Toll-Free Numbers

A toll-free telephone number can add convenience to communicating with long-distance friends and family. For a business, a toll-free number can boost your marketing by providing a free way for clients and customers to communicate with you. Many providers offer toll-free numbers with a variety of plan options.

Decide if you need a toll-free number

A toll-free number that doesn’t cost the caller anything, but will charge you by the minute. An toll-free number is especially useful for businesses, as the number can be personalized to match the business product, and doesn’t cost potential customers anything to call.

  • A toll-free number allows anybody to call from anywhere in the country, or even the world, and the call will be treated as a local call for the caller. This means that the long-distance charges that would normally apply are instead taken on by the operator of the 800 number.
  • A toll-free number is especially important for businesses that spend a lot of time on the phone with customers. If the customer is going to have to be on the phone for 15-30 minutes per call, letting them place that call for free can be very beneficial.
  • An 800 number can be transferred to your existing landline or cell phone number. You will be charged minutes on your cell phone as normal, as well as the per-minute fees for receiving calls on the toll-free number.
  • Almost all services will allow you to attempt to personalize your toll-free number. A personalized toll-free number can make your business look MUCH more professional, and can lead to a serious increase in business.
  • Besides 800, toll free can also be 888, 877, 866, 855 and 844.
  • Toll-Free Area codes reserved for future expansion include 833, 822, 880 through 887, and 889.
Cost to Acquire a Toll-Free Number
Obtaining an original toll-free number that begins with 800 has many benefits and some disadvantages. The biggest advantage is that an 800 number is the original toll-free number in the United States and has been established since the mid-1950s and is well recognized. Some disadvantages are (1) They are sometimes difficult and costly to obtain, (2) they may have a history of usage tat could cost you unnecessary inbound call and (3) the numbers after the 800 may not be unique enough that your customers would quickly recognize the number as your business. At Carolina Digital Phone we encourage our business customers to look at Toll-Free numbers that begin with the new area codes 888, 877, 866, 855 and 844.
Vanity Toll Free Numbers
Cost to acquire a vanity number with the prefix 888, 877, 866, 855 us usually more easily obtained that a 800 prefix. The cost to obtain a vanity number that might spell you business name, or include numbers that are common to your business can range in price from as low as a one-time fee of $45 to as high as $2,500.

Shared Use Toll-Free Numbers

In toll-free telephony, a shared-use number is a vanity number (usually a valuable generic phoneword) which is rented to multiple local companies in the same line of business in different cities. As one example, a taxi company could rent shared use of +1-800-TAXICAB in one city. The number belongs to a company in Van Nuys, California, but is redirected to local cab companies on a city-by-city basis and promoted by being printed on everything from individual taxi cab hub caps to campaigns against drunk driving.

One former Mercedes dealer obtained +1-800-MERCEDES, charging other dealers to receive calls to that number from their local areas. The auto maker unsuccessfully sued MBZ Communications of Owatonna, Minnesota, operated by former Mercedes dealer Donald Bloom, alleging deception and trademark infringement.  Mercedes was ultimately forced to obtain a different number, +1-800-FOR-MERCEDES, for its national call center.

A company renting +1-800-RED-CROSS at a premium price to individual local Red Cross chapters as ‘shared use’ was less fortunate; the Federal Communications Commission reassigned that number to the Red Cross as an emergency response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Shared use can be used as a means to circumvent restrictions on warehousing, hoarding and brokering toll-free numbers as technically the number is not being sold, only rented one city or region at a time. The practice is nonetheless potentially problematic as it leaves local businesses advertising numbers which they do not own and for which they therefore have no number portability. The cost per minute and per month is typically far higher for a shared-use number than for a standard toll-free vanity number which a local business controls outright and there is little protection if the shared use company fails to meet its obligations or ceases operation.

Carolina Digital Phone currently does not offer Shared Use Toll-Free numbers but if you have interest we can refer you to companies that provide this very specialized service.

Other Toll Free Numbers

Carolina Digital Phone can easily and quickly reassign you within just a few minutes a legitimate toll-free number from a reputable national carrier. The one-time setup fee is $10 and the monthly recurring cost is $5 which includes 100 minutes per month. Minute usage over the 100 minutes is billed at 3 cents per minute.

International Local Numbers

Carolina Digital Phone can now offer you a local telephone number in up to as many as 60 different countries in the world. Read more at this page.

Possible Scam Warning

Don’t get scammed by eBay or toll-free numbers sold by non-telecom related companies. You may have seen toll free numbers listed on ebay. There have actually been over 1.7 million dollars worth of toll free numbers put up on ebay in just the last four months. There are a number of legal issues related to that which I’m really not trying to get into at the moment. I’m not promoting that nor am I discouraging this. But I’ve been watching the listings and gathering some information from all of the ebay listings for toll free numbers listed for over $100,000 (and a few slightly less). I figured that this may be helpful for visitors, at least as far as knowing what other people value their own numbers at. Bottom line, buyer beware!