Could Rationing Cause Illegal Trade to Grow?

Government officials and telecommunications insiders agree that say something must be done to offset the problem of depleted supplies of available toll free numbers. But will this mean a possible rationing program and a tougher crackdown on the burgeoning black market? Attempts to profit from the illegal sale of 800, 888, 877 and 866 numbers are in response to rapidly dwindling supplies. As with any commodity in high demand, a black market for toll free numbers has emerged. Some feel that rationing may just make the problem worse.


Toll Free Auctions Tempting But Illegal

Sales of sought-after toll free numbers on eBay continue even as reports of the FCC looking into improper turnover of these numbers continues. Log on now and you will see listings. A black market for toll free numbers has emerged and attempts to illegally buy and sell choice numbers is increasing. According to regulations enacted by the FCC in 1997, toll free phone numbers cannot be sold or brokered. These rules were approved after the FCC fielded numerous complaints 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. But that hasn’t stopped brokers from attempting to sell numbers on Internet websites and auction sites such as eBay.