Current local Las Vegas time is 8:48am, March 22, 2018.

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This is NOT the Party to Whom You’re Speaking!

OK, Las Vegas … what gives? Since we moved here, we have received more wrong number calls in three months than we did in a decade anywhere else.

Apparently we got the phone number that people named Vince and Gayle [Last Name] used to have. How do we know this? They get more phone calls than we do, and the callers ask for them by name. I guess they left town, and apparently when they left town, they did it in the middle of the night. The people calling for Vince and Gayle do not sound like happy folks wanting to talk to contest winners, nor do they sound like concerned relatives. They sound like professional collection agents, taking stern tones with anyone who answers.

Now I’m not saying that Vince and Gayle have done anything wrong, or that they left their creditors behind. Not at all! I’m sure they are fine, upstanding citizens who merely forgot to notify a few folks of their new number. All I’m really saying is that they get lots of calls on our number. Actually, they get more calls than we do. Not to mention, it’s entirely possible that their Aunt Betty sounds just like someone trying to collect money.

The wrong calls I understand. People change phone numbers and the old numbers get re-assigned. Such is life. What baffles me are the answering machine messages the collectors, er, callers leave. Our answering machine message states rather clearly that “You have reached Lars and [Mrs.] Vargas”. I made the message myself and even used my “official voice” so it would be loud and clear.

It doesn’t matter.

Vince and Gayle get messages, too. Sometimes they both get the message, and other times it’s just for one or the other. We don’t have caller ID on this line, so we can’t screen the calls. We just answer them. It does have its upside, though. Once in a while, for variety, we get a regular wrong number for someone else. Real excitement rains down upon us when that happens. In fact, I need to re-stock my supply of those little 10-cent confetti popper things.

Well, there was the time that American Express left a message. Since we do business with them, we dutifully called back wondering why they needed to chat. Our bill has paid in full, so we were curious. Apparently Amex had called someone else that had our number previously (I won’t name names). It took about 15 minutes to get everything straightened out and everyone, including the Amex rep had a little chuckle. A few minutes later, I got to thinking, they really should have told who they were leaving the message for.

So my words of advice to anyone doing collections: don’t assume you dialed the right number or that the person listening to the message knows who it is for. Tell them that this message is for so and so. Again, it will save everyone a little worry and time. Why do I have to figure this shit out for multi-billion dollar corporations?

As if the constant onslaught on our “private” line wasn’t enough, my home business line gets its share of wrong numbers. Apparently a computer store of some sort used to have this number. I get 4 or 5 calls a week. Since I sort of work in the computer industry, albeit a different part of it than a computer store, the calls are occasionally confusing.

One time Microsoft called and wanted to do a partner survey. OK, fair enough. I didn’t remember becoming a partner, but am always willing to speak my mind. We got about 10 minutes into it when the survey person asked if he was talking to “XYZ Computer Solutions” or something like that.

I said, “No, this is Lars Vargas, Computer Guy.”

“Oh, never mind then. We wanted to talk with XYZ.”

“Well, apparently I got their phone number.” Sigh.

Hey, Microsoft, save everyone some time and check that little bit of information up front. I know you can afford the long distance minutes, but really. That looked like amateur hour.

I have started explaining to wrong callers that we got someone else’s phone number and to please remove it from their list. It has helped bring the number of calls to the house down quite a bit.

My cell phone is a different story. Irritation has gone mobile. That’s right, you guessed it. I get plenty of wrong numbers on my cell phone, too. Many sound like dumb young people with fat fingers trying to reach another pizza-and-Red-Bull-addled youth.

Some sound like they are some sort of ethnicity that would make the characters on Star Trek look like Ozzie and Harriet Nelson. Really, if you’re English sounds that much like Klingon, you really should learn how 0 – 9 works and simply give up on the fact that English will ever benefit you in any way. Stick to the East Armpitian and do us all a favor. It will save me having to try to figure out what the hell you’re trying to spit out. The opportunity to simply hang up is preferable to me at this point.

My cell phone has extra features of annoyance, new opportunities for people to dial in the wrong number. It has text messaging. Some of the text messages are weird. I get really pissed at having to pay 10 cents for someone else’s mistake, especially when my provider won’t disable the stupid service that