Transferring your business number to a new service provider shouldn’t take a lot of time or trouble. Sometimes, however, number porting turns into a giant headache. When you’re transferring your number to a new provider, the last thing you want to hear is, “The port was rejected.”
What does porting your number mean?
Simply put, when you change service providers for your phone service, porting your number refers to keeping the same number you had with your previous carrier. Businesses prefer to port their number rather than accept a new one to minimize disruption for their clients or customers. Sometimes, a number simply can’t get ported. According to the FCC, “If you are moving to a new geographic area, you may not be able to keep your current phone number when changing providers. Also, some rural wireline service providers may obtain waivers for the porting requirement from state authorities.”
Most of the time, however, porting your number is just part and parcel of switching carriers. If you haven’t cancelled service with your old provider first or you aren’t trying to go with a new carrier who doesn’t have an agreement with your current one, you should be able to port your number with ease. The process usually costs nothing and takes anywhere from several days to a few weeks.
Why was your number port rejected? And what can you do about it?
Most of the time, you can prevent your number port from getting rejected simply by making sure the information you provide to your new provider is exactly what’s listed on your phone bill. Don’t have a phone bill? Unsure which specific information your carrier has on file for you? Just contact your carrier before you try to switch and ask for a Customer Service Report (CSR). Carriers that are losing a phone number are notorious for rejecting a port request for the tiniest discrepancy. So while you have them on the phone, this is a good time to ask if there’s anything else they will require to release your number.
Here Are 8 Possible Reasons Your Number Port Got Rejected
1. Personal Information Mismatch
The most common reason a carrier rejects your number port comes down to a basic data mismatch. They have one name and address, and you supplied them with something just a little bit different. When you submit a Letter of Authorization (LOA), the data it contains need to match that on the Customer Service Record (CSR). That includes user name, service address, and zip code.
Don’t just submit your current address; it has to be exactly the address they have filed away for you. This sounds easy, but it can be tricky because the address on file with the losing carrier may not be your current address, or even anything close to what you thought it was. The problem could arise from something as simple as a typo, or maybe a former intern in your office messed things up on the initial forms. Never mind, it’s an easy fix. You can solve this problem by getting a copy of the CSR and then resubmitting your LOA with the information to match.
2. Invalid Zip Code, Incorrect Billing Telephone Number, or Incorrect Account Number
An incorrect address can get you red flagged by the losing carrier, for sure, but so can something as simple as a single wrong digit in your zip code, telephone number, or account number. A mistyped keystroke can mean a lot of headache so double and triple-check these items to make sure they’re perfectly spelled and accurate. What if you’re still getting an error message from the carrier? You could have moved recently – or even a while back – and the carrier has the wrong zip code for you. Alternatively, a staff member might have accidentally submitted the wrong zip code to the original carrier from the beginning by accident. That’s why it’s good to get your CSR before you do anything else.
3. Unauthorized Contact or Customer Signature
Only one person, the primary account holder, is authorized to make a port request for any number. Just because you are using the number, that doesn’t necessarily give you the authority to request a transfer. If anyone other than the primary account holder puts his or her name on the port request, the losing carrier will turn it down for sure. What you are the primary account holder and you’re still getting pushback? Could the original forms have been submitted in the name of a business partner, spouse, or romantic partner? Could there be a typo? Did you start going by your middle name instead of your first name in the last few years? A little creative problem-solving work should turn up a solution for you.
4. Invalid or Incorrect PIN
If you’re like many people, you may think your only PIN (Personal Identification Number) is the one you use at the bank. In fact, you probably have a PIN for certain internet transactions, another for various secure access vehicles such as cars or doors, and another for restricted websites. And since there are 10,000 possible combinations for a four-digit number, you could be guessing forever, if you get the PIN wrong.
This tends to be tricky for people because they assume that if they have never used a PIN for the account with their provider, then it doesn’t exist.
Ideally, you’ll protect your PINs in a safe but accessible way such as hiding it in a fake contact on a cell phone. That doesn’t always work, though, because you may never have seen your PIN before. You could have had one the whole time but didn’t realize it. Sometimes a PIN isn’t even generated until you submit the port request. Here’s what you need to remember:
1) All wireless carriers require a PIN (usually 4 digits), or in rare cases some kind of password, to port away a number to a different carrier.
