Create the option for customers to block unwanted calls and texts

As a Sprint customer, you are provided a web page to manage your number, where you can specify numbers to block for both incoming/outgoing calls as well as text messages.  I don't see any way of doing this on Ting.  It's very important to have this, as the surge of spam phone calls and texts is on the rise.  Since we pay for each call and text received, it's even more critical to have this option.

I'm sure this is isn't the first time it has been brought up.  Can anyone at Ting provide an update on where this stands on being considered?  Thanks!

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  • Maybe no discussion because everyone gave up?

    I have a plain flip phone so I need to rely on Ting to provide a way to block a phone number. I get a lot of spam calls, quite frustrating and time consuming. I have always loved Ting but am now checking other options

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  • Yes, that should work for texting. At the moment we can't block numbers from the Dashboard, though there are apps out there that can do it for you.

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  • I found that if you use Google voice as the number you give out, you can get very creative on the texts and calls. 

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  • I didn't know about the 9999 code -- very useful!

    Andrew, do you know of any app(s) that you'd recommend for this?

    True that, Daniel.  I do have a GV number, but I haven't yet figured out how to utilize it properly.  I don't see any issue with incoming calls, but when you call out on your Ting number, it doesn't show up as your GV number.  So, people will call back on the number they received.  Thus, you end up with two numbers known... kind of a mixed bag and not effective.

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  • I've never used one myself, so I can't give an objective answer as to what's good, but check out https://play.google.com/store/search?q=block+calls&c=apps for a few different apps.

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  • You can set up google voice to make all call with it. 

    http://support.google.com/voice/bin/topic.py?hl=en&topic=22030&p=googlevoice_inbox&rd=1#/answer/168519Choose which calls you want to make using Google Voice.

    You can choose to make all international calls via Google Voice, to take advantage of Google Voice’s low international calling rates; to be prompted each time you make a call; or to never use Google Voice for calls.

    If you signed into a Google Account that has a Google Voice number, you can also choose to make all calls via Google Voice. If you do, the people you call will see your Google Voice number as your Caller ID, instead of your phone number. 

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  • ^ Thank you, Daniel. Good to know about this.  I'll have to get the app installed and configured to see how it works.  :-)

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  • I had to put the free "Call Block" app on my wife's phone (the one being 'victimized' by a single 10-call per day spammer).  I did realize that option was available especially after reading Ting support threads.  However, I think a cleaner, more fool-proof, and techno-phobe friendly method would be one like Sprint has. (http://support.sprint.com/support/article/Block__restrict_or_allow_voice_calls_using_My_Sprint/case-fk158645-20101105-114511?question_box=block%20phone%20numbers&id16=block%20phone%20numbers)

    It would not require considering which version of android, which phone, or even if you had a smart phone or a "talk-only feature phone", the method and procedure for blocking would be the same.  I.e., I think a device / firmware agnostic solution is the better course and would vote to add this feature as a Ting account management level feature.

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  • I have a feature phone that's getting unwanted calls that we'd like to block, so an Android app is useless for us. Would it really be that much work to add this feature?

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  • Joshua,

    Sprint has the capability to do so, it just whether Ting can negotiate some sort of "pass through" from its account management features.

    The problem with call block apps (at least the ones I've tried) is that the calls still make it to your phone - and therefore count against your plan minutes - then end up as messages in a call block log or on in your voice mail - that a call was blocked.  In my case, even though the phone doesn't ring, the calls end up accounting for a significant portion of our usage. 

    It turns out the calls are coming from a mis-programmed county government centralized phone system.  Their IT department has owned the error is working on the problem which will take time since the have several thousand internal trunk numbers to search for the error.  I turns out that calls to specific numbers on their system that come in while another call is on that line get bounced to my wife's phone.

    Fortunately we have a cooperative and responsive contact at the "offending" end of the problem.  Were it not for that, in the absence of an account level block that does not even let the call get to our phone, our only REAL solution would be to change phone numbers - a real PITA after 15 years with the same one!

    Personally, even if such an account level blocking function was only available as an add-on for a buck or two a month, I believe it would still be worth pursuing as a Ting account feature.

     

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  • At the moment we don't have access to that option from Sprint®*. Whether that will change in the future I can't say, but for the time being the only way to avoid unwanted calls on feature phones is a number change.

    *Sprint is a trademark of Sprint.

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  • I realize this isn't necessarily the right choice for everyone, but it is a reason to port your number to Google Voice. You have so many ways to handle calls to your number. It only works for inbound calls on feature phones, but that might just be enough. 

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  • This really is something that is very necessary. Bottom line is if I still had teenager on my account, the lack of call blocking features would be a deal breaker. It is that important.

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  • I am currently receiving regular unwanted calls shown as "unknown" on my AT&T phone. I currently use a "silent ring" address book entry for "known" unwanted numbers. Don't see a way to do that with "unknown" callers yet.  It appears AT&T would like me to pay an extra $5 to allow me to choose or block incoming call numbers using "Smart Limit".

    Having a call blocking feature, including from "unknown" callers, on Ting probably would have resulted in me switching completely to Ting, including a new smart phone purchase.  Sigh, still waiting for that little extra to convince me to switch.

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  • My wife and I use Ting for our emergency phone with an old Sprint phone of hers.  We do not give out that number--we always forward our "old" cell numbers when we go on a trip or whatever. 

    Our current issue is that whomever had the Ting number before us has some out-of-area spammers calling our phone, never leaving a message, but as a result, we have to leave our phone on "silent" all the time at night for sure.

