Product Review: Avoid netTALK Duo Devices

Product Review: Avoid netTALK Duo Devices
Image: Pixabay

The North Carolina Consumers Council (NCCC) purchased nine netTALK Duo devices for use in our offices and we were sorely disappointed. As an organization that has been protecting consumer interests since 1968, we would not recommend this product or service to anyone, anywhere.

While the premise behind the netTALK Duo device is wonderful, the quality and support leaves much to be desired. Set up was relatively easy, which involved going to the company's website, logging in with a username and password from the box, and entering our information. We ran into a number of problems with registration in which we submitted a form and were redirected back to the login page instead of going to the next part of the form. Other than that, registration per device was about 5 to 7 minutes.

We did use the online chat, which surprisingly is only available for a five hour window in the middle of the day, to ask a question regarding setting up multiple devices at once. (What kind of a company offers only limited customer service? Is this company a home based business?) The solution we were seeking was not available. However, before we were allowed to disconnect our chat, we had to locate MAC addresses from the netTALK Duo device boxes so that the customer service representative could enter information about the chat into our account. That in itself seemed a little unusual since we were just asking a general question. We hadn't even set up the accounts yet.

Once the first netTALK Duo device was plugged in, registered and ready to go, everything seemed promising. Very quickly, however, things started going downhill. We were frequently left with no dial tone, static on the line, a persistent humming sound, and frequent disconnects. We followed the technical support website information, which sadly is not prominently displayed or easy to find. We couldn't find it anywhere on the company's website, instead having to search Google for their technical support information.

We reset all the devices according to the limited technical support article and everything seemed normal. However, we ran into a new problem when forwarding our phone number to these devices for simultaneous ringing. We have seen other complaints regarding call forwarding, especially regarding Google Voice, but this problem is a netTALK problem. When forwarding an outside number to these devices, the very first device that rang seized the line. The end result was that only one device rang.

We attempted to test with Google Voice, as well, and came to the same problem. We set up a Google Voice number and tested it with call forwarding enabled to go to three cell phones and three of our old landline numbers. It worked flawlessly. When adding one of these devices to the forwarding list, only this one device would ring. Our conclusion is that if one of these devices is set up as a forwarding number, the device will connect and seize the line even though the phone is still ringing.

We attempted to reach out to customer service by opening a support ticket. Our support ticket was never opened or assigned to anyone at the company. To date, we have received no response from the company regarding our questions and our support request.

Thanks to Amazon's wonderful return policy and outstanding customer service, we were thankfully able to return all the netTALK Duo devices for a refund.

Our reasons for returning the netTALK devices are as follows:

  • We received no response from technical support regarding issues.
  • There is a lot of static on the line.
  • There is a persistent humming in the background.
  • Volume fades in and out during the call.
  • There is frequently no dial tone despite the indicator on the device being solid green, leaving us to reboot the devices at least three times per day.
  • Devices will frequently not ring or will ring once and immediately disconnect.
  • There is a delay of between five and ten seconds from the time a caller hears ringing on his or her end and the time that the device starts ringing our phones. By the time our phones start ringing, the caller has already hung up thinking we are not here.

We also find it somewhat deceiving that the company lists certain network routers that are incompatible with this device in a sub page of the website that is not directly accessible from the homepage. If the device is only compatible with certain other devices, that information should be prominent on the website, advertisement, and packing materials. There was no such reference ANYWHERE except on this one page buried deep on the netTALK website.

On a side note: we do not have an incompatible router, yet still cannot get this product to work properly. We are also on a super-fast T3 connection with a super-fast internal network.

The box reads "state-of-the-art innovation," which we see as a true joke. As stated earlier, the idea behind the netTALK Duo product is wonderful. But the implementation is truly awful. The box also says "fire your phone company." You can fire your phone company if you would like. However, we do not recommend hiring netTALK as an alternative.