General Question

flo's avatar

Why would toll free not mean toll free just because it is cellphone?

Asked by flo (10939points) March 5th, 2011

Does your use a cellphone service provider do that to you?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

15 Answers

buckyboy28's avatar

It all depends on your cell phone plan. Some plans allow toll free numbers to be called for free, but others have it as a charge call. You will need to call your cell phone company to see.

Taciturnu's avatar

It uses minutes, but I haven’t heard of charging a fee.

@buckyboy28 has a good idea, to call your phone company and ask them what their policy is. If you call a lot of toll-free numbers, I would suggest you ask them what you can do to have them included in your plan.

flo's avatar

@buckyboy28
@Taciturnu
I don’t even know how to respond.

Taciturnu's avatar

@flo What do you mean?

BarnacleBill's avatar

Or you could go to the web site and look at your plan details. I have Sprint, which uses minutes. I share 1500 minutes between 3 phones, with unlimited text messaging. Sprint to Sprint calls don’t count towards the 1500 minutes, so if I call my daughters, it doesn’t count towards minutes. I don’t use the internet on my phone so I’m not sure how that works.

I was under the impression the major carriers all work in a similar manner.

What exactly are you being charged for that you find objectionable? The minutes to the toll free number? Or are you getting a separate charge from your carrier for that call from you cell phone company. If you were to call that number from a land line, you would not be charged long distance charges. You are not charged long distance charges by a cell phone carrier when you call toll free, long distance or local; they all use up minutes at the same rate.

flo's avatar

@Taciturnu I mean my question is how can it be?
@BarnacleBill okay, but whether it is through minutes or not, when a company offers a toll free phone number, that means there is no charge to the caller, unless it says “toll free from landline phones”. Also, when you call the 1 800 directory, they don’t specify that it is only for landline. Why aren’t the cellphone company and my supermarket let’s say, working it out between themselves, since the phone call is supposed to be at no cost to me according to my supermarket?

Taciturnu's avatar

@flo Who’s your carrier?

BarnacleBill's avatar

@flo, when you use a landline, there are two ways to have a landline: 1) a monthly fee for local calls, with a surcharge for long distance, or 2) a toll charge for each phone call placed and received. The second method is less common these days, but used to be more common several decades ago when toll-free numbers came into being. The way it would work is if you paid a monthly fee for local calls, the toll-free call was treated as a local call and you didn’t pay the surcharge for calling the number. In the case of individuals with the second method, the phone call was free as an inducement to do business. As most people had the first method, the cost of the second method was easy for businesses to absorb. And in the case of the first method, the customer was paying for the call as part of the local service, but as local service was unlimited local calls, it appeared to be “free.”

With cell phones, calling toll free numbers are only problematic if you are on a pre-paid plan and you pay for all of your minutes. The cell phone charge is for air time. You are charged minutes for all calls, local, long distance, toll free. If you have a plan where you are paying for each minute in order to not have a monthly plan fee, then when you call a toll-free number, you are still going to have to pay for the air time to make that call, or get a phone plan that covers a certain number of minutes each month.

How many phone calls to toll free numbers are you making? I bet I call a toll free number once every six months.

flo's avatar

@BarnacleBill, you are telling me what cellphone companies do. You are giving me various facts about them which is good, thank you, but does it really answer the question?

flo's avatar

@Taciturnu it is about the bigger topic really. That way more people can benefit from the conversation.

BarnacleBill's avatar

The answer is you’re being obtuse about how cell phones work.

flo's avatar

@BarnacleBill, I appreciate your answer anyway.

Taciturnu's avatar

@flo Personally, I think it would be most beneficial for you to ask your carrier why you’re being charged and let us know the result. I’ve called toll-free numbers and not been charged. Since you haven’t said you talked to your carrier, the charges could be a mistake for all we know. No one is going to benefit from this conversation as far as I can see, anyway if you do not do some investigating on your own.

I asked who your carrier was to see if I could do some footwork for you. If you’re uninterested in answering questions to let someone help you, there’s nothing anyone here can do. The tone in your messages aren’t particularly pleasant, either whether you intended it or not, it makes people less apt to assist you.

flo's avatar

@Taciturnu but I never said it is me and my carrier, it is not. I just gave my supermarket as an example. I wrote ‘my supermarket let’s say’. I don’t want my OP’s to be limited to just me.
When you wrote that you have called toll-free and not been charged. Which carrier and under what plan or circumstances?

flo's avatar

@BarnacleBill “_ The answer is you’re being obtuse about how cell phones work._”
@TaciturnuThe tone in your messages aren’t particularly pleasant, either whether you intended it or not, it makes people less apt to assist you.
Interesting. Thanks for your interest.

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