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No fees for dialing 0 but charges could follow

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Question: I called the operator recently to find out where I could pick up phone directories for the neighbor islands. I don’t know if she misunderstood or not, but gave me the number for the advertising department and asked if I wanted to be transferred. I said no, planning to call later. It turns out that was not the correct number. But in my recent phone bill, there was a $1.50 charge for an "operator-assisted call." I called the business office to find out what that was for since I was not connected. Basically, I was told that nowadays pretty much every time you call the operator, you will be charged for something. What are the charges?

Answer: Hawaiian Telcom apologizes for any confusion but cannot determine what prompted the specific charge without permission to research your specific account, said spokesman Ann Nishida Fry.

There is no charge for calling the operator — dialing 0 — or for information provided by the operator.

However, Nishida Fry said the majority of calls to the operator are for direct call connections, collect calls or calls that are billed to a third party, all of which have charges.

Charges for operator-assisted local calls typically range from $1.20 for a station-to-station call, which is an assisted connection to a requested number, to $2.25 for person-to-person, which requires the operator to complete a connection to a specific person and not to anyone who answers the phone.

"If customers have questions, they should feel free to ask the operator about any charges for their service requests," Nishida Fry said.

National and local directory assistance calls (411) also have charges.

General information on the various charges is available in the telephone directory and in Hawaiian Telcom’s filed tariffs with the Public Utilities Commission, Nishida Fry said.

There is no charge for the first five calls to 411 within the state each monthly billing period, but it will cost 50 cents for each local or interisland call thereafter. The charge is 95 cents each time you call national directory assistance for an out-of-state number.

"Although the directories still bear our company name, Hawaiian Telcom sold the directory business to the Berry Co. in 2007," Nishida Fry said. In Hawaii, Berry operates as the Hawaiian Telcom Yellow Pages.

To request a directory, call 593-8300 or toll-free 800-340-0634, or log onto and click on "To Order Directories." Directories also are available at any Hawaiian Telcom retail store.

Question: What is EZ-Pay?

Answer: EZ-Pay allows you to make a payment every month with an automatic deduction from your financial account, such as for your subscription to the Star-Advertiser.

Question: Is there a law or regulation that requires a person to remain inside their vehicle while being ticketed by a police officer?

Answer: No.

According to Sgt. Danton Nakama of the Honolulu Police Department’s Traffic Division, HPD does not have a policy that specifically addresses this.

However, drivers and passengers generally are advised to remain in the car for their own safety (so they don’t get hit by a passing vehicle) and for the officer’s safety (so the officer can observe the driver and passengers).

If someone insists on getting out of the car, the officer may direct the driver to an area that is away from traffic, Nakama said.

Write to "Kokua Line" at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or e-mail


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