FCC Warns, Tricky Language Can Land You in an Illegal Deal

Following the emergence of a black market for valuable toll free numbers, including catchy vanity numbers, sources say federal authorities are cracking down on the illegal sales of 800 numbers.

Insiders say to avoid being caught in an undercover investigation and facing hefty fines from the Federal Communications Commission, anyone interested in obtaining an 800 number should deal with reputable service providers such as Qwest, or AT&T.

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FCC Regulates Toll Free Number Policy

Attempts to profit from the illegal sale of 800, 888, 877, and 866 numbers are in response to rapidly dwindling supplies. Thee FCC rules were established and are very clear. Hoarding and Brokering of toll free phone numbers is unlawful. Our experts advise anyone interested in obtaining an 800 number should legally obtain a toll free number through a reliable toll free service provider.

Hoarding Toll Free Numbers is an Actionable Offense

According to regulations enacted on April 11, 1997 by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) toll free phone numbers cannot be hoarded 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.

As Toll Free Number Pool Shrinks, Black Market Grows

As with any commodity in high demand, a black market for toll free numbers is growing. We hear that regulators are scrambling to control the illegal sales of valuable 800 numbers. With toll free service soaring in popularity while finite supplies of available numbers drop, attempts to illegally buy and sell choice numbers on the black market is increasing.

According to regulations enacted in 1997 by FCC, 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.

The Toll Free Industries Black Market: Number Hoarding

Under rules established in 1997 by the Federal Communications Commission, toll-free service providers cannot reserve a toll-free number without having an actual toll-free subscriber for whom the number is being reserved. By law, available numbers must be doled out on a first-come, first served basis off the main database maintained by the 800 Service Management System (SMS/800).

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FCC Narrowing Gaze Upon Number Hoarders

According to the FCC, hoarding and warehousing numbers is prohibited and punishable with severe fines.

Along with hoarding, the outright sale of specific toll free numbers is likewise illegal. Some crafty entrepreneurs have attempted to skirt the regulations by “leasing” or “renting” numbers. But industry insiders say the crackdown on illegal use of toll free numbers is aimed at this practice too.

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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.

Don’t Forget The Regulations

Some people in the toll free industry would be benefited by remembering that according to regulations enacted on April 11, 1997 by the Federal Communications Commission, toll free phone numbers cannot be sold or brokered under any conditions. These rules were approved after the FCC fielded numerous complaints about price gouging for catchy vanity numbers and popular numeric sequences and they are still active and enforced.

Once Illegal Practices Are Discovered

What happens if regulators discover illegal hoarding or sales of toll free numbers. If the FCC discovers illegal hoarding, they immediately send out disconnect and suspend letters to the owner of the numbers. Additionally, the brokering of toll free numbers can result in hefty fines. Remember, last year, an astounding daily fine of $11,000 was reportedly imposed on a California company accused of improperly using toll free numbers.

FCC Asserts Itself

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. Recently they threatened an $11,000 daily fine to the owners of a California company for improper toll free use. This followed a string of unrelated instances, including at least one owner’s attempt to sell his numbers on eBay.