2) If you don’t know your PIN code, or you’re not sure if there is one, call your carrier and JUST ASK; they will tell you what it is.
3) If a PIN is required and you don’t provide it, you can be sure that your port request will be rejected.
5. Number is Locked
If you use Google Voice, you might get this response. If you don’t use your number for 30 days, Google Voice locks it up. You can also lock your own number at any time. Google Voice has a special feature for their numbers that many of their users aren’t even aware of. When you decide to port your GV number to another carrier, they will charge you a $3 fee, and you will need to “unlock” your number.
It’s quick and easy to do this with Google, but it does cost three bucks. A simpler, cheaper solution is to go to the Google Voice unlock page and select the option to lock your Google number.
Either way – pay the $3 or do it yourself – unlocking your Google Voice number is easily and quickly done, but if you neglect this step, your losing carrier will reject your request to port.
6. Inactive Account or Account Not in Good Standing
Has it been awhile since you used the number you are attempting to port? Have you missed a payment or two? If so, then there’s a chance your provider has labeled your account “inactive” or deleted it entirely, in which case the number cannot be ported. It can be surprisingly easy for these things to happen. Maybe you paid your bill but accidentally put the wrong account number on it or sent it to a different vendor. Mixups like that happen all the time.
Unfortunately, fixing them can prove a pain. You’ll need to get in touch with your losing carrier and resolve the issue. That can mean a long wait on hold. You can try working through a chatbot on the carrier’s website to get it resolved or even posting for help on a community page, but undoing this little problem is likely to take some time and trouble.
Unpaid balances have the potential to disallow your port. Also, prepaid wireless numbers (some of the toughest to port) that have no available credit cannot be ported. You must add credit to a prepaid account before a port will be permitted.
7. All Data Mismatch
“All data mismatch” means that every piece of information you provided was wrong, so it’s possible that the number is on a different account than you thought it was—or you submitted the wrong number. Also be aware that if you are porting your Google number to a different provider, you will need to provide your new carrier with your Google account number and PIN. If you don’t, that can result in getting an “all data mismatch” flag.
In general, though, if your porting agent tells you that your request got rejected for this reason, consider whether the number you are attempting to port actually belonged to you.
8. Spelling Errors
Have you exhausted every possibility for your port request getting rejected? Try double checking the spelling of everything you submitted, including first names, last names, and middle names. Also check the spelling of street and city names along with the digits in your address and zip code. Look at the account number. Is even one digit off? What about the phone number? Are you certain sure your fingers didn’t slip on the keys when you typed it in?
Once again, losing carriers are losing business they would rather keep. That means they will reject your port request for even the tiniest inconsistency, so it’s a good idea to double-and-triple check everything. When your port gets rejected, the best thing you can do is communicate with your old service provider to find out exactly why they are rejecting the port. A helpful customer care agent can probably find the source of the trouble for you.
Don’t Shoot the Messenger
Switching carriers under the best of circumstances can feel stressful. You want to make sure this is the right decision. The process is eating up your day. It’s annoying to have to find all these details. And on top of it all, you’re wondering why your number port got rejected.
But in the midst of a trying time, don’t forget to be nice to the new provider’s team member who is facilitating the port. After all your port represents new business for them, so they are working hard to make sure your number gets transferred successfully. Keep in mind that prying away a number from your old provider tends to be very difficult, and if it gets rejected, it probably wasn’t the facilitator’s fault.
Finally, if your losing carrier rejects your port request, don’t panic. Chances are, the problem was due to some piece of information you submitted that just doesn’t match what they have in their records. It doesn’t mean that you – or the losing carrier – is wrong. But matching information can be tough and take longer than expected.
Take the time to call your provider, ask for a Customer Service Report, and submit it again. The process might take a little longer than you anticipated, but it’s very seldom that a number is flat-out not portable.
1. “Keeping Your Telephone Number When Changing Service Providers,” Federal Communications Commission, https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/keeping-your-telephone-number-when-changing-service-providers
Stephanie is the Marketing Director at Talkroute and has been featured in Forbes, Inc, and Entrepreneur as a leading authority on business and telecommunications.
Stephanie is also the chief editor and contributing author for the Talkroute blog helping more than 100k entrepreneurs to start, run, and grow their businesses.