FruCall – Comparison Shopping On Your Cellphone

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Frucall Logo

Most people know about online price comparison websites like Froogle or PriceGrabber, but what if you’re actually in a physical store and you need to find out if a price is good or not? Enter FruCall, which lets you find out the prices online, including shipping to your zip code, by calling them at 1-888-DO-FRUCALL and entering the UPC barcode number. I gave it a test run:

First, I had to find a box with a UPC code… Fruit Loops? Nah, not very online-friendly. Hmmm… what have I bought recently. Okay, how about my All About Asset Allocation Book? On the back of the book, the retail price says $18.95.

UPC Code: 9-780071-429580

says… prices about $12-$18 new. $14-$21 used including shipping. Best price from for $12.

Actual price was $11.58 + .97 shipping = $12.55

Pricegrabber says… Best price at for $11.70 + $1.40 shipping = $13.10.

Froogle says… It listed both Wal-mart and Overstock prices, without shipping info. had the lowest before-shipping price, of $11.08. Plus $2.40 shipping brought the total to $13.48 though.

I’m not sure how they expect to make money, but I’m betting it involves getting your phone number. Shrug. I won’t register, but they already have my number via Caller ID. I know because on my 2nd call I didn’t have to enter my zip code for shipping quotes again.

Overall, not ground-breaking, but it delivers on what it promises and seems worth an add to the cell phone. Extra information is always good, and you can weigh any price difference vs. getting it now (along with the possibly more generous return policy of brick and mortar stores).

If you haven’t already, I’ve also found 1-800-FREE-411 a very useful number to have programmed in your phone for free directory assistance.

Thanks to reader A for the heads up on Frucall.

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  1. haha, I just tried my Fruit Loops box on a whim (UPC 0-38000-017209). Available from NetGrocer for $10 shipped 🙂

  2. I wonder if you can block your number and the service still work? If so, could be most useful for impulse buys before pulling the trigger…

  3. Via FCC – “To block your telephone number for any call, dial *67 before dialing the telephone number”

    Hmm.. I just tried it, and it still said “Welcome back to Frucall” and didn’t ask me for my zip code…

  4. You cannot block your phone number to toll-free numbers (800 #’s). It is always transmitted to them.

  5. Danny is right. I didn’t know that:

    800 number/toll-free calls – Simply requesting privacy when you call 800, 888, 877 and 866 numbers may or may not prevent the display of your telephone number. When you dial a toll-free number, the party you are calling pays for the call. The called party is able to identify your telephone number using a telephone network technology called Automatic Number Identification (ANI). FCC rules limit parties that own toll-free numbers from distributing the telephone numbers identified through ANI and require telephone companies to inform customers that their telephone numbers are being transmitted to toll-free numbers in this way.

  6. hmmm pretty neat! overall how long did a call took to find out the info?

    I always get calls for a price check from my sister or a few friends. “Are you by the computer?” This may be my salvation!

    Plus it seems rather handy, sometimes I see some really good prices, only to not grab it because I think I can always find it cheaper on eBay or some online retailer.

  7. That is very, very cool. I just inputted the barcode for a Canon Lens Hood, and it gave me the right pricing very quickly! Thanks!

  8. What is a good online price comparison tool for grocery shopping? Thanks.

  9. Anonymous says


    THis isn’t related but I have a question and be very happy if you could answer it. I am in school but this year I am getting almost no financial aid but my university says I can take $5900 in sub stafford loans. Now is there a credit check for this? And what happens if I fall below the half time i.e less than 6 credits? I read a lot of literature but none was clear on these two things…



  10. I think their business model is allowing you to place orders using your phone, and then taking a cut.

  11. Anonymous says

    Do you have to register with your real phone number?

  12. The simple language on the FCC stuff is that someone pays for your toll free call and to figure out how much to pay, they need to know your phone number to calculate the charges.

    Once your number is identified, the phone company that carries the call figures out the distance, jurisdiction or whatever else they have arranged and the call is billed to the recipient.

  13. Wouldn’t matter if you block callerid or not — you can always pull that information from ANI. It’s not just for toll-free, but almost anyone with a PRI or similar telco connection.

  14. You can also get pricing information by text messaging Google. Send a text message to 46645 (GOOGL) with “f item” where “f” stands for “Froogle” and “item” identifies the item in some way, such as name, model number, ISBN for books, UPC for other items, etc.

    More info can be found at

  15. Jonathan, just tried it for Clearasil Daily Face Wash. It told me the best price was $3.09 on I went on and it was $4.49, so they got it wrong. Not a perfect system although, to be fair, shopzilla showed that was still the best price on the web.

  16. Frucall does not sell or share the phone numbers… The business model is through getting a cut if you buy via Frucall, as well as ads. So your phone number is safe. You don’t really have to register, you can just make the phone call and use the service. Registration provides more free features such as revisiting your bookmarks or search history on the web site. So for that purpose obviously you should provide the correct cell phone number so that it can be linked into your bookmarks.

  17. hmmm.. i called this number and it can not be connected. called the other one and brought be to a sex hot line. the only that seemed to work was the free411.

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