Birch (formerly Cbeyond)

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Consumer Complaints and Reviews

A year ago I attempted to leave the Birch pile. Because I did not divorce them properly, they dinged me for early termination @ $600 and, in February, I had to promise I would remain in their grasp till the end of my contract - that being a mid-November. I called in September and confirmed the end of my contract was November 15. I paid today (10-18) for the final month and then called to kiss them off. Now, they tell me that I must stay with them till February. They can't produce the voice copy of my supposedly February promise to stay indentured. Their business model is not based on service, but on added fees and unannounced price increases. There no way to get out of their crooked little house. Beware - Run - Hide!

Trying to reach them all day at customer service but the line is out of order. Tells you the quality you are dealing with considering they are supposedly a phone company. They also entered me into a contract without my knowledge that can only be cancelled one month out of the year. Every time I've called tech support I've had to wait three days for a callback. Very sad and pathetic. Time to order Magic Jack.

Received three (3) calls in about 5 hours from Greg ** who said he was with Birch communications and was a representative in Texas of AT&T (who is our current carrier). When I told him that I would only speak with him after I spoke with an AT&T representative he became very aggressive and told me I was rude. This young man started the conversation calling me by my first name and generally talking to me like I was his cousin. He was very friendly until I wanted some detail. Total SCAM, through and through. Birch communications and Greg ** ought to be ashamed!

I use Birch for my business phone system and internet. Earlier this year our phones were down for 1-1/2 days. We have 5 lines. Lately, my internet has been down almost every day intermittently. My error message says an ethernet cable is disconnected. I checked all the cables with a testing device and they are all fine. Device manager says all devices are working properly. When you call Birch, you are guaranteed a long hold time, one call was almost 1-hour. Meanwhile you sit and listen to their ad that will give you a couple hundred dollars of free service for a business referral. As far as my experience goes, find a professional company and don't waste your time with Birchtel.

I was a Birch customer for my home phone service and added internet (Birch breeze) later. My information from Birch communications is I received phone service Oct 13, 2011, and Birch breeze internet service on May 8, 2014. Lately my internet connection has been poor to say the least. I called a computer repair shop to see if they could help my computer. The tech said the problem was probably my internet connection. I had been with Birch for over the 24 months of obligation. I actually asked them about a year ago when I could terminate business and was given May 6, 2016 as the date.

August 27, I signed up with T-mobile for phone and internet service. I since received a letter from Birch stating that I was to be charged an early termination fee of $200. I have called them a couple of times, they say something like my service automatically resets the early termination date. I now actually have a dispute over the charge with them now, but according to the person I talked to, I won't be contacted for a month. I would like to warn anyone who has service with Birch to be aware of this method of doing business!

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Not a customer, but... just got a cold, telemarketing call from these people and they asked to speak to the person in charge of paying our phone bill. I said no. (We are supposed to be on the do not call list.) The lady abruptly said, "Okay, then your phone will be shut off!" We don't use their service. But I'm sure this kind of answer would scare some people. What a rude, shady outfit this must be.

Our original contract charges were $511; over time Birch increased our charges, based on their "unilateral audit" to $744, even though our overall services were decreased, as we lost employees. The total amount of the overage was $2,646 (they are still trying to collect, although they overcharged us). We've terminated our contract and made the equipment available for pickup, and they still want to charge us the equipment cost, although we notified them in advance via certified mail to come pick up their equipment. They are rude, crude, and misbehaving. Never do business with them. We'd support a class action.

If it is possible to give a company negative stars, this company deserves it!!! I have attempted to cancel service since January 2016 and keep getting the same gibberish, "It is Still in Processing". Finally I received telephone confirmation in May 2016 that the account was closed effective January 2016. Due to their total lack of customer service (which is the original reason I cancelled their service), I now have been turned over to collections and they now say that they cannot speak with me about the billing error, since it has been turned over to collections. BEWARE--THIS COMPANY IS A NIGHTMARE TO DEAL WITH... ADVICE AVOID, AVOID, AVOID!!!

