Can you help me use the 'redial' button?

On every touch tone phone land-line I have owned, I tend to encounter an annoying issue related the ‘redial’ button. For various reasons, I frequently find myself needing to place repeated calls to companies that have elaborate switchboard systems. As I’m sure many of you have had the displeasure of experiencing, these systems will require callers to hit 3, 5, 10 or more buttons in order to identify themselves to the system or even just to get through to a particular department. While this is quite frustrating in and of itself, what makes matters worse is what happens if I wish to redial the original phone-number. When I attempt to use ‘redial’, my phones don’t seem to be able to distinguish between the original phone number and the subsequent numbers I pressed once connected during the previous call. If it was just two or three extra numbers, the call will typically still go through. However often I find that I can’t use ‘redial’ at all because the amount of extraneous tones my phone redials causes the call to be placed to someone other than the intended party, typically residing outside of north america due to the 15+ digits that get inadvertently dialed.

So am I not using the feature properly? Surely in 2009 we have the technology to overcome this simple glitch? Do all touch-tone landlines (cell-phones are unaffected) have this problem?

I don’t know about all land-lines, but my land line has this exact problem.

It seems like maybe if there were another “step”, like a “spoken command” after dialing the initial number, it could avoid the issue. But I’m non-technical and not even very geeky, so what do I know?

While there may be a way to program a redial function to accomplish what you desire, I suspect it would be easier to just enter the particular phone number into the phone’s memory and access it that way. The few extra buttons you push to use the “phonebook” feature would probably be less bothersome than the procedure to get the “redial” feature to use only a particular subset of the digits you entered in the previous call.

All my phones have always worked as you describe, both my landline and my cell phones.

I suspect that the distinction might be this: A land line phone is a really dumb machine. No computer thinking at all, except for programmable numbers that you’d store in memory. But when you are punching in the numbers, it doesn’t do anything at all, and totally relies on the phone system.

Specifically: If you dial a 7-digit number next door, or a 10-digit number because you’re in a place which doesn’t require a 1 prefix before an area code, or the whole 11 disigts, the landline phone has no idea what’s going on. It just makes the tones and sends them to the phone company, and patiently waits for more buttons, or no more buttons, or whatever. IT doesn’t care. Sometimes you’ll stop dialing after 7 digits and then start talking; the phone company made your connection and the phone is blissfully unaware. Sometimes you’ll stop after 9 digits – the phone has no idea whether that was a 7-digit phone number and then they answered and you typed a 2-digit extension, or whether you were dialing a 10-digit number and forgot one. The phone doesn’t know, and it doesn’t care. That’s why, when you press REDIAL, you get everything you typed since the last time you picked up the receiver.

On the other hand, on a cell phone, you type the phone number, and then you press the green button to make the connection. so the phone is very aware of the difference between what is a phone number, and what buttons you pressed during a call.

All the redials works how you described. By going through the menus with touch tone access the phone will always end up with the garbage from the keys you respond with.