8 Questions to Ask About 1800 Number Availability

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Toll free telephone numbers have been a catalyst for business growth since they were first introduced in the late 1960’s. With popularity comes misinformation and misconception, however, and thanks to conflicting information floating around the internet, many businesses owners still have questions about 1-800 number availability and feasibility. Let’s take a look at eight questions a business owner should ask about 1-800 number availability before signing a contract:

Do All Providers Have Access to All Available 1-800 NumbersToll free service providers known as “Responsible Organizations” or “RespOrgs” all have access to the complete SMS/800 database of available toll free telephone numbers in the market. It is against the law for providers to purchase blocks of numbers for the purpose of holding them and selling them at a premium. All businesses have access to all available toll free numbers.

Can I Choose My Own NumberYes. This is especially important if you are choosing a vanity toll free number for your business that spells out a name, word, or phrase. As long as the SMS/800 database shows the 1-800 number is available, you can choose it for your business.  You can also opt for the provider to randomly select a number, if you don’t have any particular preferences.

When Do I Get My Toll free Number1800 numbers are available almost instantly. Once you’ve set up your account with a provider and chosen a telephone number, your customers can begin using it immediately.

Can I Keep My Toll Free Number if I Change ProvidersBy law, 1-800 numbers are portable, which means you can take them with you any time you change a provider, as long as your account with that provider is in good standing. Providers cannot hold your number hostage unless you happen to be in arrears, or if you have violated your terms of service (violating Do Not Call laws, engaging in fraud, etc).

Are 888, 877, 866, 855, and 844 Toll freeYes. All of the above prefixes are toll free and work the same way in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and the U.S Virgin Islands.  The 800 prefix is the number that most people are familiar with because it was the very first toll free prefix, and the only one available for many years. Now, due to high demand, the FCC has expanded the prefixes all the way to 844.

Can I Get a US 1-800 Number if My Business is Located Outside the Country

Yes. International businesses are able to forward US-based 800 numbers overseas. Talk to your provider about international toll free forwarding availability.

Does the Number Affect My Local Phone ServiceMost 1-800 numbers are issued over voice over internet protocol (VoIP), which means they use the internet to transmit your calls. Your provider will simply “point” your new 1-800 number to your local line, or any line you choose. It will not interrupt your local service.

Can I add more 1-800 Numbers for My BusinessYes. If you should decide you’d like to utilize additional numbers for ad-tracking or geo-tracking purposes, you can do so with a phone call or a few clicks of a mouse.  There is virtually no limit to the number available 1-800 number you can point to your business.

A reputable toll free provider will be able to answer any questions you may have about 1-800 number availability and feasibility. Unfortunately, however, there are many disreputable firms out in the marketplace, so if you feel as though a potential provider is being evasive with you or is not answering your questions, end the relationship and seek out a reputable toll free company who will be happy to handle your questions and your business.