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10 Reasons a Port Order May Be Rejected

For some companies, telephones are the lifeblood of a business. When your customers are placing orders, changing phone numbers is not an option.
Porting phone numbers can be challenging and frustrating. The most frustrating thing about port rejections is that they don’t happen right away. What I mean by that is it takes the carrier 2-3 weeks before they come back to me with the rejection — a big waste of time.
Losing carriers don’t make it easy as it often means a loss of revenue for them. Understanding the process and requirements will help you avoid some of the common pitfalls. Here are 10 factors that can cause your orders to be rejected:
  1. Not an authorized user on the account. Most telcos have a list of people who are allowed to make changes to your account. If you are not on that list, you are out of luck. You may have had so much turnover in your company that nobody remains. In that case, you’ll need to ask the telco how to update the list. It usually involves a letter from a VP on company letterhead – a what?
  2. Name on Letter of Agency (LOA) must match exactly. This is similar to #1, but it highlights the need for attention to details. For some port orders, the telco requires written signatures on the order. We complied, filling out the proper form and requisite signature. We’ve all heard the phrase to “cross your Ts and dot your Is.” I had a port request rejected because the signature on my order was “Darin Ward,” but my signature on file was “Darin L. Ward.” That’s right – my order was rejected for missing my middle initial.
  3. Features or PIC freeze remain on the circuit. Most aren’t this frustrating, but Avema recently rejected my port request because my circuit had “features” on it. I was doing a full port (all the numbers). Confused, I asked which features were preventing the port. They said I’d have to submit a ticket to find out. I did that. A week went by and didn’t hear from them. I called, and they said it was three-way-calling. I then submitted a ticket to remove the feature and resubmitted the port request. All of this took several months. In addition to the more common LD PIC freeze, it’s also possible to have a change freeze on the local service. All locks or freezes on the account must be removed.
  4. Lack of specificity. With some carriers, we can simply order a full port and call it a day. But often, when we submit a full port, we still need to list every number on the account. Miss a number, and it will be rejected. Ask why and about a week later they’ll answer saying a number was omitted. Ask which number, and you probably won’t receive an answer. This is why CSRs are so important.
  5. Incorrect CSRs. We’ve all been made to believe that CSRs are 100% accurate all the time, but that’s not the case. I’m currently dealing with two offices in North America that have missing numbers on the CSRs. It’s a painfully slow and tedious process that hasn’t yet been corrected. In these cases, the carriers don’t seem to have a good process of making corrections. It’s best to work closely with your service manager and frequently communicate with them.
  6. Incorrect company name. This one is a common issue in my environment, as a large enterprise with a history of mergers & acquisitions, and it highlights the necessity of getting an invoice copy. The port request must reflect the name on the invoice, and it must be perfect, even if the spelling is wrong. This includes periods or abbreviations like "Inc. or "Co" that may exist in the name. Any mismatch, no matter how small, can produce a rejection.
  7. BTN conflict. There are times when a partial port is needed, and the BTN (Billing Telephone Number) is among the list. In these cases, the port order will certainly be rejected. Porting the BTN isn’t typically acceptable on a partial port. The BTN must first be reassigned, which will require a separate order. This order must specify the desired new BTN. Once the BTN is reassigned (and that order is closed), try the port request again. If it’s rejected again, you may need to wait a billing cycle or two, order a new CSR to confirm the change, then submit the port order. All of this can take several months.
  8. In correct address. Having an incorrect address may not seem possible. After all, the carrier is providing service, and it must be correct. But I’ve seen several factors cause inaccuracies. Multi-building campus environments can be confusing. Telco services may be delivered to more than one location as requirements may change over time. Also, I’ve seen suite numbers changed either through reassignment by the landlord, or the tenant moves and extends services to a new suite. An incorrect suite number is enough for a port order to be rejected.
  9. Pending orders. If there’s a pending order on the account, new orders will be rejected. Carriers will accept new orders, sit on them for a week or two, then reject them if they discover another order in the system for the same account. This includes old orders (perhaps 6 months) that they forgot to close. Around here, we call this pending on pending. Carriers can’t handle more than a single order at a time.
  10. Not possible. Sometimes, it’s just not possible to port a number, and there are various reasons. Some carriers in rural communities have exemptions to number porting. Additionally, if you plan to move voice wireline service from one location to another, it may not be possible if the new location resides in a different rate center. Fortunately, cloud-based VoIP helps us avoid this limitation.
Tips for Porting Success
I’ve personally experienced every scenario above and know how frustrating it can be. These experiences have taught me to go into each project prepared. Even then, I still receive rejections.
I begin each project with the question, “Is it really necessary to port?” Are our numbers widely known among many clients? Then, I probably do need to port. But if it’s a small office with little client interaction and the business is indifferent, then perhaps a port order can be avoided.
Four things can be done to increase your chance of porting success. They include:
  1. Obtaining a copy of the CSR
  2. Making sure you are authorized to make changes on the account
  3. Obtaining a copy of the most recent invoice. Check the company name, BTN, and address (if shown)
  4. Checking for locks on the account such as changes or PIC freezes
There is a hack that I have used in the past, but it doesn’t always work. Experience and judgement is your best guide when deciding to employ this method.
Step 1 - RCF the number(s) you want to port
Step 2 - When the RCF is complete, submit your port order
The reason this can be handy is that when porting numbers from a wireline circuit, the order is considered to be “complex.” Conversely, when porting from an RCF account, the order is considered to be “simple.” This works best when the RCF’d numbers are moved onto a new account because that new account with only RCF services on it’ll be considered “simple.” The port order that follows may be “complex” if the RCF services remain on the wireline account.
“Simple” port orders can take 2-3 weeks, and “complex” orders typically take 6-8 weeks. Your mileage may vary.
This isn’t a complete list of influencing factors, but rather the most common issues that I’ve experienced. I hope you find these tips to be helpful.