In response to a burgeoning black market within the telecommunications industry, the FCC is reported to be bolstering oversight of illegal hoarding and brokering of the coveted remaining available toll free phone numbers.
Online PR News – 24-March-2009 – – In recent years, the limited availability of new numbers has created an intense and competitive demand for valuable 800, 888, 877 and 866 area code numbers. Following the emergence of a black market for these numbers, sources say federal authorities are cracking down on illegal toll free practices, including reports of attempts to sell or lease numbers off eBay.
The FCC does not play a role in the assignment of numbers to subscribers, however they do regulate the guidelines under which 1-800 numbers can be used and obtained. The hoarding and warehousing of numbers is prohibited and punishable with severe fines—recently illustrated by a citation for an $11,000 fine each day a California company continued to implement improper toll free practices.
A member of the Tollfree Advisory Committee at SMSGOV.com said if the database of numbers isn’t beefed up soon, the finite supply of toll free numbers could run out. Last year, a plea for the deactivation of unused 800 numbers resulted in a temporary surge of numbers returned to the main database. But despite
these mass replacements, the supply of available toll free numbers continues to dwindle as thousands of subscribers register for a toll free number each day.
With depleted supplies leading to a growth of illegal hoarding and leasing practices, experts say it is imperative that subscribers be informed on the proper acquisition and use of toll free numbers. For additional information, go to SMSGOV.com