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Steve Monke asked ·

Robo Calls Create Extra Expense

My business has used Ring Central for our toll-free number service for many years.  In the past few months, we have been getting increasing numbers of robo calls.  These calls (with no person on the other end) are answered, and the company greeting is played instructing the caller to push the appropriate extension. The robo caller obviously does not push an extension, and the company greeting plays a second time before disconnecting a process that takes about 2-1/2 minutes.  We are now receiving approximately 45 robo calls per day, so that is about 112 toll free minutes we are charged for in one day.  We are billed by RingCentral for the additional minutes over our plan.  These calls are coming from all different numbers that have the caller ID spoofed.  When we have tried to call back some of these numbers, we get some people to answer and they always have no idea about us and didnt make the call.  I wondered why would someone take the time to program hundreds of robo calls to just call our office without a person or recording on the other end prompting us to do something?  The only entity that seems like they could benefit from this would be RingCentral.  Theyre collecting more money from us because of the additional toll-free minutes used.  Then I found this article (https://www.fastcompany.com/90304830/why-800-numbers-are-getting-their-own-robocalls) that explains that there are intermediary companies that handle calls that could benefit from these types of calls too.  This is the only explanation for something like this. 


We have communicated with RingCentral about this, and it has been difficult.  We have been transferred to and from our service rep to different people.  No one at RingCentral claims to know anything about this, but we cannot be the only ones to be experiencing this, and RingCentral needs to step up and do something rather than suggest we change our toll-free number that weve had for 30 years.  After many calls, someone at RingCentral agreed to reverse the most recent charges for the extra minutes, but it took a follow-up call to get that done.  There is no long-term plan in place, and it appears were going to need to call and argue about getting charges reversed each time we are charged for additional minutes.  (RingCentral said they wont preemptively add additional minutes to our plan each month to compensate for the robo calls.)  Someone at RingCentral also suggested we file a complaint with the FCC, which we did.  The rep at the FCC said they were working on new technology that could potentially help with this, but it isnt available right now.  Otherwise, they had no other ideas.


Our current situation is not sustainable.  RingCentral is indicating this is our problem.  And why wouldnt they as theyre the ones benefiting from the hundreds of additional calls.  


Has anyone else had an experience like this, and have you done anything to stop the calls?  I would rather not change our toll-free number.  We have already added our number to the do-not-call list.  We could change our initial company greeting to be much shorter (Like, Hello, youve reached our business.  Dial 0 to connect now.), but that isnt ideal and it doesnt completely solve the problem.  Any suggestions would be appreciated.  




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bob-drake-bail-bonds5706 answered ·
You bet I've had this problem. I have about 40 phone numbers, 10 of which are (800) toll free numbers.

I am pretty sure, having worked in the long distance telecommunications industry and wireless industry from 1983 to 1990 that the technology is there now (it was even back when I was in the industry) to identify these calls and stop them before they get to you. IF RING CENTRAL WANTS TO STOP THEM is the key. Apparently they don't because(?)...maybe they make money off them as you described.

Back then, CCS 7 (Common Channel Signalling ver 7) was being installed all over the country in telephone switches which allowed the phone companies to do a lot of advanced things - such as allow users to change long distance carriers for outbound calls and then change carriers for toll free (800) calls. One feature of CCS7 was a separate data channel that traveled the path of the call before connecting you to the call and having it ring in your ear on an outbound call. That data channel also carried caller information like Caller ID from where the call originated. Ring Central has the ability to monitor, and I am sure they do for network performance purposes, all the bits traveling over their network (you can do it on your office or at home network with a free product called "Wireshark"). I'm willing to bet most of the calls you mentioned either originate on Ring Central or another VOIP provider as it would be easier (I think) to spoof caller ID on a data (VOIP) network. Ring Central can easily identify the IP address originating the call - regardless of what Caller ID states - and block it. Calls stopped, case closed. If the calls are originated on a POTS (Plain Old Telephone System) Network they have to get into the VOIP data network at some point and are sending along all their data that Ring Central easily can see - and stop. Just like when a company tries to send out Junk email to 10,000 people, an ISP knows who that is and have the ability to block them - the same can be done with Robocalls.

I am not a technician nor engineer so I may not have explained all this exactly right, but the basics are accurate. Ring Central can identify these unwanted calls and prevent them from ever ringing in yours or my office - if they want to.

C'mon Ring Central get with it and stop these calls!
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Thank you for the additional info.  If RingCentral can identify the IP addresses like you say, then it should be as easy as analyzing a few days of robo calls and then putting a block on those addresses, right?  I'd really love to hear from someone at RingCentral to explain why this isn't possible.  
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Yes, please.  I am getting a lot of robocalls recently too. I have used RingCentral since 2008 and have been happy with them until they force me to switch to RingCentral office which I have no need of the extras.  I am getting more robo call since.:(
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We are also getting tons of robocalls on our toll-free line. It really started happening more and more about 5 or 6 months ago. We are thinking about turning off our toll-free line. Do you think people even need them any longer since most phone plans include free long distance? 
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I don't think toll-free numbers are worthwhile anymore, especially considering circumstances like this.  It will vary from business to business, but for us, I'm sure most of our customers use cell phones with essentially unlimited minutes.  I've tried to get some data on the value of toll-free numbers.  There are a lot players in the toll-free number business.  So when you try to search for studies or unbiased opinions, there are tons of articles and comments written on behalf of small companies that sell (and support!) toll-free numbers.  But, my hunch is that, for many smaller businesses, there is more value to focusing resources on a website than a toll-free number. I would like to phase out our toll-free use over time.
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