I have received calls, sometimes multiple a day. Very rude callers demanding to talk to people I've never heard of or people who no longer work here. I have informed them that I cannot pass thru calls to an "owner" because our policy is to not take sales/time wasting phone calls. Caller refuses to give me her name and I inform them we are on the do not call list. They have been warned to stop calling or else it's harassment. One more call and my review will be with the feds. :)

A 1 star rating is generous. We have several clients on this service, and they are starting to find other services as their commitments are expiring. They do not show up for their appointments. Their techs are not knowledgeable. They refuse to call you back. When the service has issues, good luck. I would start using hot spots. If you have any hosted services (exchange email, website, DNS, etc.), they will delete all of your data without any notice. In most cases, your email is gone FOREVER. They will put in no effort to recover your email. This review was not written based upon one experience. This was over the period of two years, different businesses, and different issues. You have been warned!

Had Cbeyond and they were sold to Birch Communications. We canceled our service in May 2016. July we are receiving bills of $1667.09. Birch was very uncooperative when we notified them of the change and was very hostile with our new service during the transferring. I would not recommend this company at all.

Worst Customer Service. We have suddenly had issues with slow internet, with many of our employees NOT able to send email. It is disastrous. We were told that for some reason some of our employees' IP addresses get "blacklisted" because of previous spam, or something like that. The fix they offer does not work. I can't trust that they are even telling us the truth because things don't jive. We started with Cbeyond and have been with the company 4 or 5 years now. But we are looking to switch companies now.

We have had our phone technician for over 20 years and we are reasonable professionals. It is unbelievable how unprofessional Birch is and how well they play the blame game and will not accept responsibility for their malfunctioning equipment. My business phones were flashing all at once and ringing busy for our clients, causing us to lose business. Before Birch would look at their equipment, they had me replace my phone system, install virus software, examine our camera system, reset our email accounts, etc. This went on for over 11 days and finally Birch sent a technician, at my expense, to replace their Cisco IAD and the processor ceased running at 100%. They replaced it with an improperly programmed unit that is causing calls to drop outs for 2-8 seconds and internet speeds of less than the speed half prior to the replacement.

Our internet is so slow, it is inhibited business functions. We were with Cbeyond, that was bought by Birch. Birch explained that although I had been receiving 10Mb for years, that the Birch Network Planning Team was "removing underutilized service", in other words, they had throttled us back to 8Mb, they say per contract, although we only get between 4Mb - 6Mb. It has been 25 days of interrupted phone and internet service. It has taken over 40 hours of my time trying to solve the issues. Their engineers were polite and helpful, but their company policy is to do nothing and blame the customer. I asked if I could get 10Mb, and they say not unless I sign a two year agreement! I will never sign any agreement with them and cannot wait until I can find a professional company to provide reliable service.

The only thing going for this company is their call center politeness (although they can do NOTHING to solve problems). Memorial weekend in a retail store. Saturday morning and no internet service or phones! Birch: "We will have someone there within 4 hours". Fast forward 84 HOURS. NO SHOW. NO PHONES. NO INTERNET. No excuses! This company is BROKEN!

When I first got the call from Birch they told me that they were taking over for CenturyLink. They made me think that this was just happening, not a choice that needed to be made. Their service is awful and no one seems to know what they are doing. Only one out of the 6 people I have spoken with has even attempted to find a solution to my problem. They are effecting my business and potentially costing me thousands of dollars. I am very disappointed in this company and their service. I strongly recommend that you stay as far away as possible. I have had their service for less than 48 hours and keep getting thrown around and told that I will get a call in the morning. I am furious.

I have been a customer of Sage Telecom for years and they recently sold out to BIRCH. I was sent a letter promising that nothing would change when they switched companies. Immediately upon BIRCH taking over they started charging a $2.95 Paper Invoice Charge. I looked back on the previous month's bill and there was nothing on it that even mentioned the change. Plus I had also received a letter saying there would be no changes. I find this very dishonest and will be looking for a new telephone provider.

