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

Darren Schreiber d at d-man.org
Wed Jul 27 16:26:45 EDT 2011

US Airways does this, too.

I agree with everything you've said, including the 800-pound gorilla
comment. As such, we've been using US Airways and AT&T's Business number
(800-222-3000) as test numbers when doing interop because of this very

- Darren Schreiber


On 7/27/11 1:05 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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