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Panasonic EL52253 cordless phone: after completing a call, the in use light on the base remains lit unless the user presses the red OFF button on the phone. Can this shutoff be made automatic?

My parents have a problem with a Panasonic EL52253 cordless phone. They have phone company voicemail system backing up the answering machine attached to the phone. The system was set up for the answering machine to pick up after 4 rings and the voicemail after 6, so the answering machine catches missed calls unless the line is in use, in which calls go to voicemail. The problem they encountered was that calls were coming in and going directly to voicemail. Calls were bypassing the AT&T unit completely, even though nobody was using the phone: the phone would not ring, nor would the answering machine pick up. I finally figured out what was going on and I wonder if anybody else has this problem: after receiving or making a phone call, the person on the other end would hang up, but my parents would put down the receiver without pressing the red OFF button. The in use light on the base unit remained on, and any calls that came in bypassed the entire unit and went directly to voicemail. The solution, of course, is to always be sure to press OFF after completing a call. The problem is my folks are elderly and forgetful, and thus not likely to do this consistently. I was hoping to find a way to make this hang up automatic, but so far, no luck. Maybe somebody has an idea on this? Thanks!

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Great job at asking the question. so much better than most on this site. I would try deregistering all the hand sets and then re-registering the base unit handset. see pdf instructions:
http://www.brandsmartusa.com/pdfs/manuals/20182728.pdf

Posted on May 05, 2017

Testimonial: "Thanks the response and for the compliment, rd. Unfortunately, I had already left my parents' house by the time I read your suggestion. I will try to remember to try that the next time I visit them. Michael"

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Since you can call out it seems to me that it is the phone company's error message..

"All circuits are busy" and "this number is no longer in service" are telephone company error messages.

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I couldn't find the exact manual for your phone but I would try to re-register the phone. Following are some instructions for similar models of your phone.

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This may help. It's from the Panasonic help page:

You may try to:

Disconnect AC power adapter from the back/bottom of base unit, then connect it again properly.
spacer.gif OR, to resolve this issue, you have to re-register the handset.
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    If this fails to help:
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  • To do this on a expandable cordless phone system:
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    Press and hold the FLASH/CALL WAIT button on the Handset that is displaying "No Link To Base" until a beep is heard.
    When registration is complete, a beep sounds from the handset.
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