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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.