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Why Won’t My Phone Work?

Published: Feb 27, 2019Updated: Nov 05, 2021

Problems with your telephone service can be caused by our lines or switching equipment—or there may be something wrong with one or more of your telephones. The source of the problem can make an important difference to you.

When you call our Service Center with a service problem, we’ll do our best to locate and clear the trouble. If it’s found to be in our lines or switching equipment, we will take quick action to correct the problem, and, of course, there is no charge. If you determine that the source of the problem is the telephone that you own, then you should follow the instructions on the warranty for repair.

We now have a Maintenance Visit Charge that is applied when our repair person makes a trip to your house or office at your request, and finds the trouble with your telephone service is due to a problem in your customer-owned equipment, including jacks and inside wiring. The Maintenance Visit Charge is a charge for travel costs; it is not a repair charge. Charges are based on time spent and materials used and will apply for any repairs to customer-owned equipment or wiring.

Telephone equipment rental and our Wire Maintenance Program are also available at a reasonable monthly rate.


We’d like to help you avoid a Maintenance Visit Charge by using the following check list before calling the Service Center.

These tests can help you determine why your phone isn’t working properly:

  1. Check to see if all of your telephones are hung up.
  2. Perform a visual inspection of all exposed wiring and connections for damaged or loose connections.
  3. When there is more than one outlet, check each instrument at each outlet to determine if proper operation can be obtained from any outlet. If proper operation is obtained from any outlet, the trouble has been isolated to an instrument or house wiring.
  4. In order to isolate jack or house wiring problems, simply move a working telephone to each outlet in the house to determine which location is causing the trouble.
  5. A test point device, called the Telephone Network Interface may have been installed where your telephone service wire comes into your premises. This test point allows you to isolate your wiring trouble from the telephone company’s trouble.

Our repair service center can help isolate the problem

We can test your line. But in some cases, we won’t know what’s wrong without sending a repair technician to your home or office. There may be a charge for this repair visit. Troubleshooting may help you isolate the problem yourself and save you time and money.

If the problem is in your own telephone set

Follow the instructions on your warranty or contact your equipment retailer. TEC cannot repair customer-owned telephone equipment.

If the problem is in your jack or the wire that runs through your home or office

You have three options:

  • You can call TEC. If you subscribe to our optional Wire Maintenance Program, we will repair your jack or inside wiring at no charge. If you don’t subscribe, we will be happy to repair the problem; however, we will charge you a maintenance visit charge as well as labor and materials. * You are welcome to hire an independent contractor or home repair expert to repair your jack or inside wiring.
  • You can repair the problem yourself.

If the problem is in TEC outside lines or switching equipment

  • Contact support through online chat
  • Call the repair service number (800) 832-2515

TEC can repair

The outside lines and switching equipment we use to provide you with service at no charge to you (unless damage is due to negligence on your part). We can also repair the wiring that runs inside your home or office. There is a charge for this service, unless you subscribe to our Wire Maintenance Program.

TEC cannot repair

Customer-owned telephone equipment.

Facts you should know about purchasing your own telephone

When you decide to purchase your own telephone, there are a few things you must remember:

  • You still will be required to pay a monthly fee for access to the telephone network.
  • You will be responsible for your telephone’s repairs, and if your telephone is found defective or harmful to the telephone network, you must disconnect it immediately. If the company makes a repair visit and the service difficulty or trouble results from customer-provided equipment, you will be subject to charges.
  • Your telephone company still will be responsible for repairing company-owned rental telephones and for maintaining the telephone network and providing you with basic service.
  • While there are many changes taking place in the telecommunications industry, your local telephone company still is committed to providing you, the customer, with the best service we can at the lowest rate possible. And we want you to be informed. So, if you have any questions, ask us.

Connecting or disconnecting your telephone

To use standard wall sockets, or jacks, for modular telephone cords, to install your telephone, match the plug at the end of the cord with the jack, and insert. To disconnect your telephone, squeeze the clip on the plug and pull it out of the jack.

To use non-standard jacks, a special converter can be provided to permanently change the non-standard jacks into modular outlets to use with modular cords. Plug the converter into the jacks, then plug the cord into the converter.

To use a wall jack, to connect your wall telephone, match the holes in the back of the telephone with the rivets on the wall mounting. Push the telephone lightly against the mounting and slide it down into place. To disconnect, slide the telephone up to lift it off the rivets, then pull it away from the wall.