Founded in 1995, Prime Tel is one of around 400 companies registered as toll-free service providers for the U. But Prime Tel appears to be amassing numbers predominantly for one closely related partner, National A-1.
There is nothing illegal about using toll-free phone services to promote adult entertainment, and callers aren’t charged unless they supply their credit card information.
Records obtained by The Associated Press show that over the past 13 years, a little-known Philadelphia company called Prime Tel Communications has quietly gained control over nearly a quarter of all the 1-800 numbers in the U. and Canada, often by grabbing them the moment they are relinquished by previous users.
Enter your credit card number now.” Those naughty misdials, and countless others like them, appear to be no accident.
We’re offering all first time purchasers a special deal!
We also respect your privacy so you can choose anonymous chat if you prefer to keep your details private.
Others promote a dieting website or a travel reservation service.
Those instances appear to be outnumbered by ones in which callers reach a phone-sex solicitation.
In the fall, authorities sent subpoenas to several, including Prime Tel, asking for information on how they acquire numbers and why.A lawyer for both companies, Charles Helein, would not discuss their business dealings in detail but said Prime Tel isn’t breaking any rules or engaging in prohibited practices such as selling numbers or obtaining ones it doesn’t intend to use. He said the company’s large share hasn’t caused any shortages: “Everybody’s got all the numbers they need.” Helein said the raid last fall was not aimed at Prime Tel.National A-1 and its owners have a variety of business enterprises headquartered at the same address, including a website sometimes used by prostitutes to advertise their services.According to a database maintained by an industry organization, Prime Tel was listed as the administrator of record for at least 1,667,000 out of around 7.87 million active 800 numbers as of this March.Industry experts said Prime Tel also holds a dominant share of numbers with other toll-free codes, like 888 and 866, giving it several million numbers overall. Some numbers reach advertisements for a mortgage brokerage based in New Jersey. SAVE NOW We monitor our lines with a 24 hour call center to make your experience a safe and pleasurable one. Dial the same number now and you get a recording of giggling women offering to talk dirty to you. Dial 1-800-Chicago and instead of reaching a tourism hotline for the Windy City, you will hear a woman offering “one-on-one talk with a nasty girl” for .99 per minute. could call a toll-free hotline if they had embarrassing questions about AIDS and safe sex. And many, if not most, of those 1.7 million numbers appear to be used for one thing: redirecting callers to a phone-sex service. As of March, it administered more 800 numbers than any other company, including Verizon and AT&T.Over the years, though, Prime Tel has been hit with lawsuits and complaints alleging that it is violating federal rules banning toll-free service providers from hoarding digits.Federal Communications Commission rules say that “routing multiple toll-free numbers to a single toll-free subscriber” is usually considered hoarding.