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NOT cool

We've had a persistant series of wrong number calls ever since we moved into the house.  Apparently some guy in the long term care business had the number before we did, and it still comes up if you Google our phone number.  On the bright side, it's been long enough that we've moved to the top of the Google search.  The problem is that because of the nature of the previous number holder's business, a lot of the calls we get are automated - sometimes you can't even tell who's calling, because their robot talked to our answering machine.  Some of the calls leave disturbing amounts of their own or other people's personal information on our answering machine.  I try to track them back whenever possible, but lots and lots of them just say "call us back."

One of the few good things about how long Bob was out of work was that he was able to intercept a ton of them live and get our number out of various systems.

This has ranged from annoying to infuriating over the years.  I probably should have changed the number right off the bat when it started and before I had given it to everyone who needed it, but I didn't anticipate that it would linger for this long at this level.  Yesterday's call has escalated the game, though.

Apparently Kent isn't paying his bills, where ever he is.  We got a dunning call.

Having gone through this a decade ago, there is a particular type of adrenaline dump when you hear "this is an attempt to collect a debt" on your answering machine.  I was completely baffled, because we're up to date on everything - I obsess about that.  But at the same time I'm frantically thinking "what did I miss?  What did I forget?"  It is NOT a good feeling.

Bob called the number back and explained at great length and with much greater patience than I could have summoned up that Kent is NOT at this number, it is someone else's private residence, has been so since 2006 and please correct your records NOW.  Apparently whoever was on the other end of the line was appropriately responsive, and that was the end of that.  You'd think "Hello, you have reached Bob and Kris" would be a hint, though.

But here's the thing.  This was some sort of business, and it's always felt a little shady to me that he wouldn't care that people and businesses would be calling the wrong number, that the business was listed with a wrong number on the internet, etc.  I am concerned that this is only the first of many, and I'll tell you right now that my nerves aren't up to that.  Maybe the guy last night was appropriate, but some of these agencies are downright abusive, and it wouldn't surprise me if we got one who decides not to believe that we're not Kent.

If that starts to happen, I'm changing the number.  I don't need this sort of grief.



( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 25th, 2011 02:42 pm (UTC)
ODL I remember when your machine message had to list who you weren't. I suggest using a machine with a 30-second limit...

I briefly had a phone number one digit off the local ampitheater -- and that one digit made it match the local zip code mind you so I got a lot of calls. That was just a brief annoyance. (Paid for the time I tried to prank the guy who wanted to buy tickets to a sold-out concert on the day of the concert...and he laughed right along with me.)

Worse, that same phone# was also printed on checks of someone bouncing them from California to Kansas. His name was Asian, one of the reps let slip that the bouncer isn't a native English speaker, and the most recent checks were written in Kansas -- but for some reason they didn't believe that I was not him. Bland American accent, female. Not in Kansas. (Yes I used the toto line on one of them, it was not received well.) Luckily for me it escalated in the first month I was there, so I was able to change my phone number with no hassle.

Come to think of it, Mom had a runin with this too -- after 25 years at her number, there was a phone book typo for a popular local pub that proliferated into their marketing materials. The manager initially had the nerve to tell Mom to change her phone number -- at which point she called the owner, and the manager changed his tune. She got profuse apologies, a couple of generous meal coupons, and a promise that everything would be updated. But many people bring their old home phone books to work so... it was years before she stopped getting night-time calls from drunk people asking how late they were open, or people wanting to place takeout orders.

The manager's lucky it wasn't ME answering the phone back then -- I'd have taken orders and promised discounts after getting his verbal abuse. Mom's reaction was much more productive.

I am a bit worried about this with my new cell phone too, because I've already gotten voicemail once from a law office. When I called them back, they say it must have been a misdial because they didn't see my phone number. I'm keeping my fingers crossed though...and the ringer off when at work.
Feb. 25th, 2011 02:49 pm (UTC)
That would annoy the heck out of me, too. :-(

You really should change your number, probably. Have business cards with your new number on it printed up, & hand those out to everyone that matters, and just start fresh.
Feb. 25th, 2011 05:33 pm (UTC)
I'm going to give it a little time. If I have to clear a dozen places once each - that's acceptible. It's just if anyone won't take "it's not his number" for an answer that I'll have to take action. AND I'll sic the state on them. Just 'cause.

At least I'll know what it is if we get another one of those. My heart damn near stopped last night.
Feb. 26th, 2011 02:00 am (UTC)
That's not the type of call you want to get!

My old number belonged to a nurse. I used to get calls about per diem work all of the time.

My personal favorite for wrong numbers, however, was the 2AM drunk who tried to argue with me about whether someone lived in my apartment. I told him it was only 4 rooms...I'd notice another person there.
Feb. 26th, 2011 01:28 pm (UTC)
Our phone number has only one digit different from the local Appelby's. Fortunately while we had the number, we didn't have a working land line for a few months (mice I think), and we haven't had any problems since it went live again.

I did have bill collector call me once for a medical co-pay I had never recieved a bill for (a legitimate debt). I was staying at my parents recovering from knee surgery, and didn't have my checkbook or credit cards with me, and the guy started yelling at me about how I obviously had no intention of paying the bill. I hung up on him, and called the outfit back, talked to a supervisor, and got an apology. I also went and payed the doc's office directly a week later when I was mobile again. I did suggest that they might want a collection agency that didn't assume that everyone was an evil deadbeat on the first phone call.
Feb. 26th, 2011 03:55 pm (UTC)
Oh, don't change your phone number! Bone up on the laws about collection and how to get off those lists and follow them scrupulously. Take every arsehole who doesn't follow the rules to court.

Buy bookshelves with the proceeds.
Feb. 27th, 2011 01:46 am (UTC)
Nah. Litigation takes up waaayyy too much time. I haven't gotten any actual work done at work since December because of litigation - and that's just the discovery phase!
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )