How I Got A Company To Stop Giving Out Our Number As Tech Support

Due to a typo, Loy and Dan’s phone number got printed in this company’s internal phone directory as being the number for tech support. The couple would get two to three phone calls a day from people at that company looking for help with their computers. At first the company shrugged their shoulders and said there was nothing they could do about it as the number was already published in a big phonebook that had been distributed nationwide. Then Loy came up with a crafty proposition that got all of the phone calls to stop.

Loy writes:

It pained me, but I had to laugh at the story about AT&T directing tech support calls to a new cell number. I went through the same circle of Hell myself.

Several years ago, our landline was so congested with telemarketing calls that we purchased a second, unlisted landline which we would answer (the original went straight to voice mail). This worked fine until I started getting calls to this second number for ‘Dan’ in tech support. Two, three every day for a week.

It took some time to sort this out, since my husband’s name is Dan and he is a computer tech. But he doesn’t work at home and wouldn’t give out our private number, so I kept at it. Eventually, I found a talkative fellow and figured out that people were looking for Waste Management’s internal tech support and were calling from all over the country, using a company-provided list with our number on it.

I called the main office and got through to a high-level assistant, who physically got the list and confirmed that, indeed, our number had been typo-ed on it. She then told me that there was *no way to fix it* – the list had been printed and distributed nationwide. She claimed to have no way to get people to stop using the list. (Given her repeated insistence on this point, I’m guessing it was an internal phone book, large and expensive to print, bind and distribute.)

I pointed out that this was my private number, that I didn’t want the calls and that, having notified her, any future calls could be considered harassment. Still no budge. She was flustered, but insisted there was no solution.

Finally, I told her that if that was her final answer, I’d be fighting fire with fire. I would tell every person who called that number to put their computer in the trash and file a purchase order for a new one.

Dead silence for a bit, then “I’ll have to look into this.” I never got another call.

I’m guessing they could have sued me, had I pursued that strategy … but they didn’t want the pain. Pain seems to be the only way to motivate companies these days.

Good luck to the fellow with the AT&T number.

Nice one, Loy. Thanks for sharing your story. If you can make it cost the company more to ignore you than to take care of your problem, you can win, no matter how tiny you are vs how big they are.

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