Our outgoing trunks show an incorrect name on Comcast phones

Posted on 2011-04-18
Last Modified: 2012-05-11
My company's caller ID comes up as a different company when calling a Comcast phone subrscriber (and possibly other providers.)  Calls to Verizon landline phones appear to have the correct name.  Has anyone ever encountered this, and, if so, what have you done to resolve this?
Question by:thomsone
    1 Comment
    LVL 17

    Accepted Solution

    We have encountered this before.  It is a small but not infrequent problem in the industry.  Fixing it is not easy, either.  Some clients have paid us good money to track this down.

    The problem exists because the phone companies use different name databases for caller-ID purposes.  When placing a call, your telephone company sends the telephone number they have assigned to your account, unless you are using a special feature to control the sending number.  In either case, this number is provided to the destination telepone line and that line's telephony company.  The receiving telephone company looks up the number and adds the name to the caller-Id information sent to the receiving phone.  The problem is that the database used for that name look-up is not a single national database - each company may maintain their own database or subscribe to one of a number of third party companies that maintain the name databases.  Thus, you can call some phones (Verizon users in your case) that have the correct name associated with your telephone number, and other phones (Comcast in your case) that will have a different name linked to your number.  

    If your number was previously assigned to another company, some of these databases are slow to update.  In some cases, such as a professional firm like doctors or lawyers that lists individuals in the business listings , the name that will come up may be a current or even former employee.  We had one client that had some calls showing someone's name that had been retired for 7 years.
    Because there are multiple databases, it can take a while to get this corrected.  Part of the problem is that the company you get your service from can have it right, but they can not force all of the other third party database firms to update their records.  And you can not easily get this fixed, either.

    Certainly talk to your telco to make sure they are using the correct number and that your listings are properly updated.  Then you can contact the receiving telco (such as Comcast) to ask them to update their database, but be prepared that 95% of the people you talk to will have no idea how the system works and will not know what to do.  Because the receiving company does not control the database of the third party if they subscribe to one, it is not easy for them to force updates, either.  

    This will take time and be only slightly less painful than knocking down a brick wall with your forehead.  Both are frustrating and slow to show progress, too.

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