Hi all, Im looking to get an 800 number. Is there a good service out there that anyone can recommend? I was just going to go with ATT but I dont want to get screwed. The number I need will see minimal activity so a low/ no monthly fee would be great.
If you're talking low volume, then you probably want one of the redirecting services that takes an "800" call and then resends it to your traditional landline or cellular phone.
(High volume groups will have direct trunks without a "regular" phone number).
I'll recommend the one I personally use, Kall8. The rates are competive (see below) although not quite the best.
The beauty of Kall8 is they had the best control interface (although others may have caught up by now). From any standard web browser, you could, in real time, control the destination and other features of your number.
For example, you could have the number normally ring forward to your office line. When you're getting to leave for the weekend, you'd reset it to ring to your cell phone, or your home number, or to the "on call" person for the evening - and then reset it at midnight.
You also have the ability to do state-by-state (and down to the exchange level) choosing of whether to allow or block calls. So if you're in California, for example, you could only approve calls fom there, thus not getting hit with all the "wrong call" charges from people in the rest of the country [a]. And the day your assistant is going to Tulsa for the week, you could turn it "on" for calls from there.
The monthly charge varies a bit depending on whether you use a "random" 800/888/877/866 number, or if you have a specific (and available) one in mind. I've got one that I chose, so am paying the higher $10/month figure.
The charge per minute is eight or so cents, which, again, isn't the best, but is certainly reasonable for modest use.
NOTE that there is a hefty surcharge if calls come in from a pay phone [a]. You can choose to accept or to block them.
Oh, and the service also forwards over the originating caller's phone number as a standard CNID string.
[a] if someone calls a "tollfree" number from a payphone, the "owner" of the phone (which is likely to be an intermediary) can hit the 800 service for a fee of (something like) 35 cents.
(This is an FCC mandate).
The service provider (the 800 operator) inevitably forwards this fee to the user of the number, and natch, there's a markup.
I don't recall the Kall8 surcharge and can't check right now, but it's probably $0.75 or so (which would be comparable to other folk).
Because of this kickback, people who have payphones have been known to semi-randomly call 800/888/877/866 lines in order to get themselves additional revenue.