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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Phone

Phone

How do I get on The National Do Not Call Registry?

The National Do Not Call Registry is open for business, putting consumers in charge of the telemarketing calls they get at home. The Federal government created the national registry to make it easier and more efficient for you to stop getting telemarketing calls you don’t want. You can register online at WWW.DONOTCALL.GOV or call toll-free, 1-888-382-1222 (TTY 1-866-290-4236), from the number you wish to register. Registration is free.

The Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Communications Commission, and the states are enforcing the National Do Not Call Registry. Placing your number on the registry will stop most, but not all, telemarketing calls.

This site has information for you – whether you’re a consumer interested in signing up for the National Do Not Call Registry, or a telemarketer or seller interested in learning more about your responsibilities related to the Telemarketing Sales Rule.

How do I complete an international call?

Most international numbers can be dialed with Arvig Connections long distance. Begin with the international access code (011) followed by the number. Most people overseas will give out their numbers with the country code included, so, in most cases, you will not need to worry about the country code.

For example, if the number you are trying to dial is 61-234-5678, you would dial 011-61-234-5678 to complete the call.

See this International Calling Tip Sheet for details.

What is Caller ID "Spoofing"?

Caller ID “Spoofing” is a term used to describe disreputable parties who deliberately falsify the telephone number relayed as the Caller ID number to disguise the identity and originator of the call. If you think you are being “spoofed”, hang up and call the company/person that the call came from to verify the call is legitimate. At this time, Congress is considering new laws that would make this practice a crime and permit law enforcement authorities to take action against spoofers.

To learn more about Caller ID “Spoofing” and other scams, please visit the Federal Communications Commission’s website www.fcc.gov.

Does Arvig offer insurance to protect against unexpected costs for repairs of my phone service?

Yes, a Phone Protection Plan is available.

This plan is an insurance policy providing professional technical services on wiring and Arvig equipment for your Arvig service(s), in the event of one of life’s little surprises.

Why can't I make local calls using a 7-digit phone number anymore?

In 2022, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted 988 as a new 3-digit number to be used nationwide to reach the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline. In order for 988 to work in Minnesota area codes 218 and 952, 10-digit dialing had to be implemented.

Effective July 30, 2024, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) will activate 924 as a second area code within the 507 area code footprint, due to a shortage of numbers. When calling a phone number, even a local one, you must also dial the area code since there could be two identical 7-digit numbers issued in that region.

What should I do before I call for service with my phone?

Arvig asks that you try and determine where the trouble may be before calling repair. This will save time and possible service charges if the trouble is found to be customer-owned equipment.

Before you call for service, you should check:

  • Check all phones and make sure they are hung up.
  • If you have 2 or more telephone outlets in your home, try each phone, one at a time in each outlet. If one phone doesn’t work in any outlet, you probably have an equipment problem.
  • If a phone does not work in one outlet, but does in another, you probably have a jack problem. If none of your phones work in any outlet then the trouble may be with your inside wire or outside cable. Call Arvig to repair the service, there may be a charge to fix the wiring.

If it is Arvig equipment, call our office for repair at 877.290.0560.
If it is your own equipment, Arvig cannot repair it.

One telephone or piece of equipment can cause a line to be out of service. Equipment can include a computer, satellite dish, answering machine, Caller ID box, a telephone, etc.

How do I safely use the phone?

Telephone Safety Warning
When using a telephone, please be aware of the following possible hazards:

  • Electrical shock when immersed in water – Do not use a telephone while in the bathtub, shower or pool. Immersion of a telephone or handset in water could cause an electrical shock.
  • Electrical shock during an electrical storm – Avoid using a telephone during an electrical storm. Calls of an urgent nature should be brief. Although telephone companies use protective measures to limit abnormal electrical surges (from entering homes), absolute protection is impossible. There is a remote risk of dangerous electrical shock from lightning when using the telephone during an electrical storm.
  • Explosion in the vicinity of a gas leak – If you think you’ve found a gas leak, do not use the telephone in the vicinity of the leak until the leak is repaired. The telephone contains electrical contacts that could generate a tiny spark when you lift the handset and dial. There is a remote risk for this spark to trigger an explosion if the gas concentration is high enough.

Charges/Fees

What are access charges?

Access charges are the fees that local phone companies recover for the costs associated with using the local phone network for the purpose of making or receiving long distance calls. These charges are divided between the long distance company and the local customer. For the local customer, these fees usually are labeled on their bill as the “subscriber line charge” or “federal access charge.”

Why do I pay a subscriber line charge?

After the break-up of AT&T in 1982, the Federal Communications Commission adopted access charge rules to govern the way the local phone companies recover the costs of providing their network to long distance companies. Long distance calls can’t be made or completed without using the local company’s network.

