Unable to check voice mail from outside line

Hello Group,

My FreePBX system is setup to only receive incomming calls and then once a specific extension is selected the call is then forwarded to three phone numbers entered into the “follow me” list using the hunt feature. I am trying to check voice mail messages on the extension from a cell phone by dialing into the inbound number but I can not get it to work or do anything. When I press * (Asterisk Symbol) to access the menu to check voice mail the system just says “you have entered an invalid selection” and starts replaying the main greeting message again. What am I doing wrong? Any help is greatly appreciated.


You have to press * before the “beep” is played by the relevant voicemail box. You can’t do it from an IVR.

Ok, I’ll give that a try. But quick question. Is there a way to check voice mail for the extension before it starts ringing the phone numbers that are in the “follow me” list?

No, to use * you MUST be in the voicemail of that extension, or “how will it know?”

You could get clever with a dialplan that calls VM directly.


I called the number, IVR answered, I chose the extension, it called all three phone numbers (not answering deliberately), it then played the voice mail greeting message but when I pressed * several times but nothing happen it just kept playing the voice mail greeting message, then I heard the beep and it started recording…

Not sure why its not working. What am I missing here?

Also I went to the voice mail dial plan link you provided, but the content on that page makes no sense to me. Can you put in in words on how to setup a voice mail dial plan that I can make sense of? I already have some dial plan entries in my dial plan including just an *. Not sure how to go about this.


How did you install FreePBX/Asterisk?

Start off by sending a DID straight to your extension without follow me.

that should work , add dtmf to your console/full logging to prove it.

Ok, did some testing. I sent the call straight to voice mail and I was able to get to where a lady talks and said “The person at extension " " is unavailable…” and I was able to enter * and it started giving me information on what to do. So it looks like its working, something however is blocking it from working correctly when I have it configured the way that I did. Hummm.

Going to try a couple of other things. Let you know in a few.

Then, baby steps, add an IVR option to go to voicemail for that extension, then dial * , For best effect, actually set up the voice mail box first :wink:

Found the problem. My path was… inbound route-> set caller id-> IVR (with greeting message)-> Extension -> Follow Me (with transfer message)-> Announcement (with voice mail greeting)-> Voice Mail (no-msg).

What corrected the problem was changing the Voice Mail (no-msg) to Voice Mail (instructions-only).

I was thinking (or at least was wanting, expecting) it would play the voice mail greeting message and then go “beep” and start recording, and then while it was playing the voice mail greeting message it would let me press the * asterisk button to enter into voice mail instructions mode. But that apparently is not how the program functions unfortunately. Or will it and I just don’t have something setup correctly?

Something I am noticing though, when I do press the *, sometimes it goes straight to the voice mail menu prompts and sometimes it bypasses and starts recording, and I am pressing the * in plenty of time. Not sure why its doing that.

As I said, you need to press before the beep, no beep , no chance.

I heard what you said. I am pressing the * BEFORE the beep. Besides it doesn’t give much time to press the button, they need to adjust the time. Thank you for your help. Do appreciate it.

Now if I could just figure out how to change the default messages of that lady who talks really fast. LOL Im also working on trying get the outbound email notifications to work. None of these ISP’s like to allow relay of email through their servers. I have email addresses at both Comcast.net and 1and1.com, but best I can tell they do not allow to send email through their servers…

When and if you set up the voicemail box the greeting will be as long as you make it.

All sound files are below /var/lib/asterisk/sounds , the text of each of them is listed at http://www.voip-info.org/wiki/view/Asterisk+sound+files, feel free to rerecord them to suit.

Read the Wiki and search the fora for answers already given or start new threads for off topic subjects but for most small users I would suggest you use your gmail account as a relay, there are many recipes to do that in postfix out there, some even here in these fora.

Just to be clear, there IS a way to go directly to checking the voicemail without having to ring the extensions and without having to press star:

Step One: Create a Misc Destination that calls *98xx (where xx is your extension number).


Description: Check Voicemail for Extension 200
Dial: *98200

Step Two: In your IVR, create a SECRET option (not the one that callers use to reach the extension) and make the destination: Misc Destination:(name of Misc Destination you created in step 1).

Step Three: Now, when you make that selection, you won’t have to press *. You’ll just be prompted to enter the password.


Thank you so much for that information, I tried doing what you said and it works great! Again thank you!

Is there anyway that I can check for voice mail messages via telephone WITHOUT costing me minutes from my SIP provider DID Number account, or is via a computer the only way to do that free?


It depends upon a lot of factors.

You could have your voicemail messages emailed to you and listen to them on your telephone without having to pay your SIP provider.

You could also install a SIP client (like CSipSimple) and have it register directly to your PBX via a VPN. But, that’s fairly complicated to set-up.

If your SIP provider allows free calls from its own customers to its own customers, you could set-up another account on your SIP provider and have your SIP client on your phone (i.e., CSipSimple) register to that, and then use that to call your DID for free. Callcentric allows for this, I believe.

Sounds like neither of those are going to be an option for me. Guess I will either have to call in and burn up some minutes or get the email notifications (with voice mail attachment) working. Which reminds me, I still need to work on figuring out how to get my system to send out emails…

Thanks again.

For those who are still in need of that feature, here’s an easy way to do that:

In the main IVR, add an entry and use some digits (anything you like, for example: *123456 or *98). I suggest using something hard to find to avoid getting hacked.
Then, set the Destination to “Feature Code Admin / Dial Voicemail <*98`>” which is my feature code to “Dial Voicemail”.

When you access your IVR, you simply need to dial *123456 and you get in!
You can now enter your voicemail extension and your password.

Say thanks to Karl, my partner who found this tweak :wink: