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Nov 04

MagicJack Line In Use Problem

I had been using the MagicJack for over a year when suddenly yesterday morning it dropped one of my work calls and my phone just ceased to function.  I had a basic phone without any LCD display so I couldn’t find the problem at first, the MagicJack worked fine when I set it to headset mode and forced it to use the PC Speakers, but the phone itself would provide no dial tone.

I bought a 2nd phone with an LCD display and the moment I plugged it into my MagicJack I saw the message "Line in Use" on my phone.  The phone even had this message when I disconnected it from my MagicJack almost like the MagicJack sent a signal or spike to the phone which caused it to permanently assume it was in use. 

I opened a support case with MagicJack and it led to a confusing run around of basic troubleshooting steps first with one operator and then with another operator.

Here is a transcript of the online support call:

Please wait for a site operator to respond.
You are now chatting with ‘Honey’
Your Issue ID for this chat is LTK43604275547X
Honey: Hello, how may I help you?
Justin Germino: I have been a MagicJack client for over a year
Justin Germino: for some reason today my MagicJack is not functioning properly, it dropped a phone call and I can’t use it with any normal phone anymore
Honey: ALright, thank you for that.
Honey: May I know when this issue got started?
Justin Germino: I bought a 2nd phone thinking it was the phone and now my phone is stuck in "Line in Use" mode
Justin Germino: even when I disconnect the phone it is stuck in this mode now
Justin Germino: I tried 3 different USB ports and rebooted my computer
Justin Germino: It just started about 2 hours ago
Honey: Ok.
Justin Germino: I have used my MagicJack about 5 hours per day for 12 months now
Justin Germino: use it all the time
Honey: May I know the name registered on this magicJack account?
Justin Germino: Justin Germino
Honey: Thank you.
Honey: Please wait while I check that for you
Honey: Thank you for waiting.
Honey: Is the magicJack plugged in with the blue light is on?
Justin Germino: Yes, and it works when I use it with PC Speakers and Microphone
Justin Germino: it just doesn’t work with plugged in Telephone
Justin Germino: I have same problem reported here:
Justin Germino:
http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r22744080-MJ-shows-line-in-use-when-not-off-hook
Justin Germino: I think something broke with the USB Magic Jack box and it isn’t sending right voltage or signal to phone anymore
Justin Germino: not sure if I can try a firmware patch or something to reset the MagicJack
Justin Germino: and try to fix it
Honey: Do you see the dial pad in the computer screen?
Justin Germino: Yes I do
Honey: Please click on MENU in the dial pad then Volume/Headset Control and toggle it to Telephone if you are using a Telephone and Headset if you are using a Headset.
Justin Germino: Already did that
Justin Germino: just did it again
Justin Germino: it doesn’t work on Telephone, but works on Headset
Honey: Ok.
Honey: Are you using a Telephone or Headset?
Justin Germino: I have been using a Telephone for over a year
Justin Germino: it just stopped working 2.5 hours ago
Justin Germino: I don’t use headset
Justin Germino: don’t have a PC headset
Justin Germino: when I switch to headset, I can hear it dial and connect out my PC speakers, but I don’t have a microphone
Justin Germino: How long is the Warranty on the MagicJack usb device? I am fairly sure the device itself is broken, unless I can somehow flash its firmware, is there a number I can dial that reprograms the magicjack?
Honey: Ok.
Honey: Please set it to Telephone since that’s the one you’re using.
Justin Germino: Ok, I am on Telephone mode now
Honey: Ok.
Honey: Click the "Start" button  then "Control Panel" then go to "Internet Options", under "Privacy" tab, slide the bar down to "Accept all cookies".
Justin Germino: done
Honey: Click "Security" tab, click on "Trusted Sites" then click the "Sites" button.
Honey: Un-check the box at the bottom left of the window that says "Require Server Verification".
Justin Germino: done
Honey: Type the following address into the text bar, reg.talk4free.com then click the "Add" button, and also type in the following address, my.magicJack.com and click "Add" then "Close" then "OK".
Justin Germino: both done
Honey: Ok, thanks.
Honey: Let’s disable the Firewall and Anti-virus installed in your computer for 30 minutes.
Justin Germino: Done, these troubleshooting steps I already did in the faq (minus the add URL’s to Internet Options trusted sites)
Justin Germino: this isn’t the issue and doesn’t work
Justin Germino: Antivirus is off, Firewall is disabled
Honey: Ok.
Honey:
http://upgrades.magicjack.com/upgrade/upgrade.exe
Honey: Please click the link (underlined words) and hit RUN.
Justin Germino: doing that now
Justin Germino: Hmm, got an incompatible error
Justin Germino: says need 64bit version
Justin Germino: I am using Windows 7 64bit
Justin Germino: this file won’t run in 64bit Windows 7
Honey: You mean, you can’t run it?
Honey: It will run on windows 7.
