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Google Voice Lost My Number | How I Got It Back

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My Story of When Google Voice Lost My Number

Google Voice lost my number August 12th, 2012, at around 5pm central time. I was able to log into Google Voice and check my messages at around 1pm that day. However logging in around 5pm the number had suddenly vanished and changed to another number without any notice.
 
I ported my main business line (414) 202-6605 over from Sprint to Google Voice on May 21st. My ported number was then randomly changed to (619) 356-1170 on August 12th. The main number would give callers a dead signal, and was no longer being shown within my Google Voice account.
 

This is what I was now seeing in my Google Voice panel:

New Google Voice Number

My business runs on that number

I read the warnings about not putting all of your eggs in one basket. But I was so dreamy eyed about Google that I didn’t take the proper precautions. Any time I read about some ones Google account being closed, or losing their Google docs data I dismissed it as something that could never happen. Well it happened, and just as I had about ten thousand business cards delivered with that number on them:
 

Business cards were just delivered.

Buisness Cards
 

This sign is printed on our front door with the same number:

sultan solutions front door
 

How To Let Google Know They Lost My Number

It took a few minutes for the initial shock to ware off, I reassured myself that it must be a simple mix-up and a quick phone call to Google Support would straighten everything out. I went searching through the Google voice support page to try to find an email address or phone number where I could get a hold of a Google voice rep. After looking around for close to half an hour I realized there wasn’t any way to directly get a hold of Google. The only way to report an issue with Google voice was to use their support forum.
 

No direct way to get a hold of Google Voice Support. Users are forwarded to a Forum.

 
Google Support Forum
 

Reporting My Lost Number To The Google Voice Support Forum

I accepted that in order to resolve this issue I would have to resort to their support forum, my hope was that Google checked their support forums often. I assumed they would resolve this issue within a couple of hours or maybe a day at worst.
 
After submitting the trouble ticket I looked around for other tickets with the same issue, I found a couple and realized that it could potentially be months before Google addressed the issue. It appears that the Google voice support forum is manned by volunteers who have limited administrative abilities. Serious issues such as lost numbers would have to be escalated to a Google employee, however there was no guarantee or way to verify anything.
 

How to get a hold of Google Voice Support

  1. Go the the Google Voice Support Forum
    google voice support forum first step
  2. Select Your Issue From The List
    How To Fix Google Voice
  3. Click the “Post a Question” button.
    google-voice-forum-submit-ticket
  4. Play the waiting game

 

Turning To Reddit For Help

I assumed that getting my number back would be a lengthy process and was getting ready to just abandon the phone number altogether. Before I did that, I remembered the popular social site Reddit.com has a subreddit, r/Google. I have seen Google employees respond to questions in there on a few ocasions, I figured it’s worth a shot. I put together a post titled “So out of the blue Google voice lost my phone number today”, I had a glimmer of hope that some one would see it, and offer some advice.
 
It just so happens I was in luck, a Google employee saw it and sent the problem into the Google Voice bug system. I was really thankful and excited that this would help resolve the issue in a timely manner.
 

So How Did I Get My Number Back?

About a week passed with out any updates, I emailed every one I knew and had them call me at a new temp number until this issue got resolved. I was getting ready to give up, I tried every method I could to see what the status of the issue was, the support forum, Reddit, Twitter, everything I could think of.
 
At the end of it all there was a glimmer of light. I would check daily if Google Voice allowed me to re-add my number they lost and then all of a sudden it appears in their database.
 
google-voice-number-back
 
My number was associated with Google once again, previous to this a Google support forum volunteer claimed Google no longer had my number:
 
[pullquote_right]Not only is the number not associated with your Google Voice account, but also, it is not associated with any Google Voice account.
SnerdlyBoscoTop August 13th 2012 [/pullquote_right]
 
So a couple of days went by, still no answer from any one at Google. Then all of a sudden on August 17th I went through my normal routine of searching on a semi hourly basis the Google Voice data base of numbers. Out of no where I was able to “repurchase” the number the Google Voice lost.
 
