I understand that times are hard. I understand it is likely, at one time or another, to run into some tight times - financially speaking - and have to make hard decisions as to what bill gets paid and which has to wait. I've been there, more times than I care to remember. So, before anyone accuses me of being insensitive to economic woes, hear me out.
Back last year, when we purchased the first phone to be used by our youth, Verizon gave us a number, we signed the slip and skipped out the door.
Approximately 3.8 seconds after we walked out the door, the phone rang.
"May I speak to Betty Wilson*?"
I think nothing of this request. "I'm sorry, but you have the wrong number."
Sounds of disdain, "Hmm. Okay, is this 321-555-2558*?"
"Yes, it is. But this isn't Rita's phone. I can assure you. We just bought and activated a cell phone, and this is the number we were given."
The caller gave me a curt, "Thank you," and hung up.
From September until March, that was the routine until I finally snapped. Sure the conversations varied a bit, but the result was all the same. The final straw was when a customer service rep informed me that Betty had just filled out an application online for a car loan and this was number provided.
I called Verizon and BEGGED them to do something, anything, because I couldn't take the constant barrage of calls anymore. In less than one hour on that last day, I had fielded over seventeen calls. Give or take.
What I didn't know, probably because I still have the same cell phone number I've always had and the only time I've ever changed land line numbers is when we moved and I can assure you no one is bothering the innocent people that now may have our old numbers, is that you can change your mobile number for free.
Within ten minutes of talking to the sweet Verizon customer service representative, a new number was assigned and the calls stopped. Much to the chagrin to the creditors, I am sure.
Fast forward to present day.
We are standing in Verizon once again, adding a line to our account.
"Would you like the same area code as your others?"
Tap-tap-tap. "Okay. There aren't a lot of numbers in your exchange**, but I did grab you this number: 555-2558."
Hold the phone. I looked at my husband. "Wait. Doesn't that sound familiar? Isn't the number we changed back in the spring?"
He looks at me, "I have no idea."
The sales rep says nothing.
"Well, I am pretty sure it is, but surely the bill collectors have given up by now. Either way, I know I can change it if need be."
The sales rep still says nothing.
Lo and behold, we were assigned the same number. Again.
A whole twenty-four hours of silence passed, probably because of the weekend, before the calls and texts came in. All wanting Betty Wilson.
This time I knew what to do.
Thanks to mobile number change with Verizon, within two minutes, we had a new number assigned to the youngest's phone.
Let's just hope this is a brand new number, or if nothing else, someone that had been a tad more fiscally responsible.
*This is a fake name and number, obviously. However, given the sheer number of minutes that have been eaten up trying to get the creditors/debt collectors/distant cousins to quit calling, I'd should post her name and number here. But I don't roll that way.
**I may have rolled my eyes. Really? In all of Middle Tennessee, every possible combination is currently in use?
***To be fair, I did like this sales rep. He was probably sick of me, though.
Photo credit: The awesome Someecards