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/ Lost voicemails whilst switching mobile provider

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Jamie Wakeham - on 10 Sep 2018

Bit of an odd one, this.  I've just switched from TalkTalk to Plusnet.  New SIM arrived, put it into my phone, entered the PAC code to switch my old number from TalkTalk to the new SIM.  This took a little while, mainly because I was daft enough to initiate the port late on a Thursday, so it didn't complete until the following week.  Over the weekend, both SIMs were therefore active, and once a day I put my old TalkTalk SIM back in to check for missed texts and voicemails, of which there were a couple.

When he port finally went through, and my old number became associated with the new SIM, I immediately got a text from TalkTalk saying I had several voicemails.  I tried dialing my old TalkTalk voicemail, but of course that won't connect from what is now a Plusnet SIM.  The old TalkTalk SIM is now dead.

TalkTalk are now telling me that the messages are lost forever, and because I've left their service there is no way to access them.

Does that seem right?  I would have thought that the messages were recorded during a period when I was still paying for my old service and I should have a right to access them.  All I want is to hear them so I can check it's not something important!

This must be a problem other people have had - I've admittedly made it worse by porting at the worst possible moment and maximising the time I'm between SIMs.

krikoman - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

I've only change twice and both times it took less than 2 hours.

Sorry that not much help.

ClimberEd - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

If it's important they'll call you again. Don't stress.

JLS on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

Sleep easy. I've hacked in to your old TalkTalk voicemail and listened to the messages.

There's one about your mis-sold PPI and another from Trisha asking if your wife is going to visit her mother this coming weekend. I took the liberty of forwarding Trisha's number to your wife so they can make there own arrangements.

Post edited at 16:16
Jamie Wakeham - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

Well quite - it seems much easier for the KGB or Mirror Group to get to my voicemails than it is for me!

I know, if it's important they'll ring me back.  I just hate looking unprofessional (I suspect at least one call was a client) and anyway it's my bloody data and I think TalkTalk should make an effort to give it to me!

Toerag - on 11 Sep 2018
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

Can you get it out of them under data protection rules?

off-topic a bit - one of my most satisfying jobs was retrieving a voicemail left by someone who had died for their other half to have and listen to their voice again.

robertmichaellovell - on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

I'm pretty sure the front end agents you speak to won't be able to access your voicemails as the number is no longer on their network, and you mailbox has probably been deleted off the TalkTalk messaging platform when the port took place (along with everything in it). It might theoretically be possible for a technical support person to retrieve it from a backup of the messaging platform taken before you were ported, but probably not worth the time on the phone or effort it will take unless you are really desperate to listen to the messages!

Martin W on 13 Sep 2018
In reply to Toerag:

> Can you get it out of them under data protection rules?

Only if they actually still have his voice messages somewhere.  They would entirely justified in deleting them once his number is no longer on their system.  Indeed, their privacy notice may actually specify that as part of their retention policy.

As for data held in backups: the current guidance seems to be that, if these are only retained for recovery purposes then the data are not being "processed" in the sense intended by GDPR.  The proviso being that, if data are recovered from a backup then a procedure should exist to delete data that should not be on the live system eg because the data subject has invoked their Article 17 "right to be forgotten".  (The situation may be different for organisations which also use backups as their data archive, ie they regularly go there to get copies of data which have simply been aged off the live system.  This should really be regarded as poor practice, and can get messy even before data privacy regulations are taken in to account.)

Jamie Wakeham - on 20 Sep 2018
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

So the confusion here is all about where the messages are stored.  I had believed they were kept remotely - on a TalkTalk server somewhere.

On discussing with TalkTalk, I was told they were physically in the phone memory and therefore the new provider should be able to access them.

However, Plusnet say they're actually kept on the SIM card.  So old messages will have been delivered to the old SIM, which was nuked when the PAC was applied.  So they really are gone forever.  TalkTalk have confirmed that they do not keep any backup of messages once delivered to a SIM.

The moral of this story is probably to keep the old SIM in the phone up to the moment that it goes off, and then switch to the new one, rather than swapping straight away and waiting for the number to change.  Oh, and don't try to port late on a Thursday because 'one complete working day' takes you over the weekend...


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