Please strip my email address and name; TIA.
Here's a question about 800 number portability which I hope you or
the other readers can answer.
I have switched to a small CLEC for my service -- call them ma-pa-telco.
I told ma-pa-telco that I was unsatisfied with the service I was getting
from my old carrier -- let's call them "Cloacal" -- so I asked ma-pa-telco
to take over my 800 line.
I signed a "Letter of Agency", and thought it was all done. Today,
however, ma-pa-telco tells me that after seven or eight false starts,
Cloacal refuses to transfer my 800 line, saying that my signature on
the letter of agency is "Unauthorized" and that they won't tell me who
is "authorized" to sign it.
So, some questions:
1. Can ma-pa-telco force a switch? I mean, can they tell the
company-in-charge-of-the-800-number-portability-database to just
move the number over?
2. Can I force Cloacal to release my 800 number even though they say
I'm not the "authorized" person? It's my number, right? They've
certainly got plenty of signatures to check: I've been paying the
bill for this ever since I bought the company. Can I just tell
Cloacal to grow up and consider me as authorized?
3. Is there a procedure in place to resolve this kind of issue? When
they set up the 800 portability database, someone must have thought
of things like a CEO retiring or a company like Cloacal refusing to
play nice with the other children.
This has been going on for over a week, and now it's just silly: as
far as I'm concerned, Cloacal is dragging their feet just because I
got tired of them acting like Ma Bell's idiot baby bell brother and I
said so to their face. At this point, the FCC should spank them and
tell them to get over it.
[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: For starters, problems like this are
often times handled very satisfactorily by Judith Oppenheimer, a
reader here with several excellent web sites (begin your review of her
work at http://judithoppenheimer.com which is the ICB Consultancy home
page.) She has successfully cleared up things like this now and then.
Generally, yes, the _owner_ of an 800 number can take it where he
wants. One caveat: *who is the owner*? Signing a letter of agency
does not an owner make, if the true owner has a sticky widget. Think
back to when you first got the number ... did you sign any papers
telling Cloacal they were the owner? Did you originally get the
number from them? Who told _you_ that you are the owner of the number
(not the user of the number, but the _owner_ of it?) Another caveat:
do you owe any money to Cloacal on your bill with them? Telcos have a
right under the rules pertaining to number portability to hold a
number hostage if you do owe money. Under the law, telco has
protection to assure they get paid. Still a third caveat: Is the
number 'popular' or easy to remember, dial, etc? If it is -1212 or
-2345 or -1234, etc and etched on people's minds and quite 'easy to
remember or use', if Cloacal otherwise has any rights to the number,
they are going to fight more than ever. Genuine 800 numbers (as
opposed to 888, 877, 866 and yes! even 855) are not usually given up
by their 'owners' without some effort. Ms. Oppenheimer will need to
know all that in order to help you. But she seems to know her stuff
and _who_ to talk to. Good luck with your problem. PAT]