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Directory Assistance

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BUSINESS
By Gregory Karp | March 20, 2005
Convenience costs Americans big-time, from bagged salad at the grocery store to automatic car washes to house-cleaning services. Another convenience is dialing directory assistance whenever you need a phone number. It can be incredibly expensive for what you get. Some directory-assistance services cost nearly $2.50 per request. And many Americans are using the services, according to research firm TNS Telecoms. A survey found that 41 percent of customers used some kind of directory assistance on their home or wireless phones during the past month.
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NEWS
April 13, 2008
A number of tributes to the late William F. Buckley Jr. recalled his gibe that he'd rather be governed by the first several hundred people listed in the Boston phone directory than by the several hundred members of the faculty of Harvard. Mr. Buckley's quip got us thinking about that venerable American institution. Not Harvard - the phone book. Communication is a high-tech endeavor. We iPhone, text message, Skype and IM one another. But somehow the bulky phone book, with its eye-straining type, has remained much the same over the decades, despite the many online options for looking up a number.
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BUSINESS
April 23, 1991
The Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Co. of Maryland is offering a new service that will allow customers to automatically connect a call after getting the number from directory assistance. The cost is 30 cents, besides possible fees for directory assistance.Residential users are allowed 12 free directory calls a month. After that amount, the charge is 25 cents a call. For disabled customers who can't use a directory, there is no fee if they notify C&P of their disability.The new service, called Connect ReQuest, became available to about 30,000 Baltimore downtown customers through 22 telephone exchanges yesterday.
BUSINESS
By Gregory Karp | March 20, 2005
Convenience costs Americans big-time, from bagged salad at the grocery store to automatic car washes to house-cleaning services. Another convenience is dialing directory assistance whenever you need a phone number. It can be incredibly expensive for what you get. Some directory-assistance services cost nearly $2.50 per request. And many Americans are using the services, according to research firm TNS Telecoms. A survey found that 41 percent of customers used some kind of directory assistance on their home or wireless phones during the past month.
BUSINESS
By Jane Bryant Quinn | August 20, 2000
A FRIEND recently asked me a question about her phone company's directory assistance service. "Don't get me started," I groaned, and then couldn't keep my mouth shut. Here's my rant: We're paying more and getting less. Have you any idea what it costs to call an information operator? A long-distance query through AT&T's traditional 555-1212 service costs $1.99 per call, up 80 percent in the past seven months. Its shortcut 00 service costs $1.49, up 50 percent. If it's any consolation, you can get two numbers at a time.
BUSINESS
By Andrew Ratner and Andrew Ratner,SUN STAFF | April 11, 2001
Sometimes, the first idea really is the best idea. In news that harks back to the traditional phone operator who requested in a nasal tone, "Number, please," Verizon Communications announced yesterday that Maryland callers will soon get to dial "0" for a menu of information services. Called "Easy 0," the service is already in use for 14 million Verizon customers in Washington, Philadelphia, Boston, New York and New Jersey. By dialing "0," callers will receive a menu of seven options, from collect-call connections to answers about billing inquiries.
BUSINESS
By Michael Dresser and Michael Dresser,SUN STAFF | February 26, 1996
Bell Atlantic Corp. is asking the General Assembly to make two little-noticed but significant changes to Maryland's telecommunications law this spring -- both of which could eventually force certain callers to pay more for the services they use.The more controversial of the two would let the state Public Service Commission impose significantly higher costs on businesses that make many calls of long duration -- especially those that use phone lines to...
BUSINESS
By David Johnston and David Johnston,Knight-Ridder News Service | October 26, 1992
Like to find that star salesperson you let get away and who could sure help your business now? Or an old flame? A deadbeat? A crucial lawsuit witness?Well, you may not need a private detective or a million bucks worth of calls to 1-AREA CODE-555-1212 to make that connection.Instead, just use a national telephone book.You can buy one for as little as $129.That's right. $129.To use it you'll need an IBM-type personal computer and you'll have to buy a $199 CD-ROM disk drive. And this electronic white pages doesn't come with a lot of the sophisticated features that push the price of competing electronic directories -- including some that allow the user to dial directly into phone company data banks -- to $50,000 and more.
BUSINESS
By David Conn and David Conn,Annapolis Bureau | March 19, 1992
ANNAPOLIS -- Look it up. That's the message from the House of Delegates as it turned away from such lofty issues as environmental protection and taxes yesterday and focused on a fundamental individual liberty: the right to dial 411.By a vote of 98-34, the House agreed to further limit the number of free directory assistance phone calls each customer is allowed per month, reducing it to five from the current 12. Any "information" calls beyond five would cost...
BUSINESS
By David Conn and David Conn,Annapolis Bureau | March 19, 1992
ANNAPOLIS -- Look it up. That's the message from the House of Delegates as it turned away from such arcane issues as environmental protection and taxes yesterday and focused on a fundamental individual liberty: the right to dial 411.By a vote of 98-34, the House agreed to further limit the number of free directory assistance phone calls each customer is allowed per month, reducing it to five from the current 12. Any "information" calls beyond five would...
