QUOTE (ebytes @ 2-6-08, 2:57pm)
If it's been assigned to a new owner, can the original owner reclaim that number?
If the new owner was legitimately assigned the number, it's theirs. If they're willing to give it up so that you (the former owner) can try to claim it, then you may be able to get it back.
If the number was improperly assigned to the new owner, and if it can be demonstrated as such, the original owner should get it back. An example of how such a situation occurs is when an owner ports away a phone number originally assigned to them by a VoIP provider, where after the port has completed, the VoIP provider cancels that person's account but fails to purge the number from their pool of "available numbers." Along comes a new customer who signs up for service w/ the VoIP provider, and they hand the new customer a number which has already been ported out. The new customer is able to dial out under the assigned number, but incoming calls (from the regular public switched telephone network) ring on the real owner's end. Incoming calls from others on the same VoIP network, however, ring on the new owner's end. In this situation, the real owner typically starts receiving calls from friends/family of the new owner (i.e. people who are strangers to the real owner). Such a conversation may go something this:
Stranger: "Hi [new owner], this is [stranger] calling you back."
Real owner: "Huh? Who are you?"
Stranger: "What do you mean? You called me, and I'm calling you back."
Real owner: "I never called you."
Stranger: "I have it right here in my caller-id box, incoming call from 1-xxx-xxx-xxxx."
Real owner: "That's my number, but I never called you. Hmmm"
Stranger: "Hmmm. I'm anyway looking for [new owner]."
Next stranger calls new owner on new owner's cell and tells him/her what happened. At that point new owner calls his/her newly assigned phone number from his/her cell phone and ends up reaching real owner. During that conversation, the common link between real owner and new owner somehow gets revealed: VoIP provider XYZ. Thereafter the mystery (more or less) gets solved. The appropriate solution at that point is for new owner to inform VoIP provider XYZ of what happened, for real owner to call up same VoIP provider to remind them that he/she ported the number away, and for VoIP provider XYZ to re-assign new owner a new number as well as purge real owner's number from their system once and for all. Got it?