Problems? Here’s How… » Here’s How… Using 411 and 911 Services with MagicJack

Voluntary 911 Fees and Free 411 Service!

Several years ago, magicJack began charging its customers for access to the magicJack 911 emergency service. In addition to magicJack 911 service, there is also a free 411 service (for businesses contacts only). Keep in mind that the magicJack 911 service is simply passed through to the same emergency personnel all other phone companies use, while magicJack operates its own 411 service. There are a few other things you need to know about each service, however.

MagicJack's 411 Service is Convenient – and Free!

Man holding phone, looking lostUntil the mid 1980's, 411 phone service was offered free by most of the major telephone companies. Customers could count on receiving free phone books containing residential and business phone numbers. Most of those free services disappeared long ago . Most phone companies in the US  now charge an average of $1.99 per call for directory assistance, while Canadian phone companies charge an average of $1.99 CAD per request for assistance. Directory assistance has become a significant source of revenue for phone companies, given that consumers make approximately 6 billion calls to 411 each year in the US alone.

Google offered a free 411 service from 2007 to 2010 with the intent to gather information to improve their voice recognition software. Google discontinued that service once they had enough information to make the system work reliably. MagicJack is one of the few places you can get free 411 service as part of your inexpensive subscription to their VoIP phone system.

You can access the magicJack 411 system by calling 411 from your magicJack phone, or by clicking the 411 button on magicJack's softphone window on your computer. Either will connect you to a human who will give you contact information for the businesses you specify. Unfortunately, the service does not provide contacts for people – it's only set up to provide business phone numbers.

Warning #1 – Set Up Your magicJack 911 Service

The old magicJack 911 screenThe use of 911 as a standard for emergency calls was set up in the United States in 1968, but never anticipated the existence of mobile phones (or magicJack). The 911 system directs emergency services to the address associated with the caller's phone number. If you move your magicJack to a new address or simply take it with you while traveling, emergency personnel won't be able to find you unless you provide your location.

Warning #2 – magicJack 911 Service Doesn't Work Everywhere

When you first setup magicJack, you should follow the directions given below. Some things you need to know:

  1. Canadian addresses require the use of Canadian phone numbers, and US addresses require the use of US phone numbers. While you can use your Canadian magicJack south of the border, you cannot change to your US address for the winter and expect the magicJack 911 service to work
  2. The magicJack mobile app does not work with the magicJack 911 service. If you dial 911, you have to tell the operator where to send emergency personnel. You could be calling from anywhere!
  3. When you register your magicJack, the address you specify is used as the initial 911 response location.
  4. MagicJack will send you an email confirming your 911 service address. If your magicJack is plugged into your computer, the 911 icon on the magicJack softphone window will turn green to indicate the location's acceptance. A yellow icon indicates confirmation of the location is pending.
  5. Note that magicJack's 911 service will not work if your internet connection is down or if your power has failed. You should consider having a cell phone handy in the event your magicJack is inoperative; if you live in an area prone to power failures, you may want to install a battery backup.
  6. Recently, court filings in the United States have led to magicJack charging its customers for 911 service. A screen shot for the old magicJack 911 service is above, and the new one is below.  A new column now shows for 911 service payment. I have paid for one device (the one we use regularly), but not for the other (one used just for testing).

New magicJack 911 screenRegister Your Address for 911 Calls

It's important to note that the system is not automatic; it will not work without your participation. You must register the address where you're using the device. If you fail to do so, the 911 service won't know how to find you. If you regularly travel to a second home, register that address – and login to magicJack to change it when you spend time there.

You can find additional information about  the magicJack 911 service in the US or in Canada. Refer to these pages occasionally to ensure magicJack has not changed its rules for 911 service.

 

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Questions or Comments?

Do you have a question or comment about either the magicJack 911 or 411 service? Drop a note in the comment box below and put it out there for all to see! You may find the answer you're looking for – or perhaps you'll hear from another sympathetic user.

 

10 Comments

  1. Can a MagicJack or MagicJack PLUS be registered in the 411 business directory? If so, how do I register my business MagicJack? Thanks.
    Jerry

    1. Author

      Take a look at List Yourself! to add your business to 411 directory assistance – see if that does you any good Jerry. I haven’t used the service, but it may be what you’re looking for. You can also add your business to Google and other online directories as well – just not in the conventional white pages.

      Dennis

  2. Have magicjack and want to opt out of e911. I never remember opting in. How do I cancel or remove e911 service. I don’t need it. I bought additional years don’t want to loose if I cancel and redo service also, I don’t want to loose current magic number. What is proper was to remove e911

    1. Author

      Greetings –

      Here’s the deal with magicjack’s 911 service. The service is active, whether you’ve paid for it or not. My understanding is that at some point, magicJack will send you an invoice for the service. They then send everything they collect from those invoices to the 911 service agency, which helps defray its costs of operation.

      Hope this helps,

      Dennis

    2. Author

      Hi Donald –

      Just login to your account, hover the cursor over the “Call Features” tab, and select 911 on the dropdown list. Fill in your address on that screen, so 911 personnel know where to respond. At some point, magicJack will send you an invoice for to help defray the costs of maintaining the emergency response personnel in your area – and they send all money collected from those invoices to the 911 to help defray expenses. Alternately, you can set up the payment for the service on that same screen – just click on the link under the “911 Paid” column.

      BTW, don’t make any 911 calls to test the system!

      Dennis

  3. I’ve been a MagicJack customer for several years and don’t think I ever set up 911. Is it possible to do now?

  4. I have a magicjack express device.  My registration address is in Canada and I have Canadian telephone number selected.  The address is as per Canada Post records.  My 911 service on this device has been “pending” since I bought it.  It is still under verification for months now.  I have called the customer service and told me that be patient.  Should the device be physically in the Canadian address for verification?

     

    1. Author

      Greetings Harold!

      Unfortunately, the terms of service for the Canadian 911 service don’t address the availability of that service. Perhaps magicJack Techchat can help – give them a shout and see what they have to say!

      Dennis

  5. When my Mom had a problem at her home and I had to call 911, I did from my home using mj. In Canada, when you phone they are professional and say fire, ambulance or police and you tell them. Using mj, I guess it must be American and they answer with Hello? It must be contracted out to people in their homes. I thought there was something wrong. I had to ask if it was the emergency #. Anyway, she told me that I had to stay on the phone. Well, I told her I had to go to my Mom’s down the street to meet the ambulance and be with her. The woman said no, I need to stay on the phone. She finally understood. So I raced out to Mom’s to meet the ambulance that did not come. I waited 10 minutes or so and phoned 911 on her landline. It was then done properly and they made it out in minutes. They had not even known that an ambulance was supposed to come earlier. Luckily my Mom was okay.

    1. Author

      Hi Darlene –
      The magicJack FAQ says all Canadian 911 calls are sent directly to the official 911 call center nearest the address registered to the magicJack. Keep in mind that you have to be sure to register your address with magicJack. In other words, you could use your magicJack at home in Toronto, then take it on vacation to Montreal. It will work in either place, but the 911 service in Montreal will have no idea where you are, and the 911 service in Toronto will be totally ineffective! What’s worse, if you take your magicJack south of the border to winter in a warmer climate, your 911 service won’t have a clue where you are at all! Just be sure to tell them the address, the crossroads, and any other information they may require.
      I’m sorry to hear of your Mom’s misadventure, but glad to hear she’s OK now!
      Dennis

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