Free directory assistance & calling
dial 411 from your mobile phone, stop. Almost all
carriers charge a fee, and those fees can add up over
the course of a month or a year.
To find the toll-free phone number for US-based
companies, call 1-800-555-1212 (AT&T).
To obtain company and government phone numbers at no
charge, the best solutions are either 1-800-GOOG-411
(Google) or 1-800-BING-411 (Microsoft). These work
great from mobile phones since they are hands-free and
they even complete the call for you at no charge. They
both also deliver the number to your cellphone as a text
message. The Microsoft service also includes
turn-by-turn directions. It also has options to provide
weather, sports, traffic, movie and travel information,
as well as stock quotes and places to obtain cheap gas.
Another service (1-800-FREE-411) is available that
provides free business and residential phone numbers.
You need to listen to audio ads, though, which are
pretty gross and you need to dial the number which makes
it a challenge to call from a mobile phone. Useful for
finding residential numbers at no charge, though.
For companies who try to hide their phone numbers, many
times the Google search will find a page from a
disgruntled customer who exposes the phone numbers for
that company. For example, see these gripe pages about
these for eBay and
For calling enterprises that are not in the gethuman
database, you will need to figure out how to get to a
human. Once you have a phone number, here are some tips
to try to get to a live human:
Press 0 (or 0# or #0 or 0* or *0) repeatedly,
sometimes quickly. Unfortunately the same keystroke
does not always work for each company.
automation systems will connect to a human after a
few "invalid entries", although some will
Say "get human" (or "agent" or "representative") or
raise your voice, or just mumble. :) The IVR
might connect you to a human after one of these key
or unknown phrases.
pretending you have only an old rotary phone.
Connect to account collections or sales or
account cancellation; they always seem to answer
quickly. First ask them for their name and rep
number (so they know you are writing it down, and
thus so they are more likely to help you.) Then ask
them to transfer you to the department you need.
Sometimes they will put you ahead of the queue,
although sometimes they will send you to the end
(and thus in those cases this tip is useless).
For credit cards, if the expected wait time is too
long, hangup and try to call back on their
non-toll-free number, as they often have shorter
Selecting the option for Spanish will
sometimes get you a bilingual human more quickly
than if you just waited for an English-only
When you do finally find a human, ask them how to
connect directly the next time (in case your call
gets disconnnected etc), and be sure to tell us so we
can then list their number
Can’t communicate properly with the agent
Increasingly, American customer support jobs are
being outsourced to regions of
world where the cost of labor is considerably
many instances, this has created a severe
communication problem. The callers are not able to
understand what the agent is saying and the agent
does not understand the caller.
can you do about it? One thing to do is to tell us
about your experience with a call. If you click on
the name of the business, you will be taken to a
very brief (less than 5 second) survey where you can
tell us if the agent was understandable or not.
During the next months we are planning to confront
the businesses that are providing agents that are
unable to communicate properly.
Another thing that you can do is ask the agent to
connect you to the supervisor. Then ask the
supervisor to connect you to North American based
See also the
gethuman standard for
a description of how
should work, and the
consumer tip on using Spanish
operators to get to an English speaking operator.
(c) 2008-2014 Get2Human.com