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Old 08-31-2005, 07:56 PM
PigBoy PigBoy is offline
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts
Posts: 606
How long does it take for a phone number to be recycled?

I'm curious how long the period generally is that a particular phone number is not in use before it is reassigned. I recently got a new phone number and feel like I'm receiving an awful lot of calls asking for the person who I can only assume previously had the number. (Either that or a lot of this person's contacts are dialing the wrong number.) Are these people just the ones who aren't on the Christmas card list because they too rarely call, or shall I blame it on the phone number not being dead for long enough?
Old 08-31-2005, 08:18 PM
Kiminy Kiminy is offline
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Kentucky, USA
Posts: 717
We were once assigned a phone number that had only been out of circulation for about six months. (See this thread.) We did get quite a few numbers for the old owner of the number, but it eventually tapered off as new phone books were released and old phone books were thrown out or sent to be recycled.
Old 08-31-2005, 08:28 PM
CantUseMyRealName CantUseMyRealName is offline
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 156
in my area, three to six months.
Old 09-01-2005, 02:42 AM is offline
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 13,939
It's very dependent on the area where you are, and how short they are on available phone numbers. Typical is a few months to a year.

Some areas, like North Dakota, could go for many years without ever recycling phone numbers, if they wanted. The US Area Code structure gives them a vast oversupply of phone numbers.

If you get a whole lot of wrong-number calls, you can ask the phone company to give you a new number. I had a friend do this, after she found out her number was 1 digit different from a radio stations' call-in number. She was constantly getting calls meant for the station. The phone company assigned her a new number (at no charge), and also told her that the other number would be 'flagged' so that it was nto reissued for a long time.
Old 09-01-2005, 07:34 AM
Fredescu Fredescu is offline
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Sydney
Posts: 238
It's done the rounds many times but here's an interesting tale from someone who got Chris Rock's old phone number.
Old 09-01-2005, 07:38 AM
KarlGrenze KarlGrenze is offline
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 6,406
It probably is different for cell phones, no? I got the number from a person that just changed her cell phone number or account. For the first few months I got a lot of calls meant for the other person. Turns out one of my classmates even called me, since she was a cousin of the previous owner.

The most interesting call was the guy who said "Just stop pretending you're someone else, you know you cannot fake accents."... Eh... okaaaay...

Every now and then, I still get phone calls (and text messages) directed to someone else.
Old 09-01-2005, 07:57 AM
vetbridge vetbridge is offline
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Western Pennsylvania
Posts: 6,581
When I decided to get an 800 number for my pager, I got a few voice messages intended for the previous owner of the number. Eventually I got a message from the guy and he had lost the number (late payment on his bill, he claimed) just a few days prior. He was asking me to "give him his old number back". I called him (collect) and told him to deal with it. I had already had my new number put onto business cards, and would not give it up willingly.

After a few days of continuing to get his business pages, I lost my patience. I called one of his customers back and told him that he could go f*ck himself. The guy who previoulsy owned the number backed down and I never had another call.
Old 09-01-2005, 10:19 AM
Gary Robson Gary Robson is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Montana, U.S.A.
Posts: 9,449
It doesn't take nearly long enough. I added a second line for my fax machine. It used to be the phone number for a car dealership. It's still listed in directories and yellow pages. I've had this number for almost a year now, and I'm still getting calls and faxes for the car dealership.
Old 09-01-2005, 03:07 PM
Chronos Chronos is online now
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Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: The Land of Cleves
Posts: 75,989
Some areas, like North Dakota, could go for many years without ever recycling phone numbers, if they wanted. The US Area Code structure gives them a vast oversupply of phone numbers.
I don't know about North Dakota, but I would assume that Montana would be similar. But I replaced my land-line with a cell phone in January (and hence abandoned the old landline number). About a month ago, I accidentally gave someone my old phone number, rather than the new one, and when he called, he got someone else. So apparently, Montana does recycle phone numbers in a matter of months rather than years.
Time travels in divers paces with divers persons.
--As You Like It, III:ii:328
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Old 09-01-2005, 04:49 PM
whiterabbit whiterabbit is offline
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: In the mountains
Posts: 7,939
Unfortunately we got a recently recycled number; it's in last year's phone book, and used to belong to a local Assembly of God church's daycare. So I get a lot of calls from women (they're ALWAYS women) looking for daycare for their kids. It's listed in last year's phone book but not this year's, so I'm sure the calls will taper off eventually, but hopefully by then we'll be living somewhere else anyway. I talked to the church secretary about it and they don't even have a daycare anymore, but I guess non-members wouldn't have a way to know that.

I think it's kinda funny seeing as I'm sorta pagan and my sweetie is sorta Buddhist, but the calls get annoying sometimes!


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