PITA Phone Numbers

#1. A number of years ago, I was asked to head up a temporary project for my employer, in a temporary office. We were set up with a temporary phone line. From day one of this line being active, I received eight to twelve calls a day (occasionally with pre-recorded messages claiming the call was from an inmate) for the parole office. (This was not a parole office.) After too many calls had come in to make it a mere coincidence, I realized: Here were a number of people dutifully trying to contact their parole officer, and they had the wrong number, with the result, for all I knew, in their being tagged as going AWOL (Not having worked any branch of law enforcement, never mind parole, and thankfully never having had a reason to be exposed to any aspect of the parole process, I am not familiar with how it all works). I suspected mine might be one digit off, or people might have been screwed by a recent area code addition or overlay (there were so many going on at the time, it was nearly impossible to keep track of what the heck area code you were in). I contacted a parole office number I got hold of (which resembled mine not at all), in an effort to get the correct number to give out, but they refused to divulge it. The calls continued for the entire six months of the project, after which the office was closed and the line disconnected. Lord knows what they did after that.

#2. Back in college, the extension for the general information line was, let’s say, x6000. From an on-campus phone, that’s all you’d have to dial. From an off-campus phone, of course, you’d have to dial the prefix, say 243-6000. So a friend of mine, when given her phone extension, ends up with x2436. So of course every numb-nuts trying to call info from a campus phone who forgot they only need to dial the last four digits, dialed 2, 4, 3, 6, and whatever else they might have dialed didn’t matter as they got my friend’s extension. She hoped after the first two weeks the new students would get the hint, but the constancy of human foolishness naturally proved her wrong, and the sheer volume of calls drove her to navigate the bureaucracy-lengthened process of getting a different extension.

Share your pain-in-the-ass phone number stories here!

Yes, I DID see the Seinfeld episode where Kramer was MovieFone!

No, I DON’T want to know more about how parole works! Thanks! :wink:

Did you see the one where Kramer was a Parole Officer?
I’ve had similar problems with a new phone number. When I first lived on my own, I got a number of which the last 4 digits were 3333. I thought it was cool, pretty tough to forget, etc.

However, I got at least 5 wrong-number calls per day. These were either for a doctor’s office or a hotel. I never figured out exactly who they were trying to call, but it got to the point where instead of my answering machine saying “hi, this is me, blah blah”, it said “This is xxx-3333. This is not a doctor’s office or a hotel. If you are calling about anything medical, making a reservation or cancelling an apointment, please call someone else and do not leave a message, because I will not take care of it for you”.

I think 1 or 2 brave souls still tried to cancel their doctor appointments even after that. I felt bad for them, knowing that they were probably still billed for the visit, since they didn’t call to cancel 24 hours in advance…

There is a listing in a phone book somewhere for a car dealership that wrongly lists the phone number of the company I work for. We have been getting people calling here for the dealership regularly for the past 3 1/2 years I have worked here. It’s extremely annoying!!!

Back in the days of yore, when I got the very, very first phone number in my own name, the BellTel guy apparently cross-wired it with a pay phone in a laundromat down the street. There was a guy running a book on the pay phone and I got a whole bunch of calls from people trying to place a bet. I took a lot of his action before the phone company straightened everything out.

To this day, I wonder how many pissed-off customers he had, and whether he has any kneecaps left.

Ooh! Ooh! This reminds me of another one!

When I firstmoved to California, my Mom and I stayed at my aunt’s place in Newport Beach (summer resort town for those who don’t know) while she was on vacation. We got at least 5 wrong number calls a day, always a different young voice asking for a different name. At first, we just thought that Californians were really as dumb as we’d always been told, but as the calls continued past the point of credulity, we eventually realized that my aunt’s last four digits, which were simply two digits alternating twice, would be extremely easy to pull off the top of your head when giving a fake local number to a beach bar pick-up.

Appreantly our phone number was previously that of a Columbian immigrant. nearly 4 years later, I still get 2am collect calls from Columbia for the previous owner of the number. Plus calls from collection agencies (one of which said to me “Your American accent is terrible Mr. Previous Phone Owner, I can tell you’re Spanish.”

Kind of funny for a guy who managed to fail Spanish not once but twice.

I’ve got a number that evidently belonged to some construction company, up to maybe eight years ago. For the first year or so, it was the contact number given out by the state unemployment service and by all the local colleges for job seekers. People still call and ask for them.

For awhile, I used an answer message that included “If you are looking for the construction company, please hang up now and never call this number again.” It helped, in that I got lots of hangups but no more job-seeking messages. Unfortunately, I changed the greeting and now the calls have started slipping through again. I use the number for professional purposes as well as private, so changing it would be a major hassle.

I really should have asked for another number as soon as I realized what was going on, but I thought the callers would give up after a few months. Ha.

Ragiel, hurrying to update the answer message again.