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Sometimes when you're travelling overseas you might need to call home reverse charges.

For instance some banks and credit card companies allow you to call them collect from anywhere in the world in case of emergencies such as lost or stolen cards.

But is this something provided by the telecoms companies everywhere? Can I call Australia from Laos reverse charges? If so, how?


I've now found one website claiming that collect calls cannot be made from Laos. But I don't know if it's accurate or up-to-date.

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I know there are alternatives such as Skype or finding somebody to pay or using carrier pigeon. But I'd like to keep this on the topic of reverse charges. –  hippietrail Sep 9 '13 at 2:00
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1 Answer

If it is possible at all and how to place an international collect call depends on where you are calling from and which country you are calling to. It is unfortunately not possible to follow any general instructions. Especially after the increasing use of cell phones over the last few decades, the number of collect calls has dropped heavily in most countries and many telephone operators have abandoned their collect call services completely.

In some cases you have a few options:

  • Use the collect call services of the local telco: Usually, the access code for the international operator or an automatic touch-tone controlled collect call system can be found in the telephone directory or listed in the instructions for public payphones. In your case, Lao Telecom does not seem to offer collect call services. There is no info to be found on their web site and a few articles I found with Google confirms, that collect calls are not offered in Laos.

  • Use the international collect call services from a telco in the country you are calling to: Many telcos implement freephone numbers in other countries to reach their operators. Telstra offers such service under the name "Australia Direct - Reverse Charge" with access numbers in some 80-90 countries, but not in Laos. Optus does not seem to offer a similar service.

  • Use services from a company specialized in collect call services. After many of the traditional telcos abandoned their collect call services, other companies have in some cases started such services, often charging insane rates. To call Australia from abroad, you may be able to use the services offered by 1800Reverse. They don't have a dedicated access number in Laos either, but offer an international freephone number: +800 07383773. Even if the purpose of these numbers is to offer toll free access from everywhere, they are often not available, but it is worth a try. If you are able to reach them, they charge for international calls a 4.25$ connection fee and additionally 6$ for each 3-minute period.

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Ouch! It's to call my bank back home to tell them to send me new ATM and credit cards. They might refuse that since it's not a regular call. At the bank here in Laos they told me to call Australia on a regular phone is $3 per minute. –  hippietrail Sep 9 '13 at 11:07
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