Users who call the toll-free number 1-800-FREE-411 (1-800-373-3411) use an automated voice recognition system that asks for a location (city and state), type of listing (business, government, or residential), and name. Once the service has located an entry for the requested number, it reads the information aloud and offers callers the option of connecting to the number by pressing a single number on their telephone keypad.
The way it works is that a caller who requests a business number is first presented with a short (about 12 seconds) audio advertisement for a sponsor who operates a competing business in that area; the caller is then given the option of being connected to either that competitor or the business originally requested. If no sponsor operates a local competing business, then the caller hears no advertisement at all. In the latter case, if the caller accepts the option to connect to the desired number, the business receiving the call hears a short message at the beginning advising them that the call was placed via Free-411, and a Free-411 salesman may follow up with them a few days later to solicit them as a potential advertiser.
For some businesses, callers may hear “not listed at the request of the subscriber.”
- Although Free-411 provides its service for free, users are still subject to any charges associated with making calls that may be imposed by their cellular service providers.
- Some phone service providers have their own 411 information services for which they charge callers.
- Cell phone users concerned that using the free directory assistance service will entail potentially giving out their cell phone numbers to telemarketers can block telemarketing calls by listing their numbers with the national Do Not Call registry at https://www.donotcall.gov/
- Contact Marchex (company that owns 1-800-FREE-411) - https://www.marchex.com/contact-us/