I do think in at somepoint TeleBlend will be sued by Sunrocket's creditors unless they are already working with them.

Darin said...

I wonder if Teleblend will brick the gizmos of users who did not make the switch to them by August 5th and did not also turn off provisioning?

I wouldn't doubt it.

The name Lisa is sitting too well with me.

Rich said...

Funny, I went to TB website and put in both my sunrocket numbers, and neither one yielded my personal info. Yes I was not able to get into my Gizmo with current admin paswords, but a quick maneuver with a paper clip whilst disconnected from the net yielded great results to setup for ViaTalk.

Dharmesh said...

Yup. I never got an ansewer for the email I sent for the password getting changed. All I got back was the generic FAQs. I opened a support ticket on 7/25. Nobody has even touched it yet. I don't think TeleBelnd cares about the customers.

doug said...

Try
username: User
password: Welcome

It worked for me today, August 6, 2007.

Furthermore, I am an attorney living in Indianapolis, was a burned sunrocket customer, had my business phone number, held hostage/limbo for 10 days until could transfer it to teleblend, NOW trying to get it back to AT&T. I am a very smart lawyer. I am not a money grubbing lawyer. I have a solo practice, but work with large firms occassionally. If you have information that Teleblend is doing anything illegal, unethical, or otherwise please let me know.

sparky said...

I didn't understand the unlocking concept for my gizmo. (yes I'm a former screwed sunrocket customer) I successfully unlocked it about two weeks ago. I disconnected and decided I'd do it later at my convenience when I had more time. Guess what? I can't unlock it anymore because someone (maybe Teleblend) has changed my password so I can't get into the gismo anymore!!! To make matters worse - I refferred two friends to sunrocket ( I got screwed on the referral points also) They had the passwords changed also. I don't want anything to do with any company referred or recommended by Sunrocket. I believe Teleblend is Sunrocket, waiting to financially screw over their customers once again after they try to force them to Teleblend by changing the gizmo password. STAY AWAY FROM TELEBLEND.

David McDougal said...

I am a former tech at sunrocket, and yes they can change the passwords, and teleblend bought the right to signup customers... those customers have devices which are the property of Sunrocket or the liquidated service provider... If you can show me anywhere that you paid for the device then it would be your device. you might have paid a activation fee, or a startup fee but NEVER did they charge for hardware purchase costs. so that would mean that you do NOT own the device, and if they choose to reset the password they can... finally, i find it amazing that such a letter would think to garner support from the new firm. i lost my job, and service but I still would send such fodder without tons of support. point A... linksys devices DO dial home and get a config etc. this is a Linksys thing not a Sunrocket thing. all other devices have firmware placed at the base level locking the device to the carrier... heck look at all the people that tried to signup for vonage with the linksys thing and are stuck with device that are only good as wireless routers (yes I know you can hack anything and get around it, but average consumer here)... so in closing, the fact that they changed them GOOD! if you wanna steal something (which that is all this site is for) then you must work at it. If you feel you were wronged that they went out of business and you lost your service, i will send you a hanky. welcome to the world of technology... teleblend was at least trying to offer a quick and easy way to establish services again..

Crash said...

OK
The Financial info I beg to differ with you on. I find that at the very least Very un-ethical. The fact that SR owned the equipment and Teleblend bought the rights or what have you. OK Ill give you that. However blatantly LIEING about changing passwords instead of explaining....why yes we did we purchased the equipment/rights from sr .........I find to be bad business practice and un-ethical. Being a retired pirate and dam proud of it......Dont worry Ill be un-locking my Gizmo just fine however being BS'ed / taken advantage of..and piss poor PR and customer relations is what created piracy in my opinion and what will continue its growth.