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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.



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.