Repurcahse-my-google-voice-number
 

The Aftermath

I was both relived and extremely angry, no one at Google ever addressed anything; no one ever contacted me during this entire process. Google lost the number that I paid to port into their system, and made it publicly available for anyone to buy. As you can guess I didn’t wait around. I went ahead and repurchased my number.
 
I’m afraid to port the number out anywhere else since there is no form of contact if something goes wrong. It has currently been working for the last few weeks with out incident, I have my fingers crossed that this continues. I updated the good folks at r/google. We shared the same sentiments: Google Voice is a great service, however it isn’t ready for business applications. At the end of the day I was being naive to think that it was. I am still a huge Google fan. I own a Samsung Galaxy 3, a Nexus 7, run over 10 paid Google Biz Apps accounts, and will continue to use and recommend Google services to my clients and friends. I just wish they paid attention to their customers support tickets.
 

 

Share Your Thoughts

Have you had a similar experience? Do you currently use Google Voice for business as well? Is there an alternative that you would recommend? Let us know what you think, leave a comment below.

 
 

  • http://twitter.com/offordscott Scott Offord ★

    Samer, That sucks. Too bad you had to go through that. But good thing you got it back!

    • http://www.sultansolutions.com/ Samer Sultan

      Thanks Scott, I was really happy to get it back!

    • Penny lynn Viego

      Ya

  • Ed Douglas

    Thats just crazy, I haven’t heard of this happening before.

    • http://www.sultansolutions.com/ Samer Sultan

      Hey Ed, wish I could say the same.

  • Joe

    This does not surprise me at all. People do not realize that using many of Googles services is like saving your only copy of something on a questionable hard drive. it’s like playing Russian roulette. The first time you have a problem with a Google service and try to get it fixed will mark the day you last thought Google was great. Check the support forums for hundreds/thousands of former Google fans. Now I think of Google as a bug zapper. it looks cool and everyone else is hanging out there; but you never see the dead ones in the droptray until you get zapped yourself.

    • http://www.sultansolutions.com/ Samer Sultan

      Great point Joe, I think your bug zapper analogy is pretty damn funny :D

    • Cory Gross

      I have always known this about Google. I still think Google is great. I have never had a incident such as this happen to me. I am a Software Engineer that lives clear across the country and I have no affiliations with Google that would bias me. I think that more people should know about these incidents however, and to look at the Google on the internet as a machine. A machine that is so vast that no company could possible man all its facets at any time. This is the reason you can find copyrighted works all over YouTube, until a month later they are finally taken down, take-down requests having been submitted mere hours after it was posted. If you insisted that Google, the company, fully supported the public in using this machine, then the price to do so would go from free to to more than most are going to pay.

      • Penny lynn Viego

        Very interesting point. I like this perspective.

    • Penny lynn Viego

      I concur.

  • http://buzzcoastin.posterous.com BuzzCoastin

    The only thing worse than Google Customer Service is… oh wait, there’s no such thing as customer service at Google and nothing could be worse.

    Google would be the last place I would buy anything; with Google, even free sometimes isn’t worth it.

    • John Haugeland

      Whereas there is no such thing as Google customer service, if you genuinely think there couldn’t be anything worse, you’ve never been a Dell customer.

      I’m still waiting for my dead three week old laptop’s warranty to be honored, four years later.

      They still call me periodically to let me know they’re working on it.

  • Albert

    Why port in the first place? use a proper carrier for a proper business

    • http://www.sultansolutions.com/ Samer Sultan

      Albert,
      You’re right. The calls I receive are relatively minor, so I didn’t put much thought into what carrier I chose. Clearly, I should have.

  • snkjr

    Well I hope this helps you decide that nothing really beats a conventional telephone service. “Tried and tested” exists as a phrase for a reason. I suggest you switch back from Google Voice.