We started with Birch Communications when they were still called Cbeyond. The sales person was kind, helpful and seemed well informed. We signed up for a three year contract and soon after the service started we realized that the service we were offered was not what we got. The service was very slow and glitchy and their willingness to help correct the problems was in the form of trying to upsell us to a more expensive plan. We put up with it for our three years and then when we called to cancel, we were encouraged not to cancel until our new service provider was fully on board. That sounded reasonable until I found out that Birch then automatically extended our contract for another year while we were getting our new service and when we were ready to transfer to the new company, Birch charged us a huge cancellation fee for the time remaining on our extension. It's in the fine print, so beware. This is a very dishonest company.

If you are looking for an ISP, you DO NOT want to use BIRCH. They have the Worst Service and Technical Support I have ever had the displeasure of having to work with. We have a Small Non-Profit that they cut their bandwidth from 25Mbps to 3Mbps - no warning, no communication. When we did the research on why this was done, we realized that they had used a contract from a completely different location. We have been on the phone with them constantly for over 2 weeks trying to get this resolved. First we were told we would have to pay to restore the service. Then we were told we would have to sign a new 3 year Contract... horrible! They make a mistake and then want us to pay for the mistake. NOW, ONCE AGAIN WE ARE DOWN and we cannot get anybody dispatched to resolve the issue!!! DO NOT USE THEM IF YOU WANT RELIABLE SERVICE.

We are a small business that started a road to improving our communications system with the purpose of improving our customer service. Due to this decided after being customers of Birch Telecommunications for several years to give VoIP a try. Birch service has been a complete nightmare. We requested porting our numbers to Vonage. The whole process for this task was literally stressful, and once it was done, Birch decided to leave our fax line behind. As per Birch request we needed to close the account once the phone numbers were ported, which we did, without being aware that our fax line was left behind. Well Birch only solution was to open a new account that cost us money in order to be able to port our fax line to Vonage, which we were not given any other option even though the employee that handle the porting made the mistake of leaving our fax line behind.

Birch was completely reluctant to port our fax line without us paying for a new account. When Birch installed our fax line, the installation was made on a building that we had moved from two years ago. Birch was aware of our new address as phone bills were sent to our new location. Birch charged us for the wrong installation and charged us a fee to move the fax line from the old location to the new location. We had to call them and talk to a supervisor then make Birch understand that this issue was their mistake, again. Once Birch finally installed the fax line in our location, we were instructed to request Vonage the porting of the fax line, and just after that we were instructed to send an email requesting Birch to close the account, which it was done word by word.

Our surprise was to receive first an email by Birch stating that we were going to be charged $200 for an early termination fee, and a few days later receiving a telephone bill for the amount of $337.00. We were credited the fee amount for the wrong installation, but it has been an amazing negative experience talking with supervisors about the wrong doing of this company. The feeling is that Birch only interest is to punish customers who have been loyal to them for years once they decide to move to another carrier. Feeling that all this money was a giving gift to Birch and having no way out, we called Birch to request a payment arrangement.

A week later to our surprise we received a phone bill of $337 with a late fee charge. We called Birch and reminded them that we had made a payment arrangement and questioning why would we be charged a late fee and their answer was "as long as the account is past due you will have a late fee". We have never heard this from companies when you have compromised for a payment arrangement. The whole issue has been a complete rip off from Birch Telecommunications and Birch have not even consider the mistakes their employees made. This is an inefficient company and Birch Customer Service is the worst we have ever seen.

First of all, I was surprised that charges from Birch Communications appeared in my card and when I did my research it turns out that the Globalinx service was transferred to them. I tried and been trying to cut the service, but it is just too hard for that to happen - so I let it be (which turned out to be the biggest mistake). Since the transfer of service on 3/31, they have been charging me $36.43 until 1/2016 and $39.08 per month since 2/2016 until yesterday, 4/14/2016. As I have mentioned before, I have been trying to cut the service, but again because of how hard it is and of work, I was not able to until recently.

They replied to my email asking for my account number and access code. I was able to give them that information on 4/13/16 and asked them to cut the service and close my account. I was shocked when they stated that my account was submitted to the National Account Services and was inactive since then. So I asked them when did this happen and I just got a reply today, 4/15/16, that it was submitted last 9/1/2015.

