FAQs

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Below is a list of frequently asked questions. If you don't see your question listed here, please contact us

Contents

Questions for Prospective Customers

The questions that follow are for those who are not yet customers.

What does Phone Genius Do?

Phone Genius offers you feature-rich, high quality and affordable Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone service for residential and small businesses at a price you can’t say no to. Customers must subscribe to an internet service, from an internet service provider, before getting service from Phone Genius.


What makes Phone Genius better than the rest of the competition?

The following list identifies some of the things that make Phone Genius excel beyond the competition:

1. We offer more features than any other phone company. We even go as far as offering business-class phone system features such as paging, transferring calls, parking calls, “Record-a-Call”, conference calls (more than the standard 3-party) and many more. You get all of these features for no additional charge.

2. We offer customers audio-meeting conference services for calls that require up to 20 participants. Usage fees are based upon the number of participants and the duration of the individual connections. Speak to a Phone Genius representative for more information.

3. Have you ever had a threatening or abusive phone call, but could not prove it to anyone? Phone Genius’ “Record-a Call” allows the customer to press a few keys on their telephone keypad and record that call without the need for any special equipment. Your call is safely stored on our server. After the call, just reach out to Phone Genius and we will retrieve that conversation and send you a copy of the recording.

4. We believe in openness and honesty with our billing structure. There are no “gotchas” with our service, which means you won’t be paying that hidden $60 start-up fee that other competitors ‘downplay’.

5. Our customer service is not like any other. When you call, reach out to us via email or Twitter, we want you to feel like you’re talking to a family member or a friend, and we don’t treat you like just another customer. We value each and every one of our customers, and we aim to cater our personalized customer service to everyone. If you have a problem, or a question, or even want to suggest a feature, we’re here to listen to you. If you make a suggestion on how we can improve our website for instance, we’ll listen and put in our best efforts to meet your needs.

6. Your phone service can be delivered over multiple devices in any configuration:

  • Using your existing cordless telephone with a Phone Genius provided analog telephone adapter (ATA)
  • Using one or more Phone Genius provided IP telephone sets
  • Using a softphone application on your laptop or desktop computer
  • Using a softphone application on your smartphone

Any combination of these configurations is possible with Phone Genius


Do I need an existing internet connection to get your service?

Because we only offer our phone service over the internet, the answer is yes and no. If you do not have high-speed home internet, you will need it for item 6, parts a, b and c above. If you decide to have your Phone Genius service only on your smartphone’s softphone application, then your smartphone’s data plan, or public Wi-Fi (of sufficient bandwidth) would be used.


What hardware (or equipment) does Phone Genius Provide?

Phone Genius provides a variety of equipment, from analog telephone adaptors, to a wide variety of desktop IP telephones. For more information, please visit our hardware page.


My spouse and I currently DO NOT have a home phone, since we rely on both our smart phones. What would be the ADVANTAGE of signing up with Phone Genius?

To help you better understand, we will be using two people, "Jack" and "Diane".


Jack and Diane are a young married couple with no desire for a home phone, since they both rely on their individual smartphones for voice communications. The problem is that they do not have a single/unique telephone number that others can dial to reach both of them.

When Jack and Diane decided to be Phone Genius customers, both smartphones were loaded with the Phone Genius supported softphone app. Phone Genius configured Diane’s phone as extension 301 and Jack’s as 302 and assigned a telephone number (705-345-6789) to their account. When anyone dials “705-345-6789”, both of the smartphones ring simultaneously.

Either person can answer, which stops the ringing on the other person’s smartphone. If the call was answered by Jack and the caller had a question that Diane knew the answer to, Jack can transfer to call to Diane or conference Diane into the conversation.

How many softphone accounts are included when signing up with Phone Genius?

Upon signing up and sending in your exact requirements, we can offer up to THREE (3) softphone accounts for FREE. Any additional accounts will incur a one-time fee of $4.00, which covers configuration and administration. Once you paid the $4.00 per account the one time, you get that account for as long as you’re a Phone Genius customer. No more recurring fees.


Do I need to sign a long-term contract with Phone Genius?

At Phone Genius, we believe in giving you freedom. This means that we don’t lock you in for 2 or 3 years, unlike what other competitors do. We want you to feel like you’re not obligated to stay with us. If for whatever reason you are not satisfied with the service you are getting, or you no longer need it, we can work with you to resolve any issues you’re having, or cancel your service.


Does dialling to 911 work?

Dialling to 911 services does work.

The caller ID that gets sent to 911 is your primary phone number. Any additional lines/numbers will use your main number for 911 calls ONLY.


