AT&T Outbound Texts Not Working Sept 2019

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Regarding RingCentral Case 09433975

About a week ago our outbound text messaging from our RingCentral app to AT&T wireless customers stopped working. This has been confirmed by multiple users. All other carriers are receiving and sending text messages fine.

Initially (Sept 20th) when I talked with RingCentral  support they checked the "logs" and said nothing is wrong and told me that I should have my customers call AT&T check their accounts.  (Probably the most ridiculous suggestion ever).  Only upon my insistence did the RingCentral support escalate the issue to "Tier 2 Support".

This morning (Sept 23) I received this message from Tier 2 Support: "We reviewed the logs for outbound
messages from (your number) it shows no errors over the past 24 hours. Looking back to the 21st I do show a number of errors labeled "Unknown error" on their side. Can you please retest the messages to the provided numbers and advise if the messages continue to fail at this time?"

I can confirm that I have tested AT&T numbers today and they are still not receiving my texts.

Please fix this issue as soon as possible as it has a major impact on our business operations.

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TDAlmighty

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Posted 2 months ago

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TDAlmighty

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Update Sept 23 @ 530PM EST: After confirming with Tier 2 support and providing timestamps for failed outbound messages, they have "...forwarded it to our partner carrier. I will provide an update once available..."

We are actively looking at alternatives to RingCentral.
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Jessica - Community Moderator, Official Rep

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Hey, TDAlmighty - from the looks of it, our Tier 2 agents are actively working on your case. Looks like they reached out yesterday and left a voicemail. We'd ask that you stick with us as we try to solve this problem.
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TDAlmighty

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@Jessica, see my update below.  Tier 2 support did nothing.
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ACCOUNT

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Happens often. Certain carriers will automatically ban VOIP numbers their systems flag to be sending SMS spam.

(Edited)
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TDAlmighty

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Even if we maybe only send 2-3 texts per week to AT&T mobile customers?
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ACCOUNT

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I don't know what the exact limitations are. In my experience, when you are blocked by a carrier, they will block a specific customer of theirs from receiving SMS from your specific number. They don't appear to block all of their customers from your number.

Others who have this problem report that a carrier block happens when multiple texts are sent to one person and there are no texts returned in response. I can't verify that this is true, but it would make sense in my opinion.

There's a rate limit with the RC SMS API, but I'm not sure if AT&T has a rate limit as well, although that would make sense if they did.
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TDAlmighty

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Thanks for your input, but not of it seems to apply and/or fix my problem
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ACCOUNT

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You're most likely not going to get a solution here on this forum and you'll probably never get a straightforward answer as to why it happened from AT&T. AT&T is not going to tell you "We ban VOIP numbers from bandwidth.com when we see 'X' happen" because spammers would just use that information to get around their filters. But if you just want a fix, your best bet for the quickest solution is speaking with AT&T directly to request they remove you from any blocking.

Let me know how that goes if you do. I'm interested in what they have to say and I'm sure others here are as well.
(Edited)
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TDAlmighty

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Update Sept 24:  RingCentral "Tier 2" support is now tell me AGAIN that our customers must contact AT&T and report the number as "not spam".  If that is not ridiculous enough, RingCentral does not give any instructions or contact numbers for doing so.

RingCentral I am very disappointed.  You will take our business's money when there are no problems.  But the minute something comes up and you have to actually fix a problem you want to put that back on my business and my customers.  RingCentral you are not the cheapest service, and now I have no reason to stay because your service is obviously lacking also. 
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Jessica - Community Moderator, Official Rep

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I reviewed your case. Tier 2 partnered with AT&T to confirm that the texts you trying to send were blocked by AT&T with the error code 50.

The most common cause for error code 50 is that the messages were blocked by a local SPAM filter due to the content of the message. Here are some possible reasons messages encounter blocking from carriers:

  • Messages are far less likely to get blocked if few to no people complain of getting unwanted text messages
  • Missing "opt out" wording in messages
  • Use of public url shorteners
  • Sending links to questionable websites
  • Sending the same (or similar) messages from many numbers
  • Using the same number for multiple campaigns
  • Outdated customer databases where phone numbers have new owners who did not opt in to messaging
  • Some wireless providers may block A2P (Application to Person) messages from ten digit long code numbers
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TDAlmighty

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We only send messages to customers after they initiate the conversation (aka replies). And this worked fine for us for 2.5 years.  You are still not providing any solutions -- only a list of potential "problems" or things we did wrong which do not seem to apply.  Step up the plate and please find a solution.  That is what I am paying you for.
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TDAlmighty

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It is now working.

For people that run into this problem later, do not bother contacting RingCentral.

What ended up working for us?  PAYING a customer that has AT&T mobile service to call AT&T and ask that the number be removed from the spam list.  After getting transferred around a few times, AT&T did confirm to our customer that our number was blocked from sending texts to AT&T mobile customers. After some persistence, the customer was successful in getting the number taken off the list.

I did earlier talk with a "supervisor" at RingCentral, and reading between the lines it sounds like this happens all the time with RingCentral customers.  Obviously not something RingCentral wants to advertise but super annoyed when they could have just been honest from the get-go that this is a common problem instead of acting like the whole time like this was a one-off.

On a side note, obviously these spam lists that the mobile carriers maintain are not going to stop the real spammers who can just call the phone company and be taken off the list.  But it sure did waste a lot of our time (a non-spammer).
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TDAlmighty

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Well I spoke too soon.  Came in yesterday morning and we are unable to text to AT&T numbers again.  We probably sent 1-2 texts TOTAL to AT&T customers during the time that it was working again.  I highly suspect this is a RingCentral/VOIP issue more than anything else.
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ACCOUNT

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Not quite.

If you can't understand the basic concept of tracking down the origination of your issue (Troubleshooting 101), you're in line for a ton of frustration.

Good luck.

(Edited)
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TDAlmighty

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I have spent 5 hours on the phone between RC and AT&T.  I have had family members with AT&T service call AT&T and pretend to be a "customer" to work that angle.  What actionable "Troubleshooting 101" advice do you have? Lets hear it.
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ACCOUNT

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I have to apologize, I assumed you understood the concept of narrowing down issues through organized process of elimination methods. But clearly it's been a waste of time sharing potential problem scenarios.

Just keep going the way you are. And when you're sick of throwing random ideas at your problem, you can pay someone to fix it for you.

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TDAlmighty

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You’re the one throwing random ideas and opinions out—not me. At the end of the day you have no actionable suggestions. Please take a look back at everything that you’ve written and realize that you’ve been absolutely no help and just frustrated me more and wasted my time.
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Saadet - Community Moderator, Official Rep

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Hey Account, while I appreciate you stepping in and getting involved, arguing semantics is not constructive. We want to cultivate a community of crowdsourcing, not arguing. Please read our Terms of Use.

 Hey TDAlmighty, it is most likely that AT&T is blocking SMS for some reason. I've followed up with the Tier 2 agent assigned to your case. She should be getting back to you sometime tomorrow :)