  • http://twitter.com/chepurnoy Alex Chepurnoy

    It’s better not to use Google services for business at all. Customer support quality is like rubbish. And many bugs happen

  • rohanrsingh

    Given that you paid to port it in, and had to pay to repurchase it, I think small claims court is a legitimate avenue. At the very least, you would be raising Google’s attention to this kind of issue.

    • Fuxy

      good idea if they don’t take bug reports mabe lwsuites will get their attention.

    • Josh

      Seriously. Do this. It’s a small gesture, but it might draw some attention.

    • http://www.sultansolutions.com/ Samer Sultan

      Hi rohanrsingh,
      A Google rep called me today, so things should be sorted out shortly. Thanks for showing me another option though.

  • http://www.jasonhanley.com/ Jason Hanley

    Very unfortunate. Even with a free ‘beta’ service, you’d think they’d have some way to report critical issues like that. Stories like this definitely erode confidence in Google.

    99% of the time their stuff works great, but there’s always that small, lingering chance that everything just blows up.

  • http://www.craigtumblison.com/ Craig Tumblison

    I’m glad to hear you got your number back.

    I think it is time that Google opened Voice up as a Google Apps service. Allow it to remain free for personal users, but charge for business usage. This would also allow businesses that use Google Voice access to the (quite fantastic) business support teams, and of course, it would come with a proper SLA.

    I’m quite positive businesses (small and large alike) would have absolutely no problem paying for the service if it came with a SLA and proper support channels.

  • Mohammad Ersan

    a lot of people complains about Google Customer Support, I had an bug in my “Developer Console” and contacted them 2 times, and without a reply, since that I admit Google doesn’t have Customer Support, and am happy you got your number back.

  • http://bathsalts.tumblr.com/ bath salts

    This is utterly pathetic coming from Google. They should know you cannot release a product and not support it properly. You’d think with a product like Google Voice they would have some customer service reps available by phone.

  • Carl Gardner

    This problem scales out to include other services like Google tag manager – “a great service, but isn’t ready for (enterprise) business applications.”

  • mesocyclone

    Google is a company with Asperger’s syndrome. They just don’t “get” people.

    Your experience seems to be typical of Google. They have nifty technology but they have no idea how badly they treat users. I always expect bugs and missing features.. They don’t get, or are too arrogant to listen to from customers – so they don’t realize one or more of their their “brilliant” inventions has a problem or could be better.

    They have the arrogance of Apple without the excellent product and support.

    I wonder if they realize they are slowly pissing off the whole world?

    Even so, I have two phone numbers there. But I have an outstanding problem – Skype cannot send one of them a text message, and I need to do that to have my Skype caller ID show my Google Voice number. But… it worked for the other one, so one of my numbers is set up right.

  • Happy Google Customer

    You get what you pay for. If you run your business through Google services, don’t be cheap, pay the $5/month for a Google Apps for Business account and then you get an 877 number which you can call, 24/7, with any problems. One phone call would have cleared this right up.

    • Peter

      Heh. Right. I have one of those Google Apps for Business accounts. The only way to get anything fixed is still to call up friends I know who work at Google, and have them file an internal support ticket.

      Aside from the advertising part of the corporation — which I have never dealt with personally, but have heard good things about (from Google employees), Google is not a service organization. They are designed to funnel you to where they want you to go.

  • Paul r

    Customer service is for customers. What you fail to understand is you’re the product.

    • Jack L

      That’s just completely wrong. You should be more careful about parroting things you read online. The “You’re the product” line could be applied to things like Search or GMail for free users (in which case “you’re the product” involves the fact that they make money by advertising to you), but in this case, OP _purchased_ his Google Voice number. That makes him a customer.

  • Anon

    This seems like a still major failure on the part of Google. There never is any easy way to contact Google directly and they’re always pushing for automation. Hopefully they’ll eventually realize that you need some real people for this.

