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      Missed calls costing businesses thousands of dollars

      You've heard it before...dropped and missed phone calls happen every day. But it's more than just a hassle. Businesses all over the country lose many customers each day because their phones never ring.

      "We started to experience a number of dropped calls much higher than in previous years; we weren't sure what was causing the dropped calls," said Allan Aho, Director of Hospitality at Moyle Real Estate & Development.

      After some investigating, Aho realized AmeriLodge in Silver City loses nearly 20 incoming long distance calls a week.

      The problem is more common than we think. It stems from a practice long distance providers use to reroute phone calls for a more cost-effective way. It TMs called least cost routing, and the cheapest route isn't always effective.

      "It's preventing businesses from receiving calls from customers, said Craig Immonen, General Manager of Ontonagon County Telephone Company. "Some businesses have reported losses into the thousands, ten of thousands of dollars."

      Last week, the Federal Communications Commission released this statement:

      "The problem appears to be occurring in rural areas where long distance carriers pay charges to complete calls to the local telephone company. The FCC is working to comprehensively reform the system that sets these rates to reduce opportunities for manipulation schemes."

      "It's an extreme frustration for the providers, for the local telephone companies and our customers, and it TMs something that we want to see corrected as much as the customers," Immonen said.

      In the meantime, the Michigan Public Service Commission released this statement:

      "The MPSC encourages telephone customers with call completion problems to contact their local phone company to notify them about the problem."