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Old 06-09-2010, 04:08 PM
CookingWithGas CookingWithGas is offline
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Collect call to US from foreign country?

To make a long story short I need to know how to make a collect call to the US from a foreign country. The call is most likely to originate from a cell phone with a local SIM card. So I dial +1, and then what? 0? 0 then the number and get an operator? Other? I have no idea what carrier handles the call coming in from a foreign country, and whether the answer to this depends on the carrier.

To make a short story long, last year I went to Italy and suddenly my credit cards were both being declined (same bank). The back of the card gives a number to call if you are abroad, and says to call collect. I barely remember how to do that when I'm still here, it's been probably 30 years since I've made a collect call. So I called at my own expense to discover that it seems that I left the country without their knowledge. Well, this month I'm going to Egypt, and today told them about my plans, but the last thing I need is more problems when I get there.

BTW the reason I told them today is that I had to call them about a different issue. My card was declined while buying lunch at Five Guys down the street from my office. Why? Because they noted an "out of area" charge. Huh? It was 25 miles from my house but 1/2 mile from my office. I've eaten there several times before, including last month. My staff was not impressed that I offered to buy them lunch with a card that was no good. Fortunately another card worked.
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  #2  
Old 06-09-2010, 05:40 PM
Quartz Quartz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CookingWithGas View Post
To make a long story short I need to know how to make a collect call to the US from a foreign country. The call is most likely to originate from a cell phone with a local SIM card. So I dial +1, and then what? 0? 0 then the number and get an operator? Other? I have no idea what carrier handles the call coming in from a foreign country, and whether the answer to this depends on the carrier.
You can't go wrong by dialling the local operator.
  #3  
Old 06-12-2010, 11:47 AM
MannyL MannyL is offline
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Well to call a US # you would dial
011 + Country Code + City Code so I would try 0110
  #4  
Old 06-12-2010, 12:04 PM
Desert Nomad Desert Nomad is offline
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011 will do nothing from outside the US.

What you need is the local "USA Direct" number.

http://www.usa.att.com/traveler/acce...bers/index.jsp

From Cairo: 2510-0200
From elsewhere in Egypt: 02-2510-0200

This will connect you to a live US based operator. Sometimes you can use these numbers from a mobile phone, sometimes not. So you may need to call from a payphone.

I have used this service from several place overseas when my credit cards have had issues.

I would also suggest using Skype from a laptop - it's not 100% free like calling collect, but is cheap enough at just 1 or 2 cents per minute.

Last edited by Desert Nomad; 06-12-2010 at 12:05 PM.
  #5  
Old 06-12-2010, 01:37 PM
Colophon Colophon is offline
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Originally Posted by MannyL View Post
Well to call a US # you would dial
011 + Country Code + City Code so I would try 0110
As Desert Nomad notes, 011 is not the international access code in most countries. 00 is the most common, with 011 seemingly limited to North America, US territories and the Caribbean.
  #6  
Old 06-12-2010, 01:55 PM
Hari Seldon Hari Seldon is offline
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Yeah USA direct (and Canada Direct work well). I have had the experience (in Belgium and Barbados) of not being able to raise an operator. My experience in Belgium was in 1987, before cell phones, before internet, before Skype. I had a local calling card but it could be used only through an operator and no operator answered withing five minutes. The experience in Barbados was similar, but only about five years ago. Since then, I have been careful not to go any distance without Skype.
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Old 06-12-2010, 02:25 PM
Wendell Wagner Wendell Wagner is offline
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You look in the front of a telephone book from that country. Or you ask the hotel clerk at the hotel you're staying at. Or you call the operator. Or you just ask any random person, since there's a good chance that they will have called a number outside of their country. One of these will tell you the international access code within that country for dialing a telephone number outside the country. You dial the international access code. Then you dial 1 to get the U.S. Then you dial the area code of the person you want to talk to. Then you dial the seven-digit telephone number of the person you want to talk to.
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Old 06-12-2010, 04:20 PM
FatBaldGuy FatBaldGuy is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wendell Wagner View Post
You look in the front of a telephone book from that country. Or you ask the hotel clerk at the hotel you're staying at. Or you call the operator. Or you just ask any random person, since there's a good chance that they will have called a number outside of their country. One of these will tell you the international access code within that country for dialing a telephone number outside the country. You dial the international access code. Then you dial 1 to get the U.S. Then you dial the area code of the person you want to talk to. Then you dial the seven-digit telephone number of the person you want to talk to.
Won't that process just connect directly to tne number without the "collect" intervention?
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Old 06-12-2010, 04:59 PM
Sunspace Sunspace is offline
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Originally Posted by FatBaldGuy View Post
Won't that process just connect directly to tne number without the "collect" intervention?
Exactly. What Wendell has described is the method for making a normal 'sent-paid' international call, where it's paid at the originating phone,either going on the bill, or paid through coins or a card. In North America, we dial 011+cc+number for this.

