What to do if your phone doesn't ring when people call

Your friends and family tell you they try to call and either it just rings and rings or maybe they hear a recording or fax type tones. Meanwhile, on your end, the phone doesn't ring at all when they try to call. Clearly there's a problem.

Start with the basics

If you people aren't able to call you, confirm you have dial tone and signal is getting to your home. To do this, locate your NID, plug in a phone and listen. For step-by-step instructions on how to do this, read "Troubleshooting for no dial tone or noise on your phone line."

If you have dial tone at the NID, next, check the equipment in your home for damage. A problem with your phone, cords or jacks could be why calls aren't reaching you.

Look for simple fixes

Some of these suggestions are covered in the equipment article we've already suggested you read, but since they're so common (and easy to fix) we want to draw your attention to them -- as well as some other possible call silencers.

  • Were you looking for peace and quiet, turned OFF the ringer and then forgot about it? Is it possible a child's been playing with the phone and accidentally turned the ringer OFF?
  • If you have a cordless phone, the batteries could be weak. Swap them out for some fresh ones and see if that solves the problem.
  • If you are a Pure Broadband customer and only have our Internet service, then you may have dial tone, but you do not have true telephone service. Customers are not able to call in on Pure Broadband lines.
  • Have you paid your bill? If you haven't, your account could be suspended. You may still have dial tone, but that's about it. At some point, your account will be permanently disconnected, and you won't have dial tone any longer. For how to re-activate your service, read "Need your service restored?"
  • If you put a hold on your account because you went away for a few months -- and now are back -- people won't be able to call you until you reactivate your service. Chat with us and we can help.
  • If you don't have a fax machine but callers tell you they hear fax tones, the problem could be your satellite receiver. Try unplugging the receiver from the phone line and retesting. If the problem goes away, the issue is the receiver, and you need to contact your satellite TV provider to get it fixed.
  • Check the weather next time you experience this problem. Electrical storms, heavy precipitation, excessively strong winds and other gifts from Mother Nature can interfere with phone reception -- particularly if you're using a cordless phone. If this problem only happens when the weather is foul, try again when the storm has passed and/or switch to a corded phone.
  • Sometimes your phone equipment isn't the source of your phone problems. Occasionally, other seemingly random home equipment interferes with your service. Check if your computer modem, caller ID box, fax machine or alarm/security system are stopping people from calling you.

Check your calling features

If people report getting a message (that you didn't record) when they call your number, they may be hearing a message associated with one of your calling features. 

The party you are calling does not accept blocked calls. If you are calling from a blocked number, hang up, press*82 and redial.

  • Callers get this message if you have anonymous call rejection turned ON.
  • Anonymous call rejection blocks calls from PRIVATE and ANONYMOUS numbers.
  • Callers who don't unblock their number cannot call you (unless you turn this feature OFF).

Your call has been completed. However, the party you are calling is not receiving calls at this time.

  • Callers hear this message if you have call curfew turned ON.
  • This feature blocks all incoming (and outgoing) calls during certain times of the day. 
  • Unless callers are on your "authorized caller list," they cannot get through to you during those hours.

For more information about these features and/or to confirm your calling features aren't blocking your incoming/outgoing calls, learn how to manage popular calling features

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