Can I bring/port over my number if I switch to Phone Genius?

If you want to bring your current phone number to Phone Genius, we can easily do that for you. However, this will incur a “porting” fee, which Phone Genius has no control of. Keeping your number also brings any telemarketers along the way. Our recommendation is to get a new number with Phone Genius. This way, you can give your new number out to the people who should have it, and eliminate telemarketing calls.

Please note that:

  • There is no guarantee that your current telephone provider will allow you to move your number to another provider.
  • Not every telephone number can be ported to Phone Genius. Upon placing your order, the Phone Genius representative can check to see if your number is within the Phone Genius ‘portability’ area.


How much does your service cost?

Please see our pricing page for more details.


How do I get customer service?

The easiest way to get service is to contact us.


I'm sold! How do I Get Started?

You can call 705-481-2104 to advise all of your requirements, such as:

  • If you have a FAX machine
  • Type of devices you require
  • Number of softphone clients required

Phone Genius will obtain your contact info, such as address, wireless phone number(s), e-mail(s) & which e-mail is the prime for voicemail notifications. There will also be some discussion about the router or LAN switch location, Ethernet jack(s), etc. You can also send an email over to Sales. Just fill out the form on the Contact Us page.


I live in Kingston (Ontario), but have lots of friends in Toronto. Can I get a Toronto number instead of a Kingston number?

Yes, you can. In this voice-over-internet age, it no longer matters where you are in Canada and United States.

Phone Genius has a customer, who moved to Barrie (Ontario) from Mississauga and kept their Mississauga number (which they had for 40+ years). The disadvantage of this is that they still get telemarketer calls as well as calls from the City of Mississauga regarding ‘town meetings’, etc. The advantage of this is that family and friends don’t have to change their dialling patterns to reach them.


I live in a large house with my 87-year-old parents residing IN another part of the house. I would like to have some way of them letting me know (other than standing in the hall and yelling) when there is a problem (EXAMPLE: IF MOTHER HAS FALLEN). Does Phone Genius have a solution?

Yes, we do.

The best way to answer this question is to provide an example of a customer’s personal situation. She lives in a home with her 93-year-old parents. Phone Genius has provided an analog telephone set that will automatically dial a 4-digit telephone number (when the handset is lifted) which will ring all phones in the house. The caller ID will display “Help Help” to the family member answering the call. During a time of ‘panic’, the elder person placing the call does not have to try to remember what number to dial, but only just to lift the handset. It is a really cool feature, that they have used several times and is a life saver.



Questions for New Customers

The questions below are for those who have just joined the Phone Genius Family. Prospective customers may also wish to read these questions.


I just received an adaptor from you. How do I connect this?

First of all, we want to welcome you aboard the Phone Genius train!

Please refer to the diagram that came in the box. The diagram will show you how to connect your device to your network and analog phones.


I just received an IP phone from you. How do I connect this?

Please refer to the diagram that came in the box. This will show you how to properly connect your device to your network.


How do I get the softphone client to work with my smartphone?

Please watch our video on Bria Mobile for instructions on proper installation and configuration.


How do I get the softphone client to work with my computer?

We've got your back with a video showing you how to set up the CounterPath X-LITE client. This client works on the two major Operating Systems: Windows & macOS.



Questions for Existing Customers

The questions below are intended for customers who have been with us for a long time, but may also apply to new customers.


Help!!!! Nothing is working!!

We're sorry to hear that! Below, you will find some steps to troubleshoot the problem.

If at any time, you are having trouble understanding the steps please contact us as soon as possible.

