Using magicJack for Business
Can magicJack be used for a home based business? Can it be used for a small commercial business? The answer to both is yes – but with a few conditions.
The bottom line is that you should have a “Plan B” to fall back on. If your Internet connection or power fails, you're hosed. How will you do business if you have no way to contact your customers or suppliers?
One simple solution to address Internet connectivity or power loss is to make use of mobile phones. It's not the ideal solution, as any incoming calls will go directly to voice mail. Even during an outage, MagicJack's servers will capture your voice mail messages and make them available to you, but using mobile phone rather than magicJack for business isn't an elegant solution. On the other hand, if you lose Internet connectivity, mobile phones may be the only substitute to magicJack for business use.
The loss of power is another matter. If you're using magicJack for business, you must have an operating computer, modem, or router. Each of those items requires power, or your telephones will fail – immediately. You don't need to rush out and get a backup generator and transfer switch though. A simple battery backup supply will do to keep you operational until power is restored. Battery backups come online nearly instantly. You could lose power during a conversation and never know you'd lost power. Size the backup to carry the load for a few hours. That way you can tie up loose ends while on battery power. If the power outage persisted, you could run out and rent a generator to recharge the battery backup.
A second issue you need to be aware of is magicJack's Terms of Service (now called their “Subscriber Agreement for Products and Services“). In it, magicJack warns all customers – residential and business – that “excessive usage” may result in the loss of their magicJack account. That's right – your lifeline to your customers and suppliers could disappear! They do give some guidelines as to what constitutes “excessive usage”. Check it out [emphasis is mine]:
If we become aware of unreasonably excessive use, including but not limited to, a customer whose usage is extraordinarily greater than the average Device or magicApp customer usage, or a customer who calls more than 50 different telephone numbers per day, or a customer who forwards calls from their Device and/or magicApp to a non-Company number for longer than a two week consecutive period, or systematic or intentional misuse, we reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to terminate your use of the Device and/or magicApp and/or Associated Software immediately, and you will not be entitled to get a refund of any licensing fee or any other fee you may have paid to us.
A technician with magicJack's techchat service informed me that there is no consideration given to whether the customer is a business or residential user. If your usage is excessive, you run the risk of losing your account. Some good news did come out of that chat session – apparently incoming calls do not count toward ‘excessive usage'. Still, the phrase “in our sole discretion” hangs heavy when considering magicJack for business…
You'd be better off losing your phone service to a power or Internet outage than losing it to magicJack's “sole discretion”. Consider – your phones would die suddenly and without apparent reason, and once you finally sorted out what had happened, you would have lost your account and your phone number(s) to magicJack. By the time you were able to port your business number(s) out of magicJack, your business would likely have tanked.
Think long and hard before you use magicJack for business, especially for any phone lines that face the public. Give consideration to using one or two phone lines from another provider for incoming calls, and use magicJack for other business calls. You'll reap many of the economic benefits, while dodging much of the risk.
Do you have a question or comment about using magicJack for business? Drop a note in the comment box below and put it out there for all to see! You may find the answer you're looking for – or perhaps you'll hear from another sympathetic user.