Tired of paying $1.50 or $2 for every directory assistance phone call? Then don’t. There truly is such a thing as free directory assistance, though it may cost you a little in time and patience. Jot this down:1-800-FREE411.
A Boston-based company called Jingle Networks offers this free alternative to expensive 411 calls via your cell phone or land line. How and why do they do what they do for free? Just as radio and TV shows are supported by advertising, the directory assistance service is sponsored by companies advertising with the service. So, yes, that means you may hear a short, audio ad when requesting a phone number, but not every time.
When I tried it out, the automated system got the name I was requesting wrong, but a live operator quickly came on the line and found the phone number. I heard (and ignored) an ad for a credit card before I got my number, but it didn’t drone on too long. Generally, you’ll hear ads related to businesses you’re requesting to contact and will be given the opportunity to connect to the advertised business. But an ad here and there seems worth saving $1.50 a pop.
The company vows on its web site that it does not give out cell phone numbers or other private information.
I tried another free directory assistance number I’ve come across, 1-800-411METRO, but this time got a message saying, “All circuits are busy. Please try your call again later.”
You can also find numbers on the 1-800-FREE411 web site, but if you’re near a computer, there are other free online directories, including Switchboard and Yahoo! Yellow Pages.
So far, I haven’t found anything better than 1-800-FREE411 for when I’m on the road. Have you?