How to Tell If Someone Hasn’t Paid Their Phone Bill

How to Tell If Someone Hasn't Paid Their Phone Bill

This guide will provide you with all of the information that you need to tell if someone has not paid their phone bill.

Can You Tell If Someone Hasn’t Paid Their Phone Bill?

To tell someone hasn’t paid their phone bill, the person’s cell phone number will be disconnected by the cellular network provider.

Upon calling the number, you will likely hear something along the lines of, “Sorry, you have dialed a number that has been disconnected or is not in service.”

You cannot specifically tell if someone hasn’t paid their phone bill, but there are several boxes that you can check off to make sure there is no other way to get ahold of them.

If the phone rings several times before it goes to voicemail, it is possible that the number is still active.

When you call a number that is not connected to a cellular network, it may ring once or twice, but you will instead receive an automated message. This message will say something similar to the number is no longer in service.

If someone does not pay their phone bill, their account will go into arrears. The mobile provider is likely to disconnect the phone, thus preventing the owner from making or receiving any calls.

Your account will default if this happens to you. Further, your contract will be revoked if you do not take action to resolve the debt.

Text messages are not ultimately delivered if someone’s phone is off. Unlike real-time phone calls, the source service provider saves the message and attempts to send it to the receiving provider.

The length of time the cellular provider will attempt to send the message could vary depending on the company. This amount of time could last anywhere from a few days to several months.

How to Tell If Someone Hasn’t Paid Their Phone Bill

You may not be able to tell if someone hasn’t paid their phone bill with a definitive answer, but you will be able to check off several possible boxes that could point you in the right direction.

If you want to know if someone has not paid their phone bill, look through the following list:

1. Their Calls Aren’t Connecting

If your phone itself has been disconnected, when you try to dial a number, you will hear that your service is temporarily suspended. This temporary suspension will only last until you pay your phone bill.

If you are on the caller’s end, however, you will hear something along the lines of, “This number is no longer in service.”

You can attempt to call the user and you will be unable to reach them if the call is unable to connect. The call being unable to connect heightens the possibility that the individual did not pay their phone bill.

2. When You Text Them, It Doesn’t Go Through

Texting someone and the message refusing to send can be a sign that they have not paid their phone bill.

At the time you send someone a message, and their phone number has been disconnected, the server that connects is also deactivated at the operator switch level, and the message is practically lost in the air.

The sending cycle never completes, meaning you will have to send the message again once the user regains service.

There are many reasons why your message could be struggling to make it through, but someone not paying their phone bill is certainly on the list.

Other possible reasons will be listed below:

Your message was flagged as Spam by the recipient’s carrier.

You need a different type of phone number.

You are sending too many messages.

The recipient has opted not to receive messages.

The recipient has blocked your phone number.

The message had illegal content.

You are texting a landline.

There are network issues with the recipient’s carrier.

The recipient reported your message to their carrier.

You have entered the wrong number.

3. When You Call Them, It Says, The Number You Have Dialed Has Not Been Recognised

You may also hear something like, “The number you have dialed has not been recognized.” 

That number is not allocated to anyone. Despite multiple efforts of trying to call the individual, nothing you do will make it where you can call that person.

If you get this error that says the number you are calling does not exist, it simply does not exist. There can be various reasons for this, but someone not paying their bill could be the primary reason you are receiving this call intercept message.

This does not mean that the phone number never existed. It could have been functional as early as hours before you dialed. It simply means, at the time, it does not exist.

If someone is paying for minutes and doesn’t pay for more to be put on their phone when they run out, any calls that go to that number will not be able to call that number. You need to make sure that you’re calling people who have minutes and credit on their accounts.

Carriers often disconnect numbers for people who do not have credit. Once they do have credit, you can connect with them again.

4. When You Call Them, You’re Given A Busy Signal

We have all heard the silence that makes you question if you’re on hold or if the call dropped.

We expect strange sounds like silence or classical music signaling that you’ve been put on hold when we call people from time to time.

The worst, however, appears to be the busy tone. You are left with no other choice for the phone call. The busy signal is an audible signal that demonstrates a call cannot be processed or completed at the time.

Likely, if someone has not paid their bill, you will hear a busy tone that sounds like it’s competing for the world’s fastest busy signal.

If every number you call starts with a ringing and instantly cuts off, you may be the one with the account issue. There could be an overdue payment. You may have been the individual who didn’t pay their phone bill.

Things like this can result in your carrier suspending your cellular service.