So I am not sure why they started charging me when they have not asked for my authorization or inform me that the Globalinx service was transferred to them and even ask me if I still want to continue with the said service. Also, if my account was inactive since 9/2015, why is it that they have been charging me since then in which when added is almost $300. I am still waiting for their reply on how to actually permanently close this and stop those monthly charges to services that is not being used. I also tried calling National Account Services but it always go to their voicemail box. I hope that this will be resolved before it reaches another month and charge me again.

My company has been with Birch for 10 years. We had to leave them due to 1) going up on rates and 2) they partnered with AT&T and they could not get us faster service in our area. So, I called Birch to ask them how do I terminate service with them. They told me to write 30-day notice to terminate. So, I did that in Oct. 2015. Every month after that I continued to receive a bill and every month I called to inquire about why am I continuing to get a bill. This went on every month and each time I spoke with someone I was always told "Disregard. We will be sending you a FINAL Bill and probably we will owe you." So, in March 2016 I received a final bill. It was 400.00 for equipment.

Now, I've been with Birch for 10 years, why would they want this old equipment? I was never told I had to sent the equipment back until I got this FINAL BILL. I spoke with the same rep twice in between OCT (2015) and Mar (2016). Never once was told to send the equipment back. I've been speaking with a manager (Ben) and he said based off our contract I am to send the equipment back or they would come out and get it for $200.00. Now, this equipment is huge. I would have thought with all the confusion and the length of service we have given Birch they would at least try to work something out with me.

I told (Ben) I have done everything I was told to do in order to end our relationship with Birch, but Birch had not done what they were suppose to do for me. But, at the end I was never once asked after 10 years why I was leaving and they could not come and pick the equipment up without paying the 200.00 or at least knocking something off. I WILL NEVER USE BIRCH AGAIN!!! AND CUSTOMER SERVICE NO LONGER EXIST.

If I could give this company a zero, I would totally do so. I gave notice to them in October 2015, that I would not be renewing my contract. I had to send numerous emails to different people, my service is still not been completely terminated. They owe me money for months that they continued to charge me. I was told by their billing department to contact my bank and not allow their charges to be accepted. I have now been told that my contract was renewed, without my knowledge and that we are going to have to pay $2,000 for early termination. NEVER DO BUSINESS WITH THIS AWFUL COMPANY!!! I have now contacted my attorney to handle this problem.

Not sure I can add anything new to the commentary but this company is a complete fraud. They do not honor their contractual provisions and willingly embrace absolute dishonesty. I had over 13 hours of no service which is critical for emergency room related transportation. There was no access to technical support and only by me weaseling through to TWC national fiber was I able to get a technician out. Birch never even knew there was a problem or a repair. DO NOT CONTRACT WITH THIS COMPANY!!! I would sincerely participate in a class action lawsuit!!

PREVIOUS CBEYOND CUSTOMER. I called Birch in November to let them know to cut off my cell phones and tablets I had with them that never worked. I checked my bill and found out they had never cut off the birch breeze data plan and the equipment fees. I called to find out why and Kristin said it wasn't noted on the file to cut that off. I said why would I have one thing cut off and not another when they were all linked and they will not give me any credit back for not using it from November. It is now February.

I asked to speak to a manager because this is a reasonable situation, I thought. "No, you cannot speak with a manager. They are not available! Now we want the equipment back also, (you can have it)." I also gave her names of people I spoke with to shut down the whole mobile and tablet system. "Nope, it's not noted in the notes so we cannot give you the credit." Oh, you mean since your staff didn't make notes in the file, it's my problem, just as this has happened many times before with other issues.

Well, of course, I didn't get anything resolved other than send the equipment back which no one before today had told me was needed to do. This company is horrible and has horrible customer service. There is nothing they will do for you even when it's their fault. Birch's whole system going down and putting me out of business for a week because some engineer blew out a switch which took out many businesses internet for a week and my practice runs on the internet of all digital images and needs. So they shut my dental practice down for a week and I lost 10s of thousands of dollars and they gave me a credit of $339.33. After four months of complaining and a letter written to the President Mr. Oddo and, of course, there has still been no response.

