Paul English has created a list of ways to skip interactive voice response (IVR). Usually you can use the key 0 to route to a human operator, but sometimes companies try to disable this feature, or make it rather harder for consumers to talk directly with a human operator, because they claim the IVR will save them customer support cost.

Paul’s list enables you to call many companies and directly route to an operator. Here is the introduction from him:

IVRs (“interactive voice response”) are the annoying computers that answer phones. They can sometimes be useful (check flight status etc), but consumers should be able to decide when they want to speak with a human, simply by pressing 0. For example, what if the consumer is:

  • a senior citizen who does not ever want to talk with computers.
  • someone hard of hearing or in a noisy environment or on a bad cell phone connection, where communication with a computer is always more difficult than talking with an actual human.
  • someone driving a car who does not want to go back and forth between listening to prompts and pushing buttons.
  • someone who knows the IVR system will not help with their current question.

The main list created by Paul is US based. However he also created a user submitted list which contains companies around the world.

The IVR Cheat Sheet
Worldwide IVR Cheat Sheets

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