RespOrg is short for “Responsible Organization”. But what’s the purpose of RespOrg? A RespOrg is responsible for controlling and maintaining toll free numbers. It’s an entity that has gone through a certification process to gain access to the Service Management System or SMS 800, the 800 number database. RespOrgs can check availability, reserve numbers for customers, and make changes to a customer’s account. Therefore, if your business has a toll free number, you also have a RespOrg.
1-800 numbers weren’t always portable. In fact, before 1993, major telecom carriers were responsible for their own set of 1-800 numbers. Today, toll free numbers are owned by the customer, not the telecom carrier.
How Does RespOrg work?
Let’s say you own a business and you decide it would be a good idea to have a toll-free number for your customers to call. The first thing you would need to do is find a company that provides toll-free numbers. Finding a company and having a number assigned to your business can be a fairly simple and quick process. However, it helps to know some of the details of what is happening behind the scenes – primarily the RespOrg process.
The company you approach could be a big corporate entity or a smaller independent provider of toll-free numbers. According to SMS800, there are approximately 400 RespOrg providers. Since portability commenced in the early 1990’s, the market for RespOrg has grown exponentially. Unfortunately, the rise of the internet has increased this growth yet again and given birth to many fly-by-night RespOrgs that can look very slick online but have very little substance when it comes to delivering service.
Under today’s laws, the telephone company that carries the call traffic on a 1-800 number cannot stop a number from being transferred to another carrier. Once your business contacts the RespOrg, that company in turn has to approach SMS800 to obtain permission to RespOrg the number or transfer control of the number to your business.
The process goes something like this: A RespOrg form containing the customer’s details, the RespOrg ID numbers (every RespOrg is assigned an ID number by SMS800), and a signed authorization to set up or move the number is needed to begin the process. If this is a new number, the process can be very quick and might take only a few hours. However, if ownership is being transferred from one carrier to another, it could take three to seven days.