Justin Germino: Here is exact error i get
Honey: Ok, please give it to me.
Justin Germino: The version of this file is not compatible with the version of Windows you are running. Check your computers system information to see whether you need an x86 32bit or x64 64bit version of the program
Honey: Please do this.
Honey: Please unplug the magicJack device from the USB port and plug it back after 20 seconds.
Justin Germino: Done, it is starting the MagicJack now
Justin Germino: after I plugged it back in
Honey: Do you still have the dial pad?
Justin Germino: yes
Honey: Try to run the upgrade this time.
Honey:
http://upgrades.magicjack.com/upgrade/upgrade.exe
Honey: Please click the link (underlined words) and hit RUN.
Justin Germino: it failed, but I downloaded the file again and it works, must have been a corrupt download first time, now says "Upgrading MagicJack"
Honey: Ok, please let me know when it’s done.
Justin Germino: it is done
Justin Germino: magicjack is back to dial pad
Justin Germino: but phone still stuck saying "line in use"
Justin Germino: and can’t get dial tone
Honey: Ok.
Honey: Ok.
Honey: I am transferring you to one of our top 10% agents as rated by our customers. Please hold while I transfer you.
Please wait while I transfer the chat to the best suited site operator.
You are now chatting with ‘Ken’
Your Issue ID for this chat is LTK43604275547X
Ken: Hello Justin . My name is Ken. To better assist you, let me put you on hold while I read your previous chat/s. Thank you.
Ken: Thank you so much for waiting.
Ken: Is your phone connected to a wall jack?
Justin Germino: no, it is connected to the USB port of the MagicJack
Justin Germino: I actually have no wall jack in my house
Justin Germino: I have no land line
Justin Germino: have been using the MagicJack only for over a year
Ken: Please double check if the base cord of your phone is properly hooked up to your magicJack device.
Justin Germino: it is hooked up properly, I even went and bought a 2nd phone
Justin Germino: problem is the moment I plugged in my 2nd phone, I heard dial tone for about 1 second, then nothing and phone now stuck saying "Line in Use"
Justin Germino: both phones don’t work with the USB MagicJack but the Headset mode does. I have done Google Search for this and think the USB device isn’t sending out proper signal/voltage to phone or may have fried phone
Ken: Do you mean you want to use multiple phones for magicJack?
Justin Germino: No, one phone at a time
Justin Germino: I thought my phone was broken at first
Justin Germino: so I bought a 2nd phone
Justin Germino: I only plug 1 phone at a time into MagicJack USB box
Justin Germino: neither phone works
Justin Germino: The MagicJack was working fine for over a year until it dropped a call on me about 3 hours ago
Justin Germino: now it won’t give dial tone to any phone plugged into it, it just acts like there is no phone plugged in
Justin Germino: meanwhile, the phone itself doesn’t get a dial tone when plugged into MagicJack
Justin Germino: I am fairly certain the USB MagicJack is defective and malfunctioning, what is replacement policy?
Ken: Would that be okay if we will try to fix it first?
Justin Germino: sure, I already did the upgrade, unplugged waited 20 seconds and replugged
Justin Germino: rebooted computer
Justin Germino: shut off antivirus/firewall
Justin Germino: and added 2 DNS names into my Internet Options
Justin Germino: just let me know what else to try
Ken: Click the "Start" button then  "Control Panel" then go to "Internet Options", under "Privacy" tab, slide the bar down to "Accept all cookies".
Justin Germino: already did this sir
Justin Germino: if you read the chat, I already went through these steps
Ken: One moment please…
Justin Germino: Honey had me set the Honey: Type the following address into the text bar, reg.talk4free.com then click the "Add" button, and also type in the following address, my.magicJack.com and click "Add" then "Close" then "OK".
Justin Germino: I already downloaded an upgrade.exe
Justin Germino: and the MagicJack upgraded
Justin Germino: but didn’t fix problem
Ken: Thank you for holding on.
Ken: Are you using USB extension cord?
Justin Germino: No, the MagicJack is plugged directly into USB port on PC
Justin Germino: no dongle or extender used
Justin Germino: I also tried 3 separate USB ports already
Ken: Please unplugged your magicJack and plug it back after 2 minutes to another available USB port of your computer while holding the shift key in your keyboard.
Justin Germino: ok
Justin Germino: do you want me to start device or open the files on the device?
Ken: Choose start magicJack.
Justin Germino: started and now at dial pad
Justin Germino: however my phone still says "line in use"
Ken: Do you have another available phone?
Justin Germino: Yes, let me plug the other one in
Ken: Alright.
Justin Germino: Ok, same isse
Justin Germino: phone gets no dial tone
Justin Germino: but this one doesn’t have an LCD display, so I don’t see a "line in use" but assume it has same issue
Justin Germino: I have been on chat with support for almost an hour now, same procedures tried twice. I am fairly sure I just need a new MagicJack, what is the warranty on these things?