Who is responsible for deciding that the subscriber line charge should increase?

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is responsible for decisions made about subscriber line charges and has mandated this rate increase.

Would changing long distance providers change the amount of my subscriber line charge?

No. This subscriber line charge increase is not affected by which long distance company you use.

Should I be receiving a reduction in my long distance rates to compensate for the increased subscriber line charge?

It is up to your long distance carrier to decide whether or not you will receive any corresponding reduction in your long distance rates.

The FCC's website says that the subscriber line charge goes to the local telephone company. So, how can you say that you don't benefit from this subscriber line charge increase?

When the FCC mandated that local telephone companies must reduce the amount of money they collect from the long distance companies for the use of their local networks, they raised the cap on the subscriber line charge so that those lost funds could be recovered from the customer. The telephone company does not gain any revenue from the subscriber line increase, it just recovers some of its costs. The FCC reduced the access charges that long distance companies pay to local telephone companies knowing that an increase in the subscriber line charge cap would be necessary if the local telephone companies were to remain whole.

Who can I contact to share my concerns about the subscriber line charge?

You may wish to share your concerns with Congress. Contact information for your representatives in the U.S. House can be found at www.house.gov. Contact information for your U.S. Senators can be found at www.senate.gov.

Are discounts available for low-income households?

Residential phone and internet customers may qualify for the Minnesota Telephone Assistance Plan (TAP) and/or Lifeline discounts. Click here for more information and an application.

SPAM Calls

What is SPAM?

Any unsolicited communication sent in bulk. SPAM can be distributed through phone calls, text messages (SMS), email or social media. Some calls can pose significant risks like financial scams and identity theft. SPAM can trick you into giving away personal information, or scare you into thinking you need to pay to get out of trouble.

Different types of SPAM calls:

  • Robocalls: pre-recorded messages dialed to a large group of numbers
  • Financial Scams: they offer fake debt relief services or threaten action if immediate payment is not made
  • Phishing Scams: calls that impersonate things such as banks, government agencies and attempt to trick people into giving out personal information like passwords, credit card numbers, etc.

Why are SPAM calls increasing?

SPAM calls can be a nuisance, but they aren’t technically illegal. When a phone number is released to the public domain, it unfortunately can be accessed by spammers and robocallers. In some cases, your phone number may have been leaked or obtained by scammers through social media or online directories. Increased calls and email SPAM may be the result of a publicly listed email, a data breach or an account that has been hacked. On mobile phones, any apps installed on your phone may have access to your number as well, which is why it’s important to track your app permissions, and block that access if you can. A primary challenge with these calls is their volume and persistence.

Why does my phone number sometimes show as SPAM?

Just because your number may show up as SPAM on occasion to callers, does not mean your number was sold to a Robo Agent, or that your number was hacked. Other service providers, whether they are landline or cellular, may not have the same protocols in place that Arvig has. Unfortunately, hackers are always adapting and finding new ways to break through a service provider’s protection.

What measures are in place at Arvig to deter SPAM calls?

In 2021, Arvig implemented new technology into its network to identify and intercept robocalls. STIR/SHAKEN protocol is now being used as a means of making sure both outbound and inbound phone calls can be properly authenticated or signed. Arvig also works with third party companies, such as Clear IP, to help prevent SPAM and robocalls by flagging “bad” users. It’s important to know that while STIR/SHAKEN does a good job of filtering out many SPAM calls, it doesn’t catch everything, and phone users still might receive some SPAM calls. Unfortunately, hackers are always adapting and finding new ways to break through a service provider’s protection. Arvig continues to explore new technology to minimize the number of SPAM/Robo calls that are invading the network.

Despite advancements in call-blocking technology from phone service providers, SPAM callers adapt their tactics to evade detection. They use such things as caller ID spoofing to change the displayed phone number to appear to be a local recognizable number, which increases the likelihood that the call will be answered. SPAM calls can be annoying, but if the call is pertaining to something important, the caller will most likely leave a voicemail message.

How can I take steps to identify and avoid SPAM calls?

Education on this subject is essential in the ongoing effort to prevent and lessen the impact of SPAM calls for individuals and businesses. Individuals should be vigilant in making it their responsibility to recognize unwanted calls and avoid phone scams. Whether the call takes place on a landline or mobile phone, registering your phone numbers on the National Do Not Call registry by calling 1-888-382-1222, can provide real-time monitoring of your numbers to help you keep them clean and prevent them from being flagged.

Register your phone and report unwanted calls to the National Do Not Call Registry at www.donotcall.gov.