  • anon2

    This sort of thing happens, file a formal complaint with your local PUC. That will get their attention

  • Vincent Paquet

    Same
    Sorry to read about your issue. Will look into why your # was disconnected from your account.
    FYI, after a # gets removed from an account, only that account can sign up for it for 3 months, so no one else would have been able to sign up for it. You certainly shouldn’t have been charged for it. Will have your account credited and look into this.
    Thanks
    Vincent Paquet, Google Voice

    • http://akarambir.in/ Karambir Singh Nain

      Honest question: Why google representative reply when issue is spread like this and not in the forums where they should? He was a paying for your service.

    • http://www.sultansolutions.com/ Samer Sultan

      Vincent,
      Thank you for your response. I did receive the credit on my account. It’s good to know that no one else would’ve been able to access my number.

  • SoWaat

    I know google pretty well and in my opinion, google voice is an orphaned product at best. Google has been on a tear to close down services that they don’t regard as “core” to their mission — to know a lot about people and to serve them the best ads.(seriously… that other stuff about “organizing the world’s information etc.” is largely forgotten). Google voice is not even integrated with Android properly because Google has to play nice with the US carriers, who’d throw a fit if they thought google was in direct competition with them… and then where will be Android. I would not even use google voice for my personal phone number since I consider being reachable in emergencies by my family/friends to be of utmost importance… and google voice gives you no such guarantees.

  • wode

    We lost connectivity with Google services for a month (SSL errors). There simply is no way of contacting anybody at Google, even if you don’t need support but want to inform them about service interruptions.

    I don’t rely on any Google services for exactly this reason – always know whose door to knock on when things fail and whose responsibility it is to fix it. But my girlfriend – and her company – heavily rely on some Google services, and after browsing through the Google forum it seems there are a lot of people left out in the cold with problems that are clearly with Google’s infrastructure.

    Google has some cool services, but I think it’s unwise to rely on them for actual service.

  • Chris

    I had a similar experience. I had a lot of documents, spreadsheets, etc in Google docs. Then one day I’m locked out of my account for “security issues”. I followed Google’s procedure for account recovery by providing them my backup codes, but it was over a week until I got access again. As soon as I got access, I moved everything out of Google docs.

  • AK

    Please go to court and embed some “bug reports” in the legal notice. Maybe they’ll read it once their lawyers go running.

  • Frank Booth

    I hate that a large company can release apps that people depend on, and just unilaterally decide not to support them. Its the same thing with expensive video games – spend $60 on a title, and if you discover a bug that makes the game unplayable, they offer absolutely no solutions and you cannot even speak witgh a li e human. This is criminally irresponsible.

  • Nolon

    Man I’m just reading your story. Sorry bro. That sounds really horrible. :/ -Nolon

  • angel

    I have been for the last few days getting an internal server 500 error on my google business side of the house—which as well as you I use for business. I can’t access my phone number, my google account GV account, have a crap ton of business cards to include 10 websites with the number on it. I have received nothing from the google forums on whether or not they have looked into it, why this is happening, no email regarding the multiple hours on the phone nothing. Sad part is, I am a photographer and am now losing business because no one can reach me. I am to the point of giving up——I don’t understand this at all.

    • http://www.sultansolutions.com/ Samer Sultan

      Hi Angel, Sorry to hear about this issue. Try calling google apps support at this number 1-877-355-5787

      Let me know if that worked for you?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Gregory-Arthur/1508115737 Gregory Arthur

    The “we are Google, and we are so big that we don’t care” attitude is starting to rub people the wrong way. They lost my number when I updated my email address. All of my contacts and history are gone.. They have no customer solution and they don’t care!

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  • cchausis

    This just happened to me… my Google Voice number was just lost/changed without my knowledge.

  • Jeri Vespoli

    The FCC has the most sway with this, and any other issues with Google’s issuance and subsequent mishandling of phone numbers. Google is required to respond to FCC complaints within 45 days. I also had an issue with a Google Voice number randomly disappearing, and could not get it back. “The first time you have a problem with a Google service and try to get it fixed will mark the day you last thought Google was great.” #true

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