Media Advisory – Decline of Available Toll Free Numbers Continues To Cause Alarm

Reports Cite Several Contributing Risk Factors

On the heels of numerous warnings about the alarming decline in the number of available toll free numbers, SMSGOV.com has now reported that toll service providers’ collective revenue decreased by six billion dollars according to a monitoring report released by the Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service.

The report, filed with the FCC, is elevating concerns within an industry already worried about a potential meltdown. The popularity of the finite amount of toll free numbers, coupled with the failure of the FCC to release new numbers, has created a deficit of availability that is raising red flags throughout the telecommunications world.

Last week, a member of the Tollfree Advisory Committee at SMSGOV.com acknowledged that the scarcity is causing a surge of subscribers scurrying to obtain the available toll free numbers. If supplies deplete much further, small businesses nationwide could see disastrous economic fallout. Toll free numbers are known as an effective marking strategy that increases customer base and boosts revenue.

The Toll-Free Ration Bill

Read more about the potential phone embargo

Also causing alarm are the recent reports of increased incidents of illegal hoarding of toll free numbers. The FCC has been clamping down on violations of Section 251 (e) of the Communications Act of 1934, which prohibits the warehousing and hoarding of numbers. To ensure that toll free numbers are distributed in a fair and equitable way, the FCC is taking a close look at suspect activity. Last spring, they cited a potential $11,000 daily fine to the owners of a California company for improper toll free practices. This followed a string of unrelated instances, including at least one owner’s attempt to sell his numbers on eBay.

More on Toll Free Laws

More information on Hoarding

Read about the eBay seller caught auctioning his number

For additional information, go to SMSGOV.com.

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Embargo on Toll Free Phone Service?

Telecommunications industry sources now say an unthinkable embargo on new toll free phone service in the United States is a real possibility within the next year. Facing a severe shortage of available 800-numbers, a skyrocketing demand for toll free service and an emerging black market for 800 numbers, insiders say officials feel they are left with no choice but to impose an embargo.

more reading…

The Toll Free Ration Program

Advisors say the best way to obtain a toll free number before the supply runs out is to use a reliable toll free service provider that has access to the database of available numbers.

more reading…

Indiana Health – Toll Free Peanut Line

The Indiana Health Department set up a toll-free line to help confused consumers identify peanut products now recalled for possible salmonella exposure. The list is so big it would take 400 pages if you tried to print it all out.

Full Article

The toll-free hotline number is 877-499-0017.  It is serviced by Litel Telecom Corp, over the Qwest network.  You may call between 8 a.m. and 4:45 p.m. EST.

Full recall list

DMV May Reinstate Their 800 Numbers

Reports are swirling this week after the DMV announced that they plan to discontinue the use of their long time toll free numbers, 1-800-DIAL-DMV and 1-800-CALL-DMV; insiders are now recieving reports that the DMV will most-likely reinstate the toll free numbers if the public expresses dissatisfaction toward the recent cost-saving decision.

Insiders at the DMV have stated that the decision has not faired well with the public thusfar which the DMV expected.  It is likely that the 800 numbers will not stay disconnected for long.

Even so, this may be a first strike against the governments use of 800 numbers to stay in contact with the public.

DMV Cuts Off Access to Their 800 Numbers

The North County Gazette reported to us today from ALBANY NY:

If you thought dealing with the state Department of Motor Vehicles was unpleasant before, now the agency has made it even most costly for you, eliminating the convenient statewide 1-800 telephone numbers used for contacting DMV call centers.

Although now you’ll have to pay for the call, DMV says it’s generously allowing the call centers will continue to remain open for the motoring public.

“While the DMV realizes that the elimination of the toll-free numbers may take some time to get accustomed to, recent trends in telecommunication plans have provided many people with unlimited long-distance calls and most of our county clerks partners continue to provide DMV local numbers for their constituents,” Commissioner Swarts said. “While eliminating the 1-800 numbers may be an unwelcome change for some, the cost savings to the State during these extremely difficult financial times are necessary.”

Although there is plenty of room in DMV operations for other cost-cutting measures such as increasing employee productivity and keeping them from surfing the Internet virtually constantly during their work hours, Swarts did not announce any other cost cutting moves.

On Monday, Feb. 2, the upstate toll-free telephone number for customers to contact the DMV Call Center was eliminated. Customers in the Upstate region, primarily all areas north and west of Dutchess, Sullivan, Ulster and parts of Delaware counties, who previously dialed 1-800-CALL-DMV must now dial 518-486-9786 to reach the DMV Call Center.

On Monday, Feb. 9, the downstate toll-free number will be changed to a toll number. Customers in the downstate region who previously dialed 1-800 DIAL-DMV must now dial 718-477-4820 to reach the DMV Call Center. The 1-800-DIAL-DMV toll-free number served customers in the following counties: Delaware, Dutchess, Nassau, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Suffolk, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester.

When these changes are fully integrated, the numbers 1-800-CALL-DMV and 1-800-DIAL-DMV will no longer be in service. Customers who call one of the toll-free numbers after February 2nd or February 9th will receive a recorded message directing them to call the new toll number to reach the DMV Call Center for assistance.

It is important to note that the local numbers in New York City, 212-645-5550 and 718-966-6155, will not be changed and will remain in service.

Link to article