NEWS
By Stacey Hirsh and Stacey Hirsh,SUN STAFF | July 18, 2003
Verizon Communications Inc., the telecommunications giant, is poised for a showdown with unions that represent 75,000 of its workers from Maine to Virginia in a contract negotiation clouded by economic uncertainties and workers' fears of layoffs and cuts in health care benefits. This week, union members voted to authorize their leadership to call a strike without further vote if an agreement on a contract is not reached by Aug. 2, the expiration date of the current contract. A strike would likely slow directory assistance and seriously delay customer service and repair and installation work for thousands of Verizon customers, said Candice Johnson, a spokeswoman for the Communications Workers of America, which represents most of the workers.
BUSINESS
By Andrew Ratner and Andrew Ratner,SUN STAFF | April 11, 2001
Sometimes, the first idea really is the best idea. In news that harks back to the traditional phone operator who requested in a nasal tone, "Number, please," Verizon Communications announced yesterday that Maryland callers will soon get to dial "0" for a menu of information services. Called "Easy 0," the service is already in use for 14 million Verizon customers in Washington, Philadelphia, Boston, New York and New Jersey. By dialing "0," callers will receive a menu of seven options, from collect-call connections to answers about billing inquiries.
NEWS
By Neal Thompson and Neal Thompson,SUN STAFF | November 16, 2000
Nine floors up from Baltimore's streets, Patty Francis slips on her headset, takes a deep breath and talks to strangers. They live in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington. They all need Francis' help. So they pick up their phones and punch the three numbers - 4-1-1 - that connect them to the "Telephone Building" on St. Paul Street, and to the tall, thin woman at the spare desk who for 13 years has told more than 3 million people: "Hold for that number" or "Have a nice day." Francis gave up a social worker job at the Baltimore City jail for the better pay and benefits of a directory assistance operator at Bell Atlantic (now Verizon)
BUSINESS
By Jane Bryant Quinn | August 20, 2000
A FRIEND recently asked me a question about her phone company's directory assistance service. "Don't get me started," I groaned, and then couldn't keep my mouth shut. Here's my rant: We're paying more and getting less. Have you any idea what it costs to call an information operator? A long-distance query through AT&T's traditional 555-1212 service costs $1.99 per call, up 80 percent in the past seven months. Its shortcut 00 service costs $1.49, up 50 percent. If it's any consolation, you can get two numbers at a time.
NEWS
By Michael Stroh and Michael Stroh,SUN STAFF | August 7, 2000
Workers at the nation's largest local telephone company hit the picket lines early yesterday causing service delays for phone customers from Maine to Virginia, as negotiators continued to hammer out an agreement and managers scrambled to fill in for absent employees. The strike affects more than 85,000 workers at Verizon Communications, the company created by the merger of Bell Atlantic Corp. and GTE Corp., and officially began at 12:01 a.m. yesterday. Verizon handles telephone service for 12 states and the District of Columbia and has about 8,400 union employees in Maryland.
FEATURES
By ROB KASPER | June 30, 1996
I have never taken kindly to moving. All that sorting, all those decisions. But it has to be done. The Sun has decided to stop publishing Sun Magazine and next week this column will move to inside Today, one of the broadsheet sections of the Sunday paper.I have written for Sun Magazine for two years, which is a mere flicker in the magazine's 50-year life span. But it was long enough to have basked in the warm glow of good feelings that most readers had for the publication.People read stories throughout the newspaper, but they really cared about what appeared in the magazine.
NEWS
May 22, 1993
WHEN DOES $1.50 equal 19 cents? The answer was found in an insert attached to the phone bills of C&P Telephone Co. that customers received a couple of months ago.The number of free calls that residential customers can make to directory assistance was reduced from 12 calls to six, effective Jan. 23. Calls above the six permitted cost 25 cents each. So, if you still make 12 directory assistance calls a month, you are billed an extra $1.50.But consumers will benefit from cutting this service in half, the phone company explains.
FEATURES
By ROB KASPER | June 30, 1996
I have never taken kindly to moving. All that sorting, all those decisions. But it has to be done. The Sun has decided to stop publishing Sun Magazine and next week this column will move to inside Today, one of the broadsheet sections of the Sunday paper.I have written for Sun Magazine for two years, which is a mere flicker in the magazine's 50-year life span. But it was long enough to have basked in the warm glow of good feelings that most readers had for the publication.People read stories throughout the newspaper, but they really cared about what appeared in the magazine.
BUSINESS
By Michael Dresser and Michael Dresser,SUN STAFF | February 26, 1996
Bell Atlantic Corp. is asking the General Assembly to make two little-noticed but significant changes to Maryland's telecommunications law this spring -- both of which could eventually force certain callers to pay more for the services they use.The more controversial of the two would let the state Public Service Commission impose significantly higher costs on businesses that make many calls of long duration -- especially those that use phone lines to...
NEWS
May 22, 1993
WHEN DOES $1.50 equal 19 cents? The answer was found in an insert attached to the phone bills of C&P Telephone Co. that customers received a couple of months ago.The number of free calls that residential customers can make to directory assistance was reduced from 12 calls to six, effective Jan. 23. Calls above the six permitted cost 25 cents each. So, if you still make 12 directory assistance calls a month, you are billed an extra $1.50.But consumers will benefit from cutting this service in half, the phone company explains.
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