Also the case of my dead telephone line in which they kept charging me for over a year and I called and called and called and they kept denying the credit even though the customer service department would say, "Well you're right, there is no activity on the line but you have to put in a request for the credit." Of course, 2-3 requests I placed again and again and, of course, no credit. It was denied??? Just unbelievable.

A sales rep from Birch Communications contacted our Dental practice many times and I finally took the call. The rep readily gave me many examples of how they could save us money using past records of our spendings with AT&T. I asked the rep several times if he was with AT&T and he assured me that my relationship with AT&T would not change and we would continue to get bills from AT&T. I agreed to change what I thought was long distance service with them. Never heard from them again until I discovered that our business lines were disconnected.

I contacted AT&T immediately. They informed me that it appeared that I terminated with them and I quickly worked with AT&T to reinstate my services and they told me that if the lines were still not working that I had to take it up with Birch. The phone lines were still disconnected so I took it up with Birch and it is now day 3 and our lines are still not up. Many empty promises of resolve from Birch has still left our business with no phone lines!

One Star is more than Birch Communications deserves. We were a CBeyond customer and once Birch acquired CBeyond the service has been unreliable, frequently down, and when you call technical support they are unresponsive. We had been promised that they were going to develop the ability to use our existing phones (Cisco 303s) and they would then migrate us over from the old CBeyond platform to Birch. After many missed deadlines, and frequent outages on the old CBeyond platform that they were obviously no longer supporting, I decided to back away and move to another provider.

The problem is that moving to another provider is a lengthy process. In the meantime we continue to have multiple service outages. We have spent hours and hours attempting to get resolution. We have been on hold in the queue for 90 minutes more than once. Still no resolution. We are taking our business elsewhere but it is a slow, painful process to port your phone numbers to another carrier. I wouldn't recommend this company to my worst enemy.

Was with Birch for over 3 years. I discontinued my service with them in my fourth year. I then received an invoice for an early termination fee of $200. I originally was solicited by phone to join them and the representative told me it was a month to month contract, but what he didn't tell me is I had to give them a 30 day notice to avoid the early termination fee. What a joke.

I had Lightyear for my business phone/fax for 8 years, then BIRCH bought them out and I have had trouble after trouble. I called to tell them I sold my store and wanted phone service off on the 29th of Jan. They flipped a switch and had it off in 2 days on the 17th! I had to keep calling and was for 3 days it was off, fax customers lost, mail and shipping customers were lost, we couldn't call any of our customers to let them know about deliveries, mail, etc. I wouldn't recommend this company to a dog! I am also reporting them to the BBB for making me lose no telling how much business.

We switched our phone services to Cbeyond back in 2007 and always experienced minor to major issues but the support was always good until recently when BIRCH took over. We have had ongoing issues with the phone extensions going to the wrong party or not working at all. We have made numerous attempts to have them resolve the issues but they don't call back or they claim they have done everything on their end to remedy the problem. After reading others' complaints, we are afraid that if we change service providers we may lose our main phone number. I would gladly pay someone to come in and fix the problem but they claim it is on their end and only they can fix it. We are stuck. Please help with any ideas.

I have been with Cbeyond since 2007. I have had problems with them, but they have always made amends to the problems. Now, unbeknownst to me, in approx. May of 2014, the company was merged with Birch Communications. Info was sent to my old office which was originally sent to my e-mail. No info was sent to me informing that Birch was now my new Cbeyond. So when I continued to get mail from junk mailers (as Birch was seen to be), it went in the trash. Had I been informed by Cbeyond that Birch was the new name, I would have been aware. Anyway, no receiving bills I did send in random payments just to be assured that my company phone would be on. It was shut off once and that was when I found out that Birch was my new provider.

With the next year, my entire set up for my cell phone was changed, without knowledge. VM no longer had saved on it and every 30 days messages within that 30 days was removed. Messages didn't always come in on the day they were sent. Information was as bad as when it was Cbeyond that the response was always, "we can't find that number," when in fact, I may have just called it. I use the info line over and over as I am in the car and unable to write stuff down, drive and talk. Three items and two hands and a steering wheel. AS time has gone on, the service is worse and you are sent to all different places, no one person can help, except the old tech department. They were great! Everyone else brushes you off. But since I have my company phones (of 25 years) and internet and company cellphone with them, they are critical to my business.

Despite random payments and no invoice, mail or internet, I continued to send in random payments. Then I noted that my company phones were shut off. But assumed it was the electricity as I had shut down the office to move it all elsewhere during this economic crash. Two months later, while still paying for no service, my cell phone was shut off. It is my original from 2007 when we joined Cbeyond and as courtesy, and a compensation for past Cbeyond screw ups, they didn't even charge me for this old phone. I called them to see what happened and found not only was my cell shut off, but my office was off for three months. Additionally, they said that since I didn't pay my bill, I was shut down.

I referenced all the payments and the rather indifferent CS agent begrudgingly looked it up. Only to find, sure enough I had been paying even after they supposedly sent me a notice of disconnect and that since they made up the story that I requested a disconnect, they could charge me $3000.00 for a penalty, and all those payments went to that penalty. The shut off of the free phone was the last straw that they saw out there. As she confirmed all I said was true, she went to her superior and came back and said they would credit the outstanding payments made of $800 plus an additional $200 credit in suspension. None of this was brought to my knowledge. So the CS said that her boss said she would reactivate my office number in the next week, but the old cell phone from 2007, I would have to pay $70 if I wanted it reactivated, or else see some place else.

Add to that my current contract would be no good and a new one would have to signed. I said, "I need copies of all these documents and letters you are saying were sent to me." The CS said I would have to go to billing or such for that so she sent me over. The gal in billing said she was unable to retrieve anything after the past 6 months by internet. I said, "Then send the rest snail mail." She agreed and she was the one giving me to total I had being held by them to pay off that fictitious $3,000 penalty for closing my account early. So, to this date: I have not received any credit, no documents except for the internet for 6 months, nothing new in the mail or internet monthly to become current or any billings to be current.

Not only is my cell on being reinstated, but my office phones were never reactivated and the most important thing of all >>> My company phone number, which I have had for 25 years, has been sold to someone else, so now I will never get that number back again!!! There is something really wrong with this company. I even sent a 2-page letter detailing this all out to the CEO of Birch (past CEO of Cbeyond) and nothing as of yet from anyone. I have no phone since I need to have them reactivate everything under the terms of my contract and stick to it and not try to milk me with this new contract and $70 a month for the cell. I need your help, this is not right. I don't have time to redo my entire phone system for my company and I need my phone number back. I need recovery for damages. Your help, please.

Expert Review

Ellen MuraskinVoIP Contributing Editor

Ellen Muraskin has been writing about telecom and IT since 1993 when she joined the marketing department of Dialogic. In 1996 she joined the editorial staff of CMP’s Computer Telephony Magazine, rising to Executive Editor before joining Ziff Davis Media to launch the VoIP topic center of their site. She served as senior copywriter for IT infrastructure company Raritan and has written and edited for several publications.    More about Ellen→

Founded in 1996, Birch serves more than 200,000 business customers. Birch is an industry-leading voice, data and hosting provider for small to mid-sized businesses, while also offering enterprise-level solutions.​

  • Works with your existing PBX: As a business VoIP provider, Birch offers a complete range of services that replace or work with a PBX. In integrated voice-and-data accounts, it dynamically allocates bandwidth as needed.
  • Mobile service on the same bill: Instead of dealing with multiple vendors for telecommunications services, Birch offers an all-in-one solution, enabling you to take your workforce from the office to the street.
  • Granular call treatment: With Birch's user interface, you can turn off call waiting for specific numbers, ensuring that some callers will never be interrupted. Birch's Repeat Dialing feature keeps dialing a busy number for you until the call goes through.
  • Migrate to the cloud: Birch takes VoIP services to the highest level, transitioning data to the cloud for added flexibility and security.
  • Certified for excellence: Birch has been repeatedly recognized for its exceptional call center service, guaranteeing customers a quick resolution to problems.
  • Best for Small businesses to large corporations.

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