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!@%$# Phone Company
Posted 21 May 2009 - 08:57 PM
I had a customer email me yesterday that she needed a legitimate contact number, as the phone number posted on my website is a fax number ... what? I checked, sure enough it's ringing thru to a fax machine, and no longer to my home. I gave her my home number and dealt with her question as well as calmed her anxiety about having given her credit card to someone she couldn't contact, but by the time I finished filling my orders and was free to investigate, it was after Windstream's business hours. So ... called this morning, and they tell me that it's not my number, never has been, and that I have had a completely different number since early 2004.
Now this is a 'distinctive ring' number, what they call a ring+ number, assigned to my home phone line. It rings differently so I know it's a business call and can answer appropriately (much, much cheaper than a separate line). In fact I have a little device that detects the distinctive ring and routes calls to different phone lines internally, and to the appropriate answering machine (I'd use voice mail but it's not available on ring+ numbers). Low-tech, but effective and very affordable. It's worked great for 5 years, then suddenly it stops, and they claim no record of my ever having possession of it. They claim that someone else had possession from '98 to early this year, when it was reassigned to another business as their ring+ number.
I know it worked until very recently, I've taken orders over the phone from people who could only get my number from my website. I can show online records of it being published as my contact info, point them to the wayback machine, etc. but they want no part of that. What they say I need is a copy of my bill showing the number, but they don't print ring+ numbers on their bills. They won't accept any form of documentation other than their own, and they don't actually provide that, so I'm stuck with no possible recourse.
This isn't going to sink my business or anything, and though it's a major inconvenience I'll get over it if I have to change to the number they say I have had since 2004 (a number I've never heard of until this morning). What pisses me off is they are flatly calling me a liar. Either a blatant liar or completely dilusional, they take absolutely no responsibility for this and offer me nothing but a 'our hands are tied' and 'maybe you should just accept it and move on'. Seriously ... I've talked to 6 people today, and each and every one has said this is simply not possible, I have never had this number in my possession ... Nicely, with a lot of "I understand, of course you're upset" (you obviously disturbed and dilusional lying sack of ). What possible reason could I have to make up a story like this? What kind of nut would I be to publish a phone number I don't possess as my contact number when I'm trying to build a business. Why would I do this?
I'm screwed, and I know it. I've spent hours on this, even trying to find bills from back in '04 and '05 when they were Altell in hopes they printed the number on them without any luck. I want my number back, but at the very least I want someone on their end to say "we screwed up, and we're sorry" ... am I holding out for too much?
Appreciate the chance to vent ... sorry y'all had to be the sounding board, but I figured I might find a friendly "that sucks" or something here. Just super frustrated at dealing with a bunch of very nice a-holes today and coming out feeling like my credibility is shot to hell.
Posted 22 May 2009 - 04:31 AM
That really does suck. Is there no alternative company to take your business to? That's what I'd be thinking right now in your shoes.
Posted 22 May 2009 - 05:01 AM
I asume you're taking your business else where with another provider for staters, including home phone and any other service they provide!
Also, If you can prove the evidence they request doesn't exist so how can you produce it (IE bill with number on), They wouldn't get far in law with that defence!
Though it would be the first time I've ever know a bill for a phone number and it not being printed on the bill somewhere, what does it say? divert service, business line services? it has to have some description, and what about itemisation?
Also if you can get testamonials from various customers / clients who will back up your claim regarding the number they use to contact you, well that's if you want to persue it down legal lines of course.
If all you wanted to do is let of some steam, i hope it's worked, you have my sincere condolenses, now stop ya whining and get back to work
Posted 22 May 2009 - 06:27 AM
Like I mentioned, the phone number is a second "ring+" number on my home phone line. My bill states my home phone number on it, but unfortunately doesn't list the ring+ number. They even admitted they can't find the number on the bill, but say 'your copy is different than ours". Under the charges breakdown it shows:
"1 RING+1 ONE ADDL TELE NO-RES 5.00" ... I pay $5 for the additional number.
"1 RING+1 TWO ADDL TELE NO-RES 4.00" ... I also pay $4.00 for another # for my fax machine, but have never hooked it up.
(With a little $70 router to route the calls, I have the equivilent of a 3 line service, though only one can be actively used at any given time).
