[VoiceOps] Bizarre toll-free routing issue

Scott Berkman scott at sberkman.net
Mon Aug 27 19:54:40 EDT 2012

TF routing can actually be extremely complex, and the key to what's going on
is usually the RESPORG as they can see (and control) what carrier the calls
hit, over what trunks, and when.  Things can in fact change based on load,
originating carrier, TOD, outages, multi-carrier load balancing, etc.

One problem is it's the "owner" (RESPORG's end customer) of the TFN that the
RESPORG usually will talk to about this, so if it is a routing issue you'd
probably have the best luck if you can get a contact on the dialed end.

If it turns out the routing is simple, they you just have to push from your
side out until you find out where the problem is happening and why.  Perhaps
they have bad trunks to a specific carrier or some TNs provisioned locally
that shouldn't be (or the next guy does).

If the routing is complex, then you have to find out in which cases the
calls are failing and see if that provides a hint.  Sometimes the RESPORG
will be willing to make a change to help you troubleshoot.

That said, if this is a common occurrence on a specific origination carrier
you are using, there is probably a bigger issue to address and you might try
correlating multiple cases together and hoping their engineers can find the
commonality once you get a ticket escalated.

Good luck,


-----Original Message-----
From: voiceops-bounces at voiceops.org [mailto:voiceops-bounces at voiceops.org]
On Behalf Of Jay Hennigan
Sent: Monday, August 27, 2012 2:42 PM
To: VoiceOps
Subject: [VoiceOps] Bizarre toll-free routing issue

This is driving us nuts.  We use Inetwork/Bandwidth/Dash to terminate SIP
calls to toll-free numbers.

About one out of every 50 calls results in something I have never seen
before.  The caller hears an IVR of a company other than the one dialed.
 After a few seconds, it skips to a different, totally unrelated IVR, then
another, and so on.  It seems to be related to load, occurs more often
during peak calling hours, rarely if ever off-hours.  We have never gotten
connected to a live operator, only IVRs.  The jump to a different IVR occurs
after the initial greeting if we don't enter any DTMF.

The numbers we've had problems with are:

866-841-0143 - AAA
888-792-4900 - Franchise Tax Board (CA)
800-627-8797 - Anthem Blue Cross
877-776-2436 - Drive Insurance

I'm told that AAA and Franchise Tax Board terminate on AT&T and Anthem and
Drive terminate on Verizon.

Getting Inetwork to fix it results in, "An intermediate carrier that shall
not be named" (Voldemort?) says that another downstream carrier says that
the customer has equipment problems.

Call to 8668410143 supposed to answer "Triple A" went to Pacific Western
Sales, jumps to ATT, then Child Support Division of the Office of Attorney
General, then Free 411 then Comcast over the 1 minute 51 second duration of
the  call.

8006278797 duration 1:40, was supposed to be Anthem but answered with Wells
Fargo, then skipped to Employment Development Department then Classic

8006278797 duration 2:28, was supposed to be Anthem but answered with Wells
Fargo, then skipped to Citicard then S.M.U.D.

This is tough to troubleshoot.  It takes multiple calls to replicate as the
vast majority go through without issue.  Most of our customers just assume
that they mis-dialed and try again.  Where we become painfully aware of it
is when a customer has one of these numbers on speed-dial and it becomes
obvious that it isn't a mis-dial.

Has anyone else on the list run across this?  Other than "Don't use
Inetwork", any ideas on getting it fixed?  My fear is that it may not be
Inetwork but something beyond them, perhaps the companies involved outsource
their call centers to a common hosted service that is having issues.

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