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Rebecca Anne, "Flora's Cup"</a> | Creative Commons License, Flickr.com
Photo credit: Rebecca Anne, "Flora's Cup" | Creative Commons License, Flickr.com

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Cell Phone & Landline Phone Info: Free 411 Help

By Karen Santagiuliana

 

Here's a great way to save money with your cell phone when needing to use 411 for directory assistance.

Save money on 411 with your cell phone or landline phone with these helpful tips. | Photo credit: iStock

Save money on 411 with your cell phone or landline phone with these helpful tips | Photo credit: iStock

Instead of dialing 411 for information on your cell phone, you can text message the following text: 411 googl [no (e)].

Then type in the person's name, city, and state you are looking for. You will get back on your cell phone the name, address, and phone number. This is also available on a prepaid cell phone. You not only get your phone number, but the address, too, so you can find where you are trying to go.

Customer service from Verizon gave a good friend of mine this tip. She had complained about the cost to use 411. Now, that's customer service, and there is no charge!

But, what if you don't have a cell phone?

Many years back, dialing 411 for directory help from a landline phone was free. Those days are long gone.

Most landline telephone customers are now charged a fee (typically $1.00, or even more) for each directory assistance call. Despite the high charge, US consumers continue to use the 411 directory assistance service, placing about 6 billion calls per year.

That's a lot of moolah for the phone companies.

Now, however, an organization called Jingle Networks is providing an alternative directory assistance service—and, it's free.

Users who call the toll-free number 1-800-FREE411 (or 1-800-373-3411) can navigate a state-of-the-art automated voice recognition system that asks for the location (city and state), type of listing (business, government, or residential), and name.

Once the service has located an entry for the caller's requested number, it reads the information aloud. It also offers the caller the option of connecting to the number by pressing a single number on his or her phone keypad.

You may be thinking this sounds too good to be true. How on earth can Free-411 afford to offer free directory assistance service? It works a lot like commercial radio or television—businesses pay to sponsor it in exchange for presenting their audio advertisements over the phone to customers using the service.

According to Snopes.com, the Jingle Networks service is legitimate and totally cost-free to the customer:

The service is made possible by thousands of national and local businesses who sponsor this service with brief, valuable audio advertisements that are played to callers who request businesses in their yellow pages category. This advertising model allows businesses to acquire new customers over the phone, cost effectively, with little or no risk. Meanwhile, callers get free directory assistance, potentially saving each of them thousand of dollars per year.

Listening to a few audio ads seems worth it to me to avoid paying those ridiculous assistance fees.

 

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