Tired of “Voice Mail Jail?” Want to bypass the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system of the company you wish to call and quickly connect to a live human being? In many cases, it can be done if you just push the right buttons or say the right words.

The website www.GetHuman.com provides phone numbers to call and the exact numbers to press and words to say to bypass the IVR systems of more than 2,200 companies.

Just enter the company name in the box provided, and GetHuman will very likely be able to tell you the most effective key sequences required to reach a live operator.

For example, if you bank with Bank of America, press the zero key twice after the first recitation of the voice menu options and you will be connected to a live human being. If Chase is your bank, press 5 and wait a moment; then press 1,4, and zero.

GetHuman also provides user reviews for customer-service lines, including average wait times.

In addition, GetHuman provides a way you can list and store your frequently called companies (My Companies) so you won’t have to start at the beginning each time.

Another on-line resource that may prove useful is www.Fonolo.com . Fonolo provides a visual representation of many corporate phone trees so you can make an educated guess as to the point in the maze you wish to navigate in order to make contact with a live human. You can then instruct Fonolo to take over and deep dial into the phone tree until it reaches the point selected, while you hang up and wait for Fonolo to call you back with the requested connection.

Another ‘tip’ to avoid extended wait times is to start off your encounter with a corporate phone tree by requesting to speak in the Spanish language and then responding to the next prompt by saying, in English, that you don’t speak Spanish. Most systems will promptly transfer you to a live person who speaks English. The trick is to get yourself into the shorter line of Spanish-speaking callers who need live help; they don’t have to wait as long as the English speaking majority.

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