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A collect call in Canada and the United States, known as a reverse charge call in other parts of the English-speaking world, is a telephone call in which the calling party wants to place a call at the called party's expense. In the past, collect calls were only possible as an operator-assisted call, but with the introduction of computer-based telephone dialing equipment, it is now possible to place a collect call without using an operator, which is called[where?] automated operator services (AOS) as opposed to Home Country Direct (HCD). (Automated reverse charge dialing eliminates a service that could be provided, at a higher fee, only on operator-assisted connections: the person-to-person call, in which there is no charge unless a designated person is available.) Several companies will place collect calls, in competition with local service providers. Collect calls can be made from almost any public pay telephone in the world by following directions posted on or near the phone. Collect calling has been in constant decline since the advent of cellular phones, VOIP products, and Skype, which have brought greatly reduced or free domestic long distance and international calls.
Mobile collect calls
Mobile collect call solutions allow prepaid and postpaid end-users to easily make mobile collect calls on their home network or while roaming, even when they have run out of credit. The caller can request either complete or partial reversed charging.
- Statewide Indirect Cost Allocation Plan (SICAP)
Several companies provide reverse call services in Australia, including 1800MUMDAD 1800686323, 1800Reverse and 1800PhoneHome. 12550 is an alternative Reverse charge call service available from Telstra Pay Telephones and Telstra Prepaid mobiles. However, in the case of prepaid phones, it is accessible only where there is sufficient credit to call 12550.
Telstra ran a reverse charge service called HomeLink during the 1990s and 2000s. Homelink consisted of a 1800 number and pin that could only be linked to the user's home phone service. Calls were billed at a slightly higher cost than a standard local call. HomeLink grew out of popularity with the rise in mobile phones.
In Brazil, reverse calls are available for every land or mobile line call. All local reverse calls must be started by dialing 9090 and the desired phone number. If the user is not in the same zone as the recipient the calls must be started by dialing 90 + carrier code + area code + the desired phone number.
There is not a simple way to call a 1-800 number in the USA or make a reverse charge call for free in India. In early 2019 a private tech company launched services to enable a person to make an overseas reverse charge call. AT&T also provides a number to make collect calls from India to the United States. The number is 000-117.
Similar service in Spain (900-REVERTIDO) is also planned.
A collect call can be made through any mobile in Pakistan by dialing a prefix of 11 before entering in the desired number.
Republic of Ireland
A collect call service operates under 800 Reverse (operated by Reverse Corp Ltd), in the Republic of Ireland. It offers reverse charge calls from any fixed line phone, pay phone and most mobile phones (even if the prepaid credit has run out), to most fixed land line and mobile phones in the Republic of Ireland. The company charges 2.99 euros to connect the call, including the first 60 seconds of the call and 0.593 euros for every subsequent minute.
Eircom offered national and international reverse charge calling services until 24 February 2009. Prior to the cessation of services, national reverse charge service could be obtained by dialing the operator on 10 or, from payphones via 1 800 28 28 28 and international reverse charge services could be reached via the international operator on 114 or 1800 457 457 from payphones.
In the UK, a number of services offer reverse charge calling. A caller can dial the operator on 100 and ask for a reverse charge call, or alternatively dial an automated service such as 08000MUMDAD 08000686323, MUMDAD 686323 or 0800REVERSE 08007383773. Reverse charge calls can be made for free on some mobile networks, although the person being contacted via this service may be charged a considerable amount for accepting such a call.
United States and Canada
It is generally possible to make a collect call from a landline by dialing "0" and following automated prompts or using operator assistance. The receiving party must agree to the charges (usually after being informed of the name of the caller) before the call can continue normally. In general, customers can configure their landline or cell phone account to block attempted collect calls. Because the name of the caller is given before charges are accepted, it is possible to communicate a simple message for free by giving an agreed-upon name or simply using the call to synchronize an action (e.g. indicating it is time to meet). This is, however, considered toll fraud and can be prosecuted, although in most cases it is probably unlikely the person could be caught.
Verizon terminated the ability to receive collect calls on its landlines in 2016.
Prior to the introduction of the toll-free 800 area code in 1967, Zenith numbers in the U.S. and Canada, and Enterprise numbers in the U.S. only, indicated to an operator that the business agreed to automatically accept collect calls to that number. In the United Kingdom, Freefone numbers provided this service.
1800 Reverse is an international reverse charge service. It allows international reverse charge calls to be made back to fixed land lines in the United Kingdom. It is accessed by dialing the relevant international call prefix, followed by the number 800 REVERSE (i.e. 800 7383773).
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