Communicatus Interruptus: DO NOT WANT!
August 2, 2008 8:28 AM   Subscribe

TelephoneFilter: How do I turn off call waiting for *incoming* calls?

I need to guarantee that a particular call that I will be receiving will not be interrupted by call waiting signals. *70 works well for outgoing calls, but I'm not sure how to stop call waiting from breaking into a call that I am receiving at a specific time. I have Verizon landline service, which supports most of the "*xx" codes, as far as I know. It stands to reason that I should be able to turn off the service for a block of time, I just don't know how. What's the magic sequence?
posted by Citrus to Technology (20 answers total)
Can't you ignore the signals? Is it really so intrusive?
posted by cmiller at 9:01 AM on August 2, 2008

Looks like there isn't a code for it, but you may be able to disable it online temporarily. See this.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 9:11 AM on August 2, 2008

Shouldn't *70 work for incoming calls too? You should be able to use *70 to turn off the call waiting, and then just don't turn it back on again until after you've received your call.
posted by amyms at 9:11 AM on August 2, 2008

Or, as cmiller suggested, just ignore it if it happens. I frequently ignore my call-waiting when I'm on an important call. The signal stops after 2-3 tries, so it's not a huge intrusion.
posted by amyms at 9:14 AM on August 2, 2008

Response by poster: Clarification: This is an interview that will be recorded on tape. The beeping signals from call waiting are not an option, hence the reason for the question.
posted by Citrus at 9:19 AM on August 2, 2008

Response by poster: @Pater: "VoiceWing" is a VOIP service, which I don't have. There does not seem to be an equivalent for regular landline service.
posted by Citrus at 9:31 AM on August 2, 2008

Oh, right. Didn't notice that. I still think it's worth a shot to log in to your account and see what you can do online. Or just call customer service. I don't think there is a code that is going to work.

amyms, *70 stays in effect until you hang up the phone. So there's no way to use that to turn off call waiting for an incoming call.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 9:40 AM on August 2, 2008

Thanks for the correction, Pater Aletheias.
posted by amyms at 9:56 AM on August 2, 2008

My old boss used to get interviewed for radio fairly often by phone. I know that we would always just call the service provider the night before and ask them to suspend caller ID for a few hours before and after the call (to be on the safe side). Worked just fine.
posted by lunasol at 9:58 AM on August 2, 2008

If you don't end up with the right answer, I have two alternatives: 1) Instead of letting them call you, dial *70 and call them. 2) Call Verizon and have it disabled for a week. They can do that.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 10:01 AM on August 2, 2008

Um, in my comment, caller ID=call waiting.
posted by lunasol at 10:24 AM on August 2, 2008

Seconding just call Verizon to cancel/suspend the option.
posted by rokusan at 10:37 AM on August 2, 2008

Best answer: Doing the interview over Skype is also an option.
posted by jrockway at 10:43 AM on August 2, 2008

Response by poster: @SeizeTheDay: Calling them is not an option. This is simply how they work. You register with their media coordinator, and they call you at interview time. This is not changeable.

As far as disabling call waiting for a day, remember that this is Verizon we're talking about here. Changing your service with them typically involves a three day wait for them to get it wrong, and a month of phone tag and adjustments before they get it right. The interview is tomorrow. If I had a non-suck phone company, it might be an option.

@jrockway: Skype would be an option, except then I can't use a phone tap to record the interview on an audio device, which I was planning to do. Besides, I already gave them my home number, and confirmed it. They might get apoplectic if I try to change it last minute. It might very well be an option for another time.

Thank you all for thinking out of the box, though.
posted by Citrus at 11:07 AM on August 2, 2008

If you can't just get it turned off by asking Verizon, if you get the little beep during the interview, just say, "could you repeat that, please?", and eliminate the beep in the editing. You'll probably start off by reminding them you are recording, and you could add, "just in case I get a call-waiting beep, I might ask you to repeat something." People who get interviewed a lot are used to that.
posted by beagle at 11:17 AM on August 2, 2008

Response by poster: @beagle: I'm not sure that it's appropriate to ask them to repeat themselves. This is a large interview, with reporters from across the country on this conference call. Your suggestion would make more sense for a one-on-one interview.
posted by Citrus at 11:21 AM on August 2, 2008

You are also correct to want this disabled. It's horribly annoying during phone interviews, meetings etc.
posted by rokusan at 11:41 AM on August 2, 2008

Do you have call forwarding?

I found a claim that when you forward your calls to another number, call waiting does not go along. If you could forward your calls to another number during the time the interview is to take place (one that doesn't have call waiting of course) that might work:

It’s taken a bit of poking around, but I think I’ve figured out what’s happening–Verizon will only forward one call at a time. If a second caller calls while a forwarded call is in progress, then the second caller will receive a busy signal. That’s a really nasty behavior–I’ve effectively lost the ability to do call waiting and to take voicemail messasges while I’m on the phone.
posted by jamjam at 12:34 PM on August 2, 2008

Best answer: All of the suggestions about forwarding the call to a VOIP number overlook the fact that interviews should not be conducted over VOIP unless it is completely unavoidable. Interviews should be given with the highest fidelity possible, since they will likely be re-encoded or compressed anyway.

How about this idea---- call YOURSELF from your cell phone, leave it open, and then allow the interviewer to be the **NEW** call- "Click over" to the new call and leave your cell phone on hold, and take the interview from the call-waiting line.

Do NOT hang up your first call or even move your cell phone- this will prevent the annoying beeps.

You may want to test it first, but I think this should work since callwaiting generally doesn't allow 3 calls at once.

I don't know if I explained this well enough to earn best answer, but thats how I would do it.
posted by crazyray at 8:49 PM on August 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Ended up just doing the interview. Nobody called. Ironically, they had a problem on their end, and dropped the call. They called back in a few minutes.

I'll b/a jrockway and crazyray, because for the majority of cases, they can be good solutions.
posted by Citrus at 8:32 AM on August 4, 2008

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