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All phones aren't ringing with incoming call

We are having a problem with cordless phones not ringing with incoming calls when a corded phone is plugged in.  For the last 5 years, my mother has had one corded phone and one cordless phone (a Uniden w/ 3 handsets) plugged in and until a month ago, all of the phones (including the base) would ring with an incoming call.  Following a thunderstorm, she found that the corded phone would ring, but not the base nor the handsets of the cordless phone.  All the phones show an incoming call, though.  We thought the problem was the cordless phone, so she purchased a new one (a Radio Shack) that has 2 handsets.  This phone also doesn't ring for incoming calls when the corded phone is plugged in.  We did find that the new cordless phone would ring when the corded phone wasn't plugged in, as does the old one.  She called Verizon and after almost 2 hours was told that the problem was with the phones.  I find that hard to believe, since they work sometimes and not others, depending on which phones are plugged in.  In the meantime, we've tried several combinations of phones plugged in and here's what we found:

1.  Old cordless phone plugged in w/ no corded:  Base ringer just beeps, handsets ring.

2.  Old cordless and old corded all plugged in (original configuration):  Corded phone rings, cordless does not, but shows incoming call.

3.  New cordless phone w/ no corded:  All handsets ring, including the base.

4.  New cordless w/ corded phone:  Corded phone rings, none of cordless phones ring.

5.  New cordless w/ a different corded phone (one I brought from home) plugged in:  None of the phones ring, including the corded one.  All show an incoming call.  The ringer on my phone worked at my house before I brought it.

6.  Old cordless and 2nd corded phone:  Same as #5.

7.  2nd corded phone alone:  Does not ring, shows incoming call.

We are open for any other suggestions.  She just wants all the phones to ring again, so she can hear them througout the house.  And, yes, everything that should be plugged in is when the phones were tested and the volume on all the phones and bases was up as far as it would go.

Thanks for your help,


Re: All phones aren't ringing with incoming call
Super User
Super User

Sounds like it could be an issue anywhere. While I'm sure it's not the best thing to try doing since Cordless phones require the base to be powered, have you tried connecting both a corded phone and a cordless phone to the test jack out at your mother's NID to see if you get the same result? This will at least rule out the house's wiring as being faulty, meaning it would be up to Verizon to solve. It could be possible what you're seeing is the result of damage to the copper line, either causing a short or some resistance that prevents the line from ringing properly based on the setup.

For info on a NID, see this FAQ:

Re: All phones aren't ringing with incoming call

i have a similar problem.  my phones do not all ring together.  some ring sometime and not other times.  I fixed it by making sure that all the ring tones were the same.