I'm not giving up yet. The number has only been gone a little while, I'm guessing there is some computer glitch, and surely someone else out there would have been affected. I don't know.
Posted 22 May 2009 - 06:30 AM
Having worked in the Telco industry for several years, the answer to your question is Yes you're hoping for too much. Sad to say, but true.
Even if someone said they screwed up or they're sorry they wouldn't mean it. They'd simply be trying to get you off of their phone so as not to raise their call time. Because that's how they are measured internally.
Tis part of the reason I don't work in that particular industry anymore.
If it's not on your bill there's no way you could prove anything without having someone inside working under cover for you. This part is probably going to frustrate you even further, but they can see it in their systems. So if there was someone working internally for you you'd have your proof. That said, they're instructed to say exactly what they're saying.
About the only other thing you could do is file a complaint through your state regulatory agency that watches over Telco's. I rather doubt even that would gain you the number back though, since it's already been reassigned.
Posted 22 May 2009 - 07:06 AM
No doubt a few of my regular customers and my vendors could provide proof that they have called me on that number, it's got to be on their bills, but that's a lot to ask ... just wouldn't feel right doing that, and I don't have resources to fight these guys in court anyway. Just the time it would take away from my day job would be a real issue right now.
I find it hard to believe they can't see it, but they are treating me like I'm a complete nut job. The last thing they did was send a guy to my home to verify which number rings thru. I told them this wouldn't prove anything, I know the number 'they say' I've had all this time now rings thru, I tested it as soon as they gave it to me. I suspect the real reason for sending this guy out was to pacify me, and so someone could informally tell me 'maybe you should just accept it and move on'. He said 'sure you could fight this but it's a lot like trying to save you house from being torn down for a new highway."
They've spent all the time they're going to on this, I'm in the 'blow him off' bin now.
Posted 22 May 2009 - 07:27 AM
Posted 22 May 2009 - 07:34 AM
v. com·mis·er·at·ed, com·mis·er·at·ing, com·mis·er·ates
To feel or express sorrow or pity for; sympathize with.
To feel or express sympathy
C'mon, you're on my side, remember? lol
Posted 22 May 2009 - 10:06 AM
Do you think I would be unwise to contact the people who currently are using the number via fax with a nice letter explaining the situation? Simply asking them if they would contact me, and if the number is really important to them. They haven't had it long, though they may have money invested in stationary or something, but it may not matter at all to them, and it does to me.
Would I be risking legal issues, i.e. harrassment, or even fax spamming?
I just know I'm at a standstill with Windstream and there's not point in continuing far down that path. I may be able to force a little credit, but they won't give me the number without the proof they demand, and I'm not going down a legal route.
Posted 22 May 2009 - 11:08 AM
but hey, like Jill say's won't hurt to ask, you may find they are happy to relinquish it back to you, and if you're really lucky prepared to put that in writing to the telco as well
Posted 07 July 2009 - 11:17 AM
A tip from an ex BT employee
complain to the chairmans office or write politly to every board member :-)
cant you companin to the US equivelent of OFCOM - a compaint in the destictive purple folder from them certainly got peoples minds concetrated.
Posted 30 July 2009 - 12:12 PM
After another week of being a very determined pain in the ass, I got my number back.
What it came down to was ... I told them I was going to contact the current possessor via fax, and they all of a sudden jumped in with "well, let us do that for you." A half hour later they came back with the other folks were willing to release the number but they had to give them a month of service for free to do so. Now they never offered me any compensation what-so-ever, so I really wonder if this is a line of bull or not, but I don't really care. They continued to swear that the other folks had the number for months when they could have only had it for weeks, but I'd given up on them coming clean.
It wasn't instantaneous, I had to go back in 3 more times as they "apparently" messed up the service order and it got canceled. Once that was fixed, they made another mistake in switching that left me with no phone at all ... ugh. But in the end, I have things back in place and documentation of all numbers on my account.
Even with all this, I know when I need it I'll upgrade to a more 'appropriate' and business-level service plan ... eventually ... which will require me to change numbers. But I'm not going to do that until I'm ready, and not because they screwed up or tried to guilt me into it. I have however become aware that the caliber of service is exponentially better as a budiness customer, which is at least something to mull over.
Thanks for hearing me out.
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