On the other hand, if we want to make an operator-assisted international call, we dial 01+cc+number. What the OP needs is the equivalent for the other country. There may not even be one, and the OP may have to go through the operator in the other country and ask for an international collect call.

This is where the Country Direct numbers come in handy: you make a local or toll-free call to get out of the foreign phone system and get an operator who is familiar with your own country's phone system.

This is also the kind of situation where international toll-free numbers should be available. They exist, using country code 800. But they aren't widely accessible.
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Old 06-12-2010, 05:39 PM
Wendell Wagner Wendell Wagner is offline
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My apologies. I misunderstood the question.
  #11  
Old 06-14-2010, 05:15 AM
Nava Nava is offline
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thomasbright, you're assuming that the phone has a direct outside line (not true in most hotels) and that 0 gets you the operator from the phone company (not true in every country). It also assumes that the speaker and the foreign operator will be able to communicate (good luck with that).

US Direct is the best option, I was coming to recommend it.
  #12  
Old 06-14-2010, 02:26 PM
CookingWithGas CookingWithGas is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nava View Post
thomasbright, you're assuming that the phone has a direct outside line (not true in most hotels) and that 0 gets you the operator from the phone company (not true in every country). It also assumes that the speaker and the foreign operator will be able to communicate (good luck with that).

US Direct is the best option, I was coming to recommend it.
Darnedest thing. I got an email update 6-14 6:00 AM EDT that there was a post by thomasbright, and you are responding to that same post here just 15 minutes later, yet the post does not appear in the thread.

Here is what post said, according to my email:
Quote:
Originally Posted by thomasbright
step1

Pick up the receiver, listen for the dial tone, then dial "0" followed by the area code and phone number of the person or place you are trying to reach.

Step 2

Listen for a tone followed by recorded instructions about making a collect call.

Step 3

Speak your name when prompted.

Step 4

Alternatively, talk to an operator. Pick up the receiver, dial "0," then inform the operator that you would like to place a collect call. Follow his or her instructions.
  #13  
Old 11-16-2016, 04:02 AM
Gavano Gavano is offline
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hey)

there is another option for you, not to worry about the number, price or so… there’s many services that handle your call, from origination to termination. All you need to do is to dial your recipient number. With the country code. They are similar to skype, but lately skype started providing poor call quality, besides the app is heavy…

so you may check rebtel, keku, callnspeak, cheapcalls and others.

It is not free of course, ones I believed there is possibility to call for free from such services and they promote free calls, but actually it is not. So you’ll need to top up some money to your account before going abroad. The rates are very low, so, several bucks will be enough to make calls even the whole week.
  #14  
Old 11-16-2016, 04:06 AM
Eliahna Eliahna is offline
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Welcome to the Straight Dope, Gavano .
This thread is six years old so the original poster is probably well and truly back from the trip he was anticipating, but that information might be useful to others
  #15  
Old 11-16-2016, 04:08 AM
Francis Vaughan Francis Vaughan is offline
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Reporting for potential spam however.
  #16  
Old 11-16-2016, 08:53 AM
Gavano Gavano is offline
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Originally Posted by Eliahna View Post
Welcome to the Straight Dope, Gavano .
This thread is six years old so the original poster is probably well and truly back from the trip he was anticipating, but that information might be useful to others
ok, my pardon... maybe better to start a new thread, I'll think..
and about spam - ok, the links are not allowed, agree... anyway, as you have written "information might be useful to others"
thanks)
  #17  
Old 11-16-2016, 09:01 AM
Francis Vaughan Francis Vaughan is offline
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Originally Posted by Gavano View Post
ok, my pardon... maybe better to start a new thread, I'll think..
and about spam - ok, the links are not allowed, agree... anyway, as you have written "information might be useful to others"
thanks)
Nah, I really didn't know - but a set of links to commercial phone calling companies in a zombie thread is a good indication of spam. Some spammers just Google for forums that have a subject discussing what they are spamming and post in it - no matter how old it is. A new poster with commercial links in a very old thread is a very strong clue that this is happening. The moderators make the final call. We just alert them.
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