Margaret* had held the same phone number for many years. Anytime she changed phone provider, they ported her number across. However, she seldom used the line, and the number was eventually disconnected due to inactivity.
Margaret contacted her provider to ask if the number was still available and if she could have it back. The provider confirmed that the phone number was not currently in use, but it was now ported to another provider. The customer service representative contacted the other provider, and the number was released. The provider confirmed this to Margaret, and they began arranging for a connection to be run. However, during the process their call disconnected, and the connection order was not completed.
The provider could not reach Margaret to complete the order so placed the phone number on hold for seven days in case she called back to complete the order. Unfortunately, Margaret did not complete the order and the phone number was released to the number pool and assigned to another customer.
Two weeks later Margaret called her provider and discovered that the number had been given to another customer.
The provider contacted the new owner of the number to see if they would agree to a change of number. However, this was unsuccessful, and the provider explained to Margaret that they could not force a disconnection of another customer.
Margaret felt she had been misled and had received poor service by not being connected in a timely manner. She submitted a complaint to TDR and a Resolution Practitioner was assigned to the case. Mediation was unsuccessful, so the case proceeded to adjudication where TDR makes a decision on the matter.
The Resolution Practitioner focused on the core issues of the complaint. While there were some customer service failings, these were not deliberate and there were mitigating circumstances such as the COVID-19 lockdown and the disruptions that it caused. The Resolution Practitioner also noted that the phone number was allocated fairly to the new customer who now had use of the phone number and a contract with the provider. Because of this, the Resolution Practitioner was unable to order disconnection and reconnection for the complainant.
The complaint was not upheld.
* Names have been changed.