When you dial numbers to activate phone features, you are using what is termed as Vertical Service Codes (VSCs). These codes are universal amongst telecommunications companies ranging from your local landline provider to your cellular provider. The administration of these codes has oversight from the North American Numbering Plan Administration (NANPA) and, in part, from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). There is one VSC feature that allows you glean the number of the last call you received, whether you missed the call or were simply screening your calls. That feature is named Call Return. In popular culture, the feature is literally referred to by its activation code, "*69" (star sixty-nine).
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Allow the call to terminate. If you have already missed the incoming call, you may proceed to Step 2.
If you are screening your calls, and wish to retrieve the last number, wait for the ringing to terminate.
Prepare to record information. There won't be much of a delay between you inputting the code and the system verbally responding to your command. If you're not using some kind of attached earpiece, be prepared to quickly lift the phone's handset back toward your ear afterward.
Also, you may want to prepare a pen and paper to write down the information provided to you, as it will be delivered verbally, automatically. Options for repeating the information may be available.
Activate Call Return. Pick up or initiate a dial tone on your telephone. Dial " * " (star), "6" and "9" on your keypad. Listen to the verbal automatic recording which will come through your telephone.
Exercise extra features. You may be presented with options to automatically return the phone call to the caller.
Tips and warnings
- Many phones have a redial function as well as caller ID to identify numbers.
- NANPA suggests there is some discrepancy with use of the Call Return feature, stating, "Currently there is some inconsistency in the use of VSCs for specific features or services. Assignment of a VSC by NANPA for a particular service or feature should not be considered assurance that the assigned code can be used without conflict anywhere in the North American Numbering Plan area." Also you may want to verify if your provider charges for this feature.
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