  • Make sure all network cables, telephone cords and power supplies are securely connected.
  • Using a desktop/laptop or a tablet, “ping” a server that is located on the internet, such as one of Google’s servers (8.8.8.8 or 8.8.4.4). For security reasons, Phone Genius does not publish the IP address or DNS of their phone servers. If you do not see a “Reply from…” response, the issue will either be with your internet service provider, with your internet modem/router or your router. If this is the case, verify your internet modem/router or your router is functioning correctly. For example, to "ping" google's servers, type; **ping 8.8.8.8**
  • If you do receive a “Reply from…” response, the issue will either be with your Phone Genius equipment or with the Phone Genius servers. In this event, skip to the troubleshooting step that tests the Phone Genius equipment. Otherwise, continue to next step below.
  • Power-cycle (Power-off, then back on) the internet modem/router which was provided by your internet service provider. Try the ping test again. If you still do not see a “Reply from…” response, the issue is likely not the internet modem/router.
  • Power-cycle your router. Afterwards, try the ping test again. If (again) you still do not see a “Reply from…” response, the issue is likely not the internet service. At this point, you can either wait it out with your ISP or report the issue of “loss of internet service” to them. They will likely prompt you to perform the power-cycling tests, which you have already done. Many of Canadian ISPs identify where there are outages of varying severity. Visit http://canadianoutages.com/, select your ISP and click on the “Live Outage Map”. In order to read the map correctly, you must zoom very close to the area in which you are located. Outages can be caused by ISP server failures, ISP server configuration errors, cable/fiber optic cuts or planned maintenance (that your ISP failed to notify you of).
  • Please note that Phone Genius cannot resolve problems with your internet service. That can only be done by your ISP.
  • Power-cycle (Power-off, then back on) your Phone Genius equipment:
  • Analog Telephone adapter unplug (then plug back in) the ATA power supply
  • IP telephone unplug (then plug back in) the telephone’s and Ethernet cable power supply (unless the phone operates using Wi-Fi).
  • After power-cycling, place a telephone call. If your call does not go through, contact us.


Why won't my device register?

There are many reasons why this will happen. Please make sure that you've entered the correct username/password for your device (if configuring it by yourself).

If you are going through a VPN tunnel, we recommend you disable it, as SIP registrations will fail due to the nature of how the VPN encrypts traffic. If disabling the tunnel is not an option, there might be a way for you to exclude outgoing connections to our servers.

Whenever I try making a call, I get an error stating that my call did not go through, and that I should contact support. Why?

If you are receiving this message, it may be due to one or more of the following reasons:

  • Account misconfiguration
  • Account has been blocked


If your account is blocked, it could be due to any of the following reasons:

  • You've neglected to pay your invoice.
  • Unusual account activity. For example, if we find that your account is sending an unusually large amount of calls, we may block your account.

During this time, calls to services such as Customer Service and 911 will work. However, calls to other numbers that are not considered to be Customer Service or 911 will be blocked. To resolve this issue, you should contact Customer Service immediately.

Whenever I make a call to certain phone numbers, I get this error: "The number you have dialled is currently blocked. Goodbye!" Why is this?

In order to protect you as customers, we are obligated to follow certain standards from the FTC that blocks calls as follows:

  • Any phone numbers containing "976" after the area code
  • All calls to area codes 900, 268, 284, 473, 664, 649, 767, 809, 829, 849 & 876.

Under no circumstances are we to remove the blocks on the area codes mentioned above. Please see here for more information. In short, while the area codes in question may look like normal USA phone numbers, they are really international premium rate numbers that carry hefty fees if called back. While this may be an inconvenience for the minority, we do this to protect our customers from toll-fraud. Please contact us if you have any questions.

I just purchased a MULTI-FUNCTION printer (PRINTER, COPIER, SCANNER & FAX) and want and want to use the FAX function. I need a dedicated FAX NUMBER. What must I do?

Please contact us so that we can make the necessary changes to “Port 2” in your ATA. If you wish for your fax machine to have a dedicated inward number, Phone Genius can add a new number to your account and assign it to ring into “Port 2”.

If you connect your fax machine to “Port 2” without contacting Phone Genius, it is likely that the fax machine will pick up your calls that would usually be answered on your cordless phone.


How do I send voicemail to email notifications to multiple E-MAIL addresses?

To do this, you would need to get into contact with Support, either by phone or email. Once you explain to our support agents that you wish to send voicemail notifications to multiple email addresses, you must provide us with all the email addresses you want to use. We will then perform the needed steps on our end. After this, you will now receive voicemail notifications at all of your specified email addresses.


Can I get a number for each of my kids?

Yes, you absolutely can! When your kids call out from their phones, their name and number will show up on the destination phone.

The hardware required for this may need an additional ATA and/or one or more IP phones. Phone Genius will let you know.

If calling 911 from any of these phones, the main telephone number on the account (not the child’s dedicated number) will be used as caller ID. If your kids decide to move to another location, we would need to set up an additional 911 profile, specifically for them. This will incur an additional monthly fee on your invoice.


Will calling 911 work if I use the softphone from my smartphone or computer?

Yes, however, do keep in mind that calling 911 from your softphone will be like calling 911 from home. If you are not at home, you should notify the 911 operator of this, and give them your current location’s address instead.


Do you provide international calling plans?

Yes, we do. However, for security reasons, we do not provide this as a standard to customers. The reason for this is because international calling, depending on the location, is expensive. If you have specific international calling needs, please contact us, so that we can allow calling to the destinations of your choice.