Reader Timothy Youngard has spent much of the last four months trying to get his legacy phone number switched over to his new
The problem, as Tim describes it to me, has been that Pacwest, the entity used by SunRocket to process LNP (Local Number Portability) transfers for new SunRocket customers, had lost his initial request.
To make matters worse, it appears that SunRocket's ability to track the progress of the LNP request's progress as it courses through the necessary steps maybe is a bit less than comprehensive.
Hey it's Monday. Not a better day for tales of woe. So let's let Tim tell his story:
On July 22nd I signed up for SunRocket's one year VOIP subscription. I'd heard nothing but good things about the company and their services. Right now, however, I'm very frustrated with them. I also requested a number transfer at that time, now here it is early November and I'm still waiting for the transfer to occur.
Within a week after requesting the number transfer, I received two e-mails: one saying everything looked good and another confirming the request had been submitted on July 31st.
After another week, I was informed via e-mail that my expected transfer date was Aug. 21st and "If for any reason SunRocket is unable to meet the target transfer date, we will notify you of the delay".
Well, sort of. That same e-mail mentioned that I would receive notice confirming the actual date 7-10 days prior to the number transfer, and that it could take up to 30 business days. Well. OK. I could wait 30 days. No problem. (Why is it that when I changed cell phone companies it took less than 3 hours to have my number transferred? Hmm... Oh, well. )
Anyway, I e-mailed an inquiry 3 days before the "expected" date to see if everything was still on target. The reply I received mentioned that although they weren't going to meet the expected transfer date, it should still happen within 30 business days. So, I’m wondering, what happened to them informing me in the 7-10 days prior to the expected transfer that it wasn’t going to occur?
The SunRocket representative who replied to my e-mail inquiry stated, "I have personally checked your record" and “we are doing everything we can now, to make sure your request is completed." Well, whoever "personally" checked my record didn't do such a hot job as you will see.
After the 30 business days expired, I rang up SunRocket to find out what was going on. The customer service rep. apologized for the number transfer taking so long and said that although the transfer usually occurs within 30 days, it could take up to 60 days. Yikes! She also mentioned that she was sending a ticket on the issue to their provisioning dept. to see why it was taking so ong, and that I should call back in 3-4 days to follow up.
On top of that, because of the delay, SunRocket would also recompense me for my phone bills until the transfer was complete. Hmm, that's pretty cool and appreciated.
On the next follow up call, I found out that the ticket had been sent to the wrong dept. and the rep. had now corrected it and I should hear from someone shortly -which I didn't.
In the second follow-up call, another rep. informed me that sometimes the phone companies will drag their heels until 60 days have past as they are not legally bound to release phone numbers before then.
OK. Great. First I'd heard of that. That explained the "up to 60 day's" the first rep. had mentioned. I was also told "don't worry about it, we're working on it" yet again.
Once the 60 days were well over, I called yet again and asked for a supervisor. Not only did I explain my situation, I also informed him of my frustration with the lack of communication from SunRocket in keeping me apprised of the situation. On top of that, my SunRocket webpage still showed an expected transfer date of Aug. 21st and the date was now Oct. 6th.
The supervisor was very helpful and explained that since we were past the 60 days, they could now legally press my phone company to cough up my number for transfer. He was also bringing this to the attention of a "tier 3" manager (someone above him in the company) whose job is to directly deal with phone companies on a one to one basis. Hurray! I got off the phone thinking that this would happen quickly now. WRONG!
Late on Oct. 13, I signed on to my SunRocket webpage. Hey, my transfer information was updated. But now I was really confused. It showed that the transfer request was now dated
Oct.12 and that the new estimated transfer date was going to be on the 2nd of NOVEMBER!!!
That would make it 3 MONTHS after the initial request on July 22nd. You've got to be kidding me?!?! What happened? I hadn't even received an e-mail about this. With family visiting over the weekend I waited until Monday to call again. Needless to say, I was fuming.
The first supervisor I talked to (ok, grumped at) told me that the original request was denied and that she couldn't do anything to hurry things along. She could transfer me to their provisioning dept. and I could talk to someone there. The second supervisor I talked to turned out to be the same one I'd talked to a week earlier. (Hey! I didn't have to explain my frustrations yet again.)
Turns out that Pacwest, the company that provides local numbers to both Sprint/Embarq and SunRocket, had lost the transfer request. Although there was nothing SunRocket could do to expedite the process at this time, the supervisor credited my account for 3 months worth of service. He also promised an apology from upper management. That's nice and all, but I'm not sure how comfortable I am with SunRocket at this time.
Now here it is, Nov. 2nd and nothing has occurred. I called SunRocket today for what I believe to be the 7th or 8th time now to find out that Sprint/Embarq has 30 business days from the re-submission. That would be Thanksgiving of this year. 115 days.
Prior to my experience with this, everything I'd heard or read about SunRocket was pretty positive, not perfect. I have friends who use them and have nothing but praise for the service.
But I see a few issues that leave me nervous. It's frightening that there seems to be a great lack of communications within this communications company:
I wasn't notified when there was a delay in my number transfer.
The original ticket that was supposed to have been sent to the provisioning department was sent to the wrong department.
I wasn't notified by e-mail, as I was told I would be, when or why the request was resubmitted nor was I informed of the new transfer date.
When I did talk to SunRocket about the newest request for transfer, I received two different stories from two different supervisors.
Although I kept being informed that "they were working on it", it seems that nobody bothered to follow up with Pacwest to confirm the transfer was happening until the issue had escalated to a 3rd tier supervisor. And even that didn't occur until after my fourth call ten weeks from the initial transfer request submission.
According to one supervisor I talked to, SunRocket and companies like Pacwest have access to an automated system showing number transfer requests, but have no way of confirming what is happening with those requests. Nor can they follow up with the original provider to see what, if anything, is happening with the request.
It also seemed like the issue was being ignored until the "magical" 60 days had gone by.
Even more discouraging, one of the Service Representatives I talked to mentioned they've had a few customers who've waited up to 8 months for a number transfer to go through. Great.
That's supposed to make me happy?
Classic case of the left hand doesn't know what the right hand...
Hey VoIP service providers, meet the other "F" word.
Fulfillment- as in an ability to not only institute procedures such as LNP but to be able to monitor status every step of the way.
Listen. If Fed Ex knows where my package is throughout the shipping cycle, shouldn't VoIP companies, provisioning and transfer services know the same about my LNP order?