Hey, AT&T customers: be very, very careful when dialing three-digit numbers. If you’re trying to dial, say, 211 or 311 (local government information), 611 (AT&T Wireless customer service) or 711 (TTY relay), and you dial 411 for directory assistance by mistake, you’ll be charged for it even if you realize the mistake and hang up immediately. And you’ll need to live with the consequences of your error, since, according to reader Stephen, AT&T will not refund these charges.
A reader received a weird message from a fellow Match.com member last night—it was a fairly transparent attempt by someone to establish contact with her via a false identity.
Amidst the chatter about the iPhone 3G S and iPhone
cultists’ users’ hate/hate relationship with AT&T, here’s another bit of bad news for AT&T subscribers: reader Mark e-mailed to let us know that the cost of directory assistance calls will go up to $1.99 on July 1. Fortunately, when you need 411 service, you don’t have to pay for it.
Cincinnati Bell hates phone books and recently asked Ohio to let them kill their White Pages. Ohio’s Public Utilities Commission, also haters of the ever-wasteful and often useless White Pages, agreed. Now Cincinnati residents won’t get a phone book unless they specially request one. We’re no fans of the White Pages, but the deal isn’t as consumer-friendly as it looks.
“There is no indication of any change in the near future regarding the current state of competition. Market forces have not yet met the challenge of controlling price increases.”
A former FDIC employee writes that the FDIC’s call center (877-275-3342) is “a tremendously helpful place to get basic referral information if you’re having trouble with your bank, lender, or finance company.” They can’t help you with complaints, but they can route you to the correct agency, provide credit union contact info, and give you the names and numbers of state agencies where your bank is located.
Here’s three free ways to get directory assistance without paying a dime.
In July, federal regulators launched a new website, HelpWithMyBank.gov, to answer your basic bank-related questions, as well as to provide an easy way to lodge complaints about any of the 1,800 offending financial institutions that fall under its purview. (Yes, that includes Chase and BofA.)
Need directory assistance?
Google Voice Local Search has emerged from the Google Labs to provide free directory assistance. A call to 1-800-GOOG-411 connects you to a pleasant automated operator who asks for your city and state. From there, you can narrow your search by business or category. When Google finds your business, it offers to either connect you for free, or text the details to your phone. The service does not currently support ads.
Maybe we’re just intolerant of ads, but when we heard about AT&T’s new ad supported 411 service, we just laughed. If you’re willing to listen to 40 seconds of advertising, you too can get directory assistance. The best part? There’s auto-connect, but it’s at the advertiser’s discretion. Yes, the media buyer at Pizza Hut’s ad agency decides if you get to auto-connect. Gee, how did we ever live without this.
Cox has outsourced their 411 service to the Philippines, a frustrated San Diego consumer complains. “Bear” finds the operator’s accents difficult to understand and claims they, “don’t understand the intricacies of the English language.”