The Few 800s Left May Be Conserved

Rumors of a rationing program have subscribers scrambling to obtain numbers, creating an even more limited supply.

The federal government rationed coveted 800 numbers in 1995 until the new 888 pre-fix was introduced a year later. But the U.S. supply of available 1-800 numbers, dwindling for years, is again nearly depleted. Toll free numbers enable callers to reach businesses, organizations, and non-profits without having to pay for the call. This marketing tool has been so successful that the available 1-800 numbers are decreasing while demand is growing at unprecedented rates.

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Man Busted for Attempting to Auction Coveted 800 Number

On the heels of the arrest of a man trying to illegally sell his coveted 800 number to an undercover FBI agent, attempts by another seller trying to auction off his valuable toll free number on eBay have been shut down.

According to regulations enacted in 1997 by the Federal Communications Commission, toll free phone numbers cannot be sold. These rules were approved after complaints poured in about price-gouging for catchy vanity numbers and popular numeric sequences. The FCC reports that anyone caught attempting to sell or broker an 800 number faces significant fines.

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