Free 411-Truth!


Summary of eRumor:

Bemoaning the high cost of directory assistance calls, especially from cell phones, this eRumor says you can get free information calls by dialing 1 800 FREE 411.

The Truth:

This story is true. 

800 FREE-411 is an interesting service.  If you call for a residential number, you’ll get it for free. If you call for a business number, you may be offered competitors in the area that you are calling as well as the number that you specifically asked for.

When this eRumor went viral in 2006, the Team made several test calls to 800 FREE-411. One of the calls resulted in a short advertisement being played over the phone shortly before we were given to the number. 

Others did not. When we asked for the number of our of our own offices in California, we were given a number that more than a year-and-a-half old so some of their databases may not be up to date. Also, the system is automated at first. 

You are directed by voice prompts and a couple of our calls resulted in delay because the voice system could not understand what we were saying but we were directed to a live person who was able to process our request successfully.

Posted 1/10/06 

A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:

Hi all, This REALLY works – yay! I programmed it into my cell phone for free 411 calls – I used to pay $1.40 every time! Bette

Subject: Good information.

Cell phone companies are charging us $1.00 or more for 411
information calls when they don’t have to.
When you need to use the 411 information option, simply dial 1 800
FREE 411 or 1 800 373 3411 without incurring a charge at all except for
the minutes required to make the call.

This is information people don’t mind receiving – let people know.