GrandCentral's "One Number For Life" Not Really

grandcentral.jpgSo much for GrandCentral’s “one number for life” promise. The company is turning off customer phone numbers and giving them new ones following their acquisition by Google last month.

Troy Schneider received such a notice, advising him that in 8 days his GrandCentral number would be canceled and that he would be required to immediately start using a new number allocated to him. Judi Sohn received the same message: with no prior warning she had 8 days left on her existing phone number then it would cease to operate. Sohn was fortunate to some extent: Google has offered to pay for the reprinting of her business cards, but that would appear to be a one off, and a token gesture at that.

The inconvenience of losing a telephone number, particularly for a business, is more than just stationery. Paper telephone listings must be changed (some people still use them), sign writing must be fixed, and every single listing of the old number has to be found and changed. Most land line telephone providers would offer a redirection service for the old number, however with Google it’s simply a matter of 8 days then no more phone number. Every customer that tries calling the old number post cancellation and cannot connect to the business is potentially a lost sale.

There was no comment at the time of writing from Google or GrandCentral. Ironically the last post on the GrandCentral blog talks about the wonders of being able to keep a GrandCentral Number for life.

Update: Founder Craig Walker comments below and notes that this affected on 434 users:

Everybody, thanks for your comments and I want to quickly reply to try to clear the air regarding this issue. I’ll post a full blog about this on the GrandCentral site in just a bit, but first I want to assure everybody that we are NOT disconnecting anyone’s service. Unfortunately we received word recently that one of our partners was stopping their service in part of the country and since that time we’ve been working to port those phone numbers to other partners. We’ve done this successfully for the vast majority of those users but unfortunately there were approximately 400 users whose numbers could not be ported (434 to be exact). As soon as we found out these users could not be ported to other partners, we contacted those users, set up an alternative GrandCentral number in the same area code for them, and gave them a reply email to request additional GrandCentral number choices. Vincent (our COO and Co-Founder) and I have been personally replying to these emails to help make this transition easier. This would have been these case whether or not we were acquired. We completely sympathize with any pain or disruption this might cause these users and will continue to work directly with them to help find a solution. I will post more on our blog shortly, but wanted to give you all a quick heads up.