You can reproduce this yourself on the demo site:

Search Builder > Contacts > Preferred Communication Method = Phone

Returns the exact same results as

Search Builder > Contacts > Preferred Communication Method != Phone

See the screenshots:


and then:

enter image description here

1 Answer 1


You've found a bug. Check out Reporting a Bug, starting with step 7.

As a point of interest - variations on this bug have been reported before. For instance, CRM-6652, several years ago, which was only fixed last month with CRM-16483.

If you're looking to patch this yourself, I would definitely look to CRM-16483 as a model.

  • Thanks for the confirmation, Jon. I'll file a bug ASAP and look at attempting a patch. Cheers.
    – LunkRat
    Jun 15, 2015 at 15:32
  • @LinkSwanson - I was going through the issue tracker today, just wanted to make sure you were aware of issues.civicrm.org/jira/browse/CRM-16286 so that you tried patching this on Civi 4.6.4+. Jun 15, 2015 at 19:48
  • Can anyone think of a workaround that would allow me to create a smart group with communication method != Phone?
    – LunkRat
    Jun 22, 2015 at 15:59
  • @LinkSwanson Use Communication Preference IN ('Email', 'SMS', etc.)? Jun 22, 2015 at 18:20
  • Thanks @JonG your suggestion worked on 4.6.3 ... then I upgraded to 4.6.4 and it no longer works. Using the in operator gives an error Notice: Undefined index: IN in CRM_Contact_BAO_Query->preferredCommunication() (line 4007 of /srv/buildkit/build/d46/sites/all/modules/civicrm/CRM/Contact/BAO/Query.php). on the CiviCRM demo site. None of the operators work when using Preferred Communication Method. This bug is really hurting the reputation of CiviCRM within our organization.
    – LunkRat
    Jul 6, 2015 at 18:11

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