In order to resolve issues like this, you will need to contact your service provider either by dialing them or utilizing their customer service website. Many of these providers have 24/7 Live Chats that allow you to contact support at any hour of the day.

The standard busy signal sometimes occurs at the end of a phone call to indicate the second party has hung up the phone.

In some companies in the United Kingdom, the busy signal is played after the dial tone to indicate that the caller has used up their allocated time to dial a phone number and must now hang up.

5. When You Call Them, The Call Won’t Ring At All

When you call someone, and the phone does not ring at all, it is likely yet another indication that someone has not paid their phone bill.

The ringing feedback itself comes as a signal from the remote exchange, which serves as the dialed number.

If the remote exchange does not or is incapable of responding to your exchange’s request to set up a call, the audio tone will not be generated at all. The specific voice path at this point simply doesn’t exist yet.

If you cannot hear the ringing tone at all, there are a few possibilities.

If you are dialing a number in an area with good reception, it is possible that the number was typed incorrectly.

You should, however, get some type of tone or voice message warning unless you have a faulty operator or there is otherwise some type of technical problem.

If you are dialing an area with poor reception, it is possible that there is a busy line plant. In other words, there is not enough copper to properly dispatch your call.

The voice links between exchanges are only used during calls, so in this situation, there will be fewer links than subscribers.

If the remote exchange itself lacks a valid voice path, it will typically tell your personal exchange to wait. After a set amount of time, the request will time out.

In some countries, the local copper may be shared to save costs. Therefore, three wires are used by three subscribers, thus saving three wires.

If there are two individuals on an active call, the third individual may be blocked to reduce the cross-talk when modems or faxes are utilized.

6. Ask Them If They’ve Missed Their Phone Bill Payment

Perhaps the simplest way to determine if someone has not paid their phone bill is to ask them.

“Hey, did you remember to pay your phone bill this month?”

In some scenarios, this may be embarrassing for people. Be hesitant to ask this and mindful of how you present the question because this is a sensitive topic for some people.

Many individuals prefer not to show signs of weakness. Perhaps missing a payment could make them look weak to some extent.

You could also advise them that many providers have opportunities for consumers to set up payment arrangements or something similar.

For example, T-Mobile has a support page dedicated to teaching people who to contact and how to set up payment arrangements.

To be eligible for this plan, all you have to do is be a postpaid customer who needs extra time paying their bill. You also need to know how long your account is past due.

If your account is less than thirty (30) days past due, you can initiate a payment arrangement.

However, if your account is more than 31 days past due, you may be required to pay a part of that past due balance before you can maintain cellular service.

There are some things you need to keep in mind if you want to utilize T-Mobile’s payment arrangement plan.

You must keep in mind that failure to meet the plan that is arranged by the staff at T-Mobile may result in a failed payment arrangement and possibly having your service suspended.

You need to ensure that your first installment (along with each that follows) is paid by the specified due date. You also need to pay all incoming bills that become due during the arrangement by their specific due date.

Once you are set up with the program, do not attempt to change, extend, or delete a payment arrangement. This could lead to confusion and further issues.

If your payment arrangement is set up with a Future Dated Payment, do not make early payments or payments with an alternate method than what was initially agreed upon.

Not following this recommendation can cause your payment not to be recognized by the system as fulfilling your particular arrangement.

Further issues can stem from this, including duplicate payments, overpayments, added fees, and the possibility of your service being suspended.

There are also potential fees that come with this possible payment plan.

For example, late fees may apply regardless of the fact that you have set up a payment arrangement if the payment date follows the due date of the bill.

There is also a $20 fee per line that needs to be restored if your account is suspended for non-payment. This also includes a partial suspension of lines. Further, there is a $5 per line bill credit that will be lost until Auto Pay is reactivated upon it being deactivated.

What Happens If Phone Bill Not Paid?

If someone does not pay their phone bill, their account will likely go into arrears. The mobile provider will ultimately cut the line off, making the individual unable to make or receive phone calls.

The individual who is going into debt should take steps to deal with the debt immediately in order to avoid their account going into default, and the contract is canceled.

If this happens, the mobile contract provider can take action to recover the unpaid bill, following the normal debt collection process that is utilized in your region.

Mobile phone bills should be treated as a priority debt in comparison to others that individuals may have. Mobile companies can take the following steps to recover the money they are owed:

Disconnect the mobile phone line.

Pass the debt on to a third-party debt collection agency.

