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Unmasked 0900 numbers

The landline number a 0900 number is a reference to in an online database
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(+5, -2)
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Any 0900 number is an alias to a normal, but usually secret, landline. These numbers could be collected in an online database.

Calling a landline is free or cheap in most cases. But when you call a 0900 number from your mobile it is not included in the bundle of x-minutes of calls per month. When you want to call from outside of the country these numbers can't be reached.

When I want service from an organisation in my country I have to call a 0900-number usually (in the Netherlands, file under "Dutch service"). Only the number of the salesforce is a free 0800 number.

Some of these landlines masked by a 0900 number can still be found by trying old numbers belonging to the company before the 0900 fashion.

Some are perhaps known by employees you know personally.

Some can be disclosed by asking people who have access to the secret database and are willing to share it.

To the outside world you say that the numbers were found by a computer. A computer you fed with a database of the first few seconds of telephone menus from known 0900 numbers. The computer systematically calls all numbers in the country and compares it the first few seconds to that of the recordings.

The database with the first few seconds can perhaps be quite small, because it is required by law to announce how much the phonecall will cost. I have never called the normal landline number a 0900 number is an alias to, but if that one also has this prerecorded announcement the computer already can trace a number after the first second. You hear the message instantly and most people don't answer their phone on the first ring.

If they see your number using caller ID and call you back, you briefly tell them about the project and mention the website where the database can be found.

Marketresearchers call the population using generated numbers. I guess that the employees of such a call center stumble upon these 0900-numbers occassionally. They should also know about this database and feed it.

rrr, Nov 23 2007

Alternative-to-0870-numbers-finder http://www.saynoto0870.com/
[MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 23 2007]

VraagSander http://www.vraagsander.nl/
0900 Alternatives for the Netherlands, to bake this idea. The press release announcing the website is dated one month after I posted this. Perhaps he read it here or it was 'in the air'? [rrr, Feb 04 2008]


       A nice idea but you might want to re-phrase your first paragraph to make it sould less like a "lets all"   

webfishrune, Nov 23 2007

       1st paragraph rephrased, thanks.
rrr, Nov 23 2007

       No problem.
webfishrune, Nov 23 2007

       So what's the point? You're trying to sidestep the cost associated with a 900 number?
phoenix, Nov 23 2007

       The operators could circumvent this easily by creating a network of many-to-one number "servers".
Spacecoyote, Nov 23 2007

       That was a bit of a long journey.   

       In the UK, there's a website that lists free or cheap alternatives to the expensive (? 0870?) numbers. I'll try to find it.
MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 23 2007

       What works well is phoning the sales line, telling them that you want to contact service but you can't dial a 0900 number from where you are now in [the UK / Albania / Moscow] and asking them if they have an alternative number for international callers.   

       There frequently are problems internationally routing premium rate numbers and you are likely to either get transferred internally or be given the landline number behind their premium rate line.   

       Another trick I use is to take the fax number and subtract one or the sales line and add one. Many firms had sequential phone and fax numbers but due to low levels of use or incompatibility of the 'rate warning message' with older fax machines left the fax without a premium rate front.   

       Finally if all else fails, call the sales line and complain you can't get through to the support line. You've been trying all morning and all you get are beeping sounds. Can they please deal with your small support request? Most of the time, they'll find something for you or deal with it themselves.   

       However, and this is an important point, there is an urgent need for government regulation (possibly EU regulation?) to mandate that your sales line is the most expensive of all your lines.
vincevincevince, Nov 24 2007

       Hi Vincevincevince, I adopt all those strategies you suggest also. Sometimes it works, but mostly the non-technical ones you mention do not work in my country. You just get a blunt 'no, can't do that' where you would get a 'I am terribly sorry, but...' reply in other countries.   

       A database with these numbers would be much more efficient because it the result is more predictable. Like the one linked by MaxwellBuchanan.   

       A website with a directory where you can contact many organisations using VOIP (like Skype, MSN, SIP, anything) would be the best.
rrr, Dec 03 2007

       Baked in the Netherlands! See link.
rrr, Feb 04 2008

       This sounds like a complicated workaround to simply getting better service from vendors.
DrCurry, Feb 04 2008


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