Others apparently respond to the come-on and supply their credit card number."I guess enough people go for it that it makes business sense," said Aelea Christofferson, president of ATL Communications, another company that specializes in toll-free services.
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.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.Glenn Noyes poses for photos at his business, Patriot Auto Services, in Edgewater, Md., Monday, April 18, 2011. As of March, it administered more 800 numbers than any other company, including Verizon and AT&T.Shortly after the toll-free number for Noyes' auto repair business was mistakenly canceled by his phone company, it was snapped up by toll-free service provider Prime Tel and callers were redirected to an erotic chat service called "Intimate Encounters." For years, teenagers across the U. 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.
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. 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.A similar thing happens if you punch in the initial digits of 1-800-Metallica, 1-800-Cadillac, 1-800-Minolta, 1-800-Cameras, 1-800-Worship or 1-800-Whirlpool.All those numbers contain messages redirecting callers to erotic chat lines operated by National A-1 Advertising, a company that shares an office building with Prime Tel, has common ownership and lists many of the same people as executives or business contacts.Many people who mistakenly dial a phone-sex line probably just get red-faced and hang up as quickly as possible.