MCI Won't Bill For Calls Already Made to 1-800-CALL-INFO

MCI Won't Bill For Calls Already Made to 1-800-CALL-INFO

Post by BUBEY » Sat, 21 Jan 1995 15:57:59

I saw a wire story which said that MCI reached an agreement with 17 states
whereby they will not bill customers for calls they have already made
to their 1-800-CALL-INFO service.

1. MCI's 1-800-CALL-INFO

I've read in yesterday's {Wall Street Journal} that MCI has started a
new, nationwide directory assistance service with call completion.
Here is how it works:

1) Call 1-800-CALL-INFO.

2) No need to know the area code -- just tell where the person lives, and
   they'll give you the complete number with the area code.

3) The service costs 75c.

4) If you want, they'll *connect* you to that number and you pay "regular
   MCI rates".  You *do not* have to be an MCI subscriber in order to use
   the service.

This whole thing raises a few questions:

1. You are being billed 75c to call an 800 number.  I believe that
generally this practice is frawned upon.

2. How does the billing happen?  What if you are at a payphone?

3. The idea of not having to know the area code in order to get directory
assistance makes a lot of sense.  Bravo MCI!

Cellular One / San Francisco

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Let's find out what happens if the number
is called from a payphone; or if you want to deal with two sources of
ill-will at the same time, try calling from your favorite COCOT.  Let's
see if the call completes and who has to pay for it. By all means, let's
ask them to complete the call for us 'at MCI rates'. I'd venture to say
they are checking the database on incoming calls to catch such things
and if they are, then the COCOTS who are listed as coin with the local
telco will probably be protected also ... the COCOTS using regular service
may not be protected.  I agree it is pretty awful that we can no longer
count on 800 service to be toll-free to the caller. It looks like the only
really workable fraud prevention devices these days are those that screen
full ten-digit numbers. None of the old areacode/prefix screening techniques
will work effeciently any longer.  PAT]

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