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Long-Distance Phone Firm Shuts Down : Communications: Thrifty Tel of Garden Grove had filed bankruptcy petition last month. Customers are told to find a new carrier.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Thrifty Tel Inc., a small long-distance telephone company that was operating under bankruptcy-law protection, apparently shut down Tuesday and directed customers to find another long-distance carrier.

The company, which filed a Chapter 11 petition late last month to reorganize its debts, told customers by recorded message when they tried to make long-distance calls Tuesday that they should contact Pacific Bell or other carriers at a toll-free number.

Calls to the Garden Grove company, as well as to the toll-free number, went unanswered, and one number for Thrifty Tel was disconnected.

Carla Hein, a Santa Ana customer, said that her long-distance calls stopped going through at about noon when, during several attempts, she reached the recorded message instead. Pacific Bell learned from a consumer source that Thrifty Tel had halted service, spokesman John Britton said.

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Whenever long-distance service is interrupted, Britton said, customers should call the Pacific Bell number that is listed on all bills to make arrangements for getting another long-distance provider, a process that takes at least 48 hours.

“We can send out a list of more than 100 carriers who serve California,” he said, “but we can’t favor one over another, and we can’t make recommendations.”

In the meantime, he said, customers can use access codes for the carrier they want to use when they dial long-distance.


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