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  • My son is a low-tech person with a feature phone and no interest in Google Voice. I wish we could block all the spam calls he is receiving that are intended for whoever had his number before.

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  • I'll add my support for this feature as well.  My daughter gets many calls a day from some of the same numbers.  She keeps her phone on vibrate all of the time anyway, but the filling up the call log with all of these numbers she doesn't want is a bit annoying.  I set up a contact called "Telemarketer", and added the most common 5 phone numbers into it, so I can have the phone send them all directly to voice mail, so that's something, but they'll still show up as missed calls.

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  • Please, please, please add a call blocking feature

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  • A call blocking feature on Ting wouldn't hurt but I think most people would find Daniel's suggestion of using Google Voice and it's spam blocking more effective. Also there's a lot of good info in Zarthan's digital trends link.

    However, I believe the first thing everyone should do immediately after receiving a new number is register it at https://www.donotcall.gov/ and have it placed on the "Do Not Call List".

    Yes the website has that 90's look and feel but it really is the governments do not call registry.

    You need a valid email address in order to get the confirmation email, and it takes 31 days to kick in ... also while not nearly as effective as when it began a decade+ ago it does help, plus it gives you some legal standing when you feel like reporting a spammer. The FTC collects more than $100 million in fines this way.

    That said I like the Free android app Mr. Number https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mrnumber.blocker&hl=en It's really free and has no ads. This is likely the reason it's not flashy in any way at all and takes a few minutes to figure out how it works. 

    The major advantage of Mr.Number is that you can easily block single numbers but you can also block number patterns and area codes on up to the entire world and just allow exceptions like your contacts to get through. It really is extremely powerful, plus it lets you add numbers to the spam list and do reverse lookups.

    If you rooted your phone there are some very cool more elaborate call blockers but so far Mr.Number, Google Voice, and my phones built in controls have done everything I need. Ting call blocking wouldn't hurt but I believe it's better to do it yourself. 

    Incidentally for me Sprint call blocking didn't support or didn't have a good spammer black list.

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  • You missed the point.  The calls / callers / texters many of us want to block are not subject to "do  not call" regulations - e.g. my situation involved calls from an automated municipal park service's campground, picnic site, and event venue reservation system that got mis-programmed to be routed to my wife's cell on a number she had for years beforehand,

    Blocking at the phone level (e.g. third party call block apps or Google voice) does nothing to prevent the unwanted calls from using up your minutes.  They will prevent the phone from ringing, or your voicemail from recording the message, but the call will still show in your log, and their durations will still be charged against your account.

    To avoid charges against your account for blocked calls / texts, you need a network level  block like that provided to Sprint's direct customers. The call gets rejected before it hits your phone or is billed to your account.  It never even shows up in your call log.

     

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  • I believe it has been stated here {I think it was Ben Lucier } that Ting only charges for calls that are answered. This being one of the reasons for redirecting to google voicemail.

    Many of the apps like Mr.Number give you the option to redirect to voicemail OR immediately hangup. I choose the immediately hangup option so my phone never rings and the call remains unanswered.

     

    I believe we need a Ting moderator to settle this ... if my recollection is correct and we are only charged for answered calls either by direct connection or by accessing the Ting voicemail system then using a combination of google voice and a good number blocking app is all that is really needed. If I got that information wrong then I apologize  for getting this thread off topic and wasting peoples time.

     

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  • GV and number blocking is fine except for the people who don't have or want smartphones, like my son.

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  • HI all,

    I love the enthusiasm everyone is showing in talking about this, and I just wanted to clarify one or two things that have been discussed.

    First off, we've investigated network-level number blocking and we currently don't have the ability to do it, however, we're still looking into it so never say never. Hopefully one day.

    As to airtime billing, we only bill when a call connects. That means that we don't bill when your voice mail receives a message - only when you dial in from your mobile to check it. However, call forwarding will lead to billing.

    Thus if you're using Ting to forward to Google Voice or another third-party service, you'll be billed if the call connects. 

    I hope that helps.

    As it stands, third-party solutions are your best method of controlling who can reach you on your mobile, however, we're still looking into it.

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  • Call blocking should be a no brainer addition.

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  • a whitelist for when the voice is disabled when an alert triggers deactivation needs to be incorporated into this whole scheme as well.

    --> Alerts Feature Request: Whitelist for Disabled Voice

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  • I'm a new Ting customer and the lack of call blocking is a Ting blind spot and sorely needed feature.  I'm using my Google Voice number to forward calls to the Ting phone number that I haven't given to to a soul yet I occasionally get calls directly to the Ting number.  They're telemarketers or someone calling the previous owner of the number but I should have some way of filtering these unwanted and unsolicited calls out.  When I was a Sprint customer the option was hard to find but I needed it, found it and used it.  So put me and my wife down as Ting customers in favor of implementing this.

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  • I just want to reiterate that we've looked into network level number blocking for both voice calls and SMS, and as yet there are no available solutions.

    I assure you though, we'll keep trying.

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  • Does whitelisting fall into the same category?

    Because I know I can selectively Turn Off my devices ability to receive calls in the dash here. If we could do that but whitelist atleast one number, like say a google voice number, Then we could atleast have a decent workaround. 

     

    Additionally could you ask Sprint to support the "Simultaneous Ring Feature" so free services like http://www.nomorobo.com/ could actually stop spam calls.

     

    Thanxz!

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