Issue a county clerk judgment.

Apply for your bankruptcy (in certain regions).

In many situations, you can speak to your network provider about the arrears. Many providers already have some level of support in place geared to help individuals who aren’t capable of paying their bills.

They may be able to change your bill date to something better affordable for you or move you from a monthly payment plan to a ‘pay-as-you-go plan.

They may also leave you on ‘pay monthly’ status, but they may lower your monthly payments in some situations. Finally, they could delay payments for a certain period of time, depending on your personal circumstances.

How to Reach Someone Who Hasn’t Paid Their Phone Bill

If you still need to contact someone who hasn’t paid their phone bill, it is still possible. You can use one of the below-listed resources to make your necessary contacts.

1. Use WhatsApp

You can download WhatsApp to any smartphone for free. This application utilizes the internet connection on your device and further allows you to send unlimited messages, pictures, and videos.

This is a great avenue not only for people needing to contact someone who hasn’t paid their phone bill but also for long-distance callers.

WhatsApp is a messaging application, so it functions similarly to how you would text someone.

You can send messages on WhatsApp by using the following steps:

1. Open WhatsApp on your mobile device or tablet.

2. Click ‘Chats.’

3. Tap the green circle with the messaging icon. You will find this in the bottom right of your screen.

4. Choose a contact from your list or search the name of the person you want to message by tapping the magnifying glass icon.

5. Start chatting!

After you send a message, it will appear with a green background. When the person you are talking with has seen your message, two blue ticks will show beside it. Finally, when you receive messages, they will have a gray background on the left side of the screen.

2. Use Google Voice

You can make a call through Google Voice as simply as going to “Calls” and typing in the number. There is also a settings menu that allows you to set up and listen to your voicemail, block numbers, and further customize your preferences.

Additionally, this application allows you to send and receive text messages using Wi-Fi or cellular data; however, there are restrictions.

This application offers you a free secondary phone number and voicemail, and text messaging, along with other services.

You are given a list of numbers that you can choose from. Once you get your number, you can associate it with one or several cellulars or landline phone numbers.

You can sign up for Google Voice simply by signing into your Google account. If you don’t have one when you open the application, you will be asked to create one.

You can tap “Calls started from this device’s phone app” and choose whether you want to make calls using your Google Voice number or your mobile device’s number.

If your phone has been disconnected, however, you won’t have much of an option.

You can customize your voicemail greeting by scrolling down and tapping on “Voicemail greeting.” You can use the general, “The Google subscriber you have called is not available.

Please leave a message after the tone,” or a slightly more personalized “<name> is not available. Please leave a message after the tone.” Or, you have the option to record your own.

Google Voice is an older application that has not experienced anything dramatically changing over the past several years of its existence. However, it can be specifically helpful if you want an additional phone number for free.

It is certainly an option worth trying if the person you are trying to contact uses it at all. If they are connected to Wi-Fi, they will be able to answer you.

3. Use FaceTime

FaceTime is an application offered on iOS devices that allows users to send pictures and videos to other users. There are funny filters of nearly every variety, and even some that can enhance your personal beauty.

You do not need to have cellular service to use the FaceTime application because it functions over Wi-Fi as well.

FaceTime is one of the most reliable ways you can communicate with other people using separate Apple devices.

You can FaceTime people without your device being connected to a cellular network because the FaceTime application does not require cellular service to function.

As long as your Apple device is connected to a functional Wi-Fi connection, you can call people using FaceTime.

If you are not connected to a cellular network connection on your Apple mobile device, find a Wi-Fi network and use it to call people. You can call someone using their email address because the individual does not even need a phone number to complete a call.

4. Use Instagram or Snapchat

Instagram and Snapchat are both social media applications centered around pictures that will allow you to get in contact with someone who only has a Wi-Fi connection rather than both that and a cellular network connection.

Both applications have messaging features that allow you to contact individuals without sending pictures if that’s not your thing. Both of these applications do not require a cellular network connection, so you can utilize both of them using merely a Wi-Fi connection.


If you are attempting to get in contact with someone, but you are unable to reach them ultimately, it is possible that their phone has been disconnected.

This article should guide you in the right direction toward understanding whether the individual’s phone has been disconnected or not. Best of luck!

David Johnson is a freelance writer with 9 years of experience writing for Techzillo and other established tech outlets like iMore. His focus and key interests are Apple and accessibility as well as consumer technology in general. Read our Editorial Guidlines and Fact Checking process.


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