How Toll-Free Numbers Work

How Toll-Free Numbers Work for Business Owners?

Toll-free numbers are those unique numbers which start with a three digit code (800, 855, 866 or 888) and allow clients or customers to reach organizations without paying call charges. However, subscribers of toll-free numbers have to pay for incoming as well as outgoing calls. So it can be said that toll-free numbers provide a two-way communication method, but unlike landline phones, calling charges are to be paid by the called party.

Every industry relies heavily on toll-free numbers but their use is particularly common among telemarketing or customer care sectors where organizations have to ensure consumers their 24/7 availability. Although the use of these numbers is fairly common, many of you might not know how vanity toll-free numbers work. Here is a quick introduction to the basics of toll-free numbers for new users:

1. Toll-Free Codes

There are five codes or prefixes of toll-free numbers which give unique identity to a contact number. These codes are considered as routing identity as they decide the destination of the call. Most users think that these codes are interchangeable and telephone number is identified by the 7-digit suffix, which is not the case. On the contrary, these codes are not interchangeable. For example, if two numbers have same suffix but different codes, then they will be considered as two different phone numbers. This is the reason that despite so many subscribers, toll-free numbers can provide a unique caller identity to every subscriber.

2. Vanity Suffix

All toll-free numbers are not vanity numbers. Vanity toll-free numbers provide users an option to set the suffix as the name of the company or personalize the suffix. This helps in making the number easy to learn and improves the recall of the calling party.

3. Toll-Free Numbers Assignment

Usually toll-free numbers are assigned on priority basis i.e. the subscriber who comes first, is served first by toll-free service providers. The database which contains information about assigned toll-free numbers is called SMS/800. Service providers have access to this database and assign numbers in accordance with the status of unassigned numbers. Although every licensed service provider has open access to SMS/800, the database is administrated by “Responsible Organizations.

4. Directory Assistance

Users can also seek help from toll-free directory by calling the toll-free helpline. However, the directory does not contain all toll-free contacts. The list only contains those contacts whose subscribers grant permission for enlisting their number in the public toll-free directory.

5. Complain Filing

Federal Communications Commission is a central organization which monitors toll-free number assignment and registers users’ complains. Users can also consult their service provider in case of any problem. FCC regulates all the rules for toll-free service providers and make sure that they are providing satisfactory services to subscribers.

Although 800 vanity toll-free numbers have been used by business organizations, these numbers can also be used by individual subscribers for personal use. For more information about toll-free numbers, contact