Don't look now, but there's a new toll-free number coming to town. Because there aren't enough 800 numbers to go around, in March, phone companies will begin offering numbers with the new 888 toll-free prefix. For some businesses, this presents the perfect opportunity to get a number spelling out some nifty phrase they've always wanted. For others, it means worrying that customers may now have a harder time reaching them.
"The 888 numbers are ideal for people who want to get a new number and have a wider range of numbers to choose from," says Karen Way of AT&T. "However, some businesses are concerned that a different company could get their 800 number in the 888 domain, and that could lead to some confusion." (At press time, the Federal Communications Commission was looking into the matter.)
If your business already uses an 800 number, keep in mind this change won't replace it, nor will it make 888 and 800 numbers interchangeable. As for businesses that sign up for 888 numbers? Don't be concerned that you'll be any harder to reach: Consumers will still be able to obtain listings for toll-free phone numbers-including 888 numbers-through toll-free directory assistance by calling (800) 555-1212.