After being on the support with them I was finally able to track down my original MagicJack order number and the company agreed to send me a replacement MagicJack USB device for only $9.95 shipping instead of having to buy a new device from scratch.

I was informed that had I purchased the MagicJack from any retailer other than MagicJack.com there would have been no Warranty, so people may want to think twice if they get the MagicJack from any local store instead of MagicJack directly.

Again, I had been using the MagicJack for a full year without any issue at all. In researching this problem online I found a few articles which mentioned the same or similar problem:

http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r22744080-MJ-shows-line-in-use-when-not-off-hook

It makes sense that someone something broke with the MagicJack that it was either sending too high or too low voltage or signal to the phone plugged into the device.  In the meantime I went out and bought a Wireless USB headset and am using the MagicJack in Headset mode until my replacement MagicJack arrives in a week or two.

I don’t dislike the MagicJack and I have only had a few minor issues with the device up until now, I am glad they were going to replace the device even after buying it around a year ago.  I wish it wasn’t so hard to get through the support techs and get a new device ordered however.  It is important you keep your original order number, that is for sure.

Still, with talk of MagicTalk coming where you can make unlimited free calls to anywhere and any phone from your PC without paying a per minute fee, I can’t find a way to sign up for it yet to test it.  I am still using the MagicJack as it is the cheapest method of making phone calls to land lines without paying a fee or chewing up minutes on a cell phone.

I still recommend the device even though mine went dysfunctional in 15 months because I use it heavily, at least 4-5 hours of calls per day and it went through over a thousand hours of calls before it went kaput.  It may have been a fluke as well, not sure if anybody else had problems with a device after so long.  I do read a few reports about them being broken when  you first test them, but once they work they seem to work pretty well.

-Justin Germino

Justin Germino
IT Security Expert who is a married father of two children living in Arizona, my hobbies include technology, blogging and spending quality time with my family.
Justin Germino
Justin Germino