[VoiceOps] Audio cut-through and toll fraud - was "Letting a phone ring forever"

Tim Jackson jackson.tim at gmail.com
Wed Jul 27 16:16:55 EDT 2011

I forget the GR that specifies this, but unless a human answers, they don't
have to actually send an ISUP ANS back..It's quite common.. The biggest one
I can remember is US Airways..

On Wed, Jul 27, 2011 at 3:05 PM, Jay Hennigan <jay at west.net> wrote:

> On 7/27/11 6:28 AM, Stephen Sprunk wrote:
> > I've had numerous customers ask for longer ringback timeouts on the
> > calling side; it turns out that the above is a /very/ common practice
> > for toll-free numbers.  The menus and hold music are all "ringback"
> > messages, and the call isn't actually "answered" until a human agent
> > gets on the line.  As many of us are unfortunately aware from our own
> > experience calling customer (dis)service lines, that can easily exceed
> > five minutes.
> The menus?  Really?
> I have had issues with this and as far as I can tell, the menus should
> not be considered ringing.
> We have had reports of DTMF failures navigating the IVR of toll-free
> numbers from time to time.  American Airlines is one specific example.
> What we have found is that there really isn't a DTMF issue, but that the
> forward audio path is being disabled until answer somewhere enroute.
> This is to me the correct behavior and was implemented at least a decade
> ago as a fraud prevention measure to prevent an endpoint from simply not
> providing answer supervision and conversing.
> From what I recall, the forward audio path is *supposed* to be blocked
> until the call is answered.  Reverse audio is enabled for ringback
> tones, intercept recordings, and the like.
> For a toll-free end user to deliberately not provide answer supervision
> (and thus start billing) and expect to process DTMF into a menu or for
> that matter just carry on a conversation seems fraudulent.
> Of course American Airlines and the like is kind of an 800-pound gorilla
> and trying to get them or their carrier to alter this behavior of a free
> ride navigating the menus would be an uphill battle.
> So I could theoretically have a toll-free number that would have a menu,
> "Press 1 to hear an audiobook recording of 'War and Peace'; press 2 to
> hear the 1812 overture..." and run it for free?  Doesn't seem kosher.
> --
> Jay Hennigan - CCIE #7880 - Network Engineering - jay at impulse.net
> Impulse Internet Service  -  http://www.impulse.net/
> Your local telephone and internet company - 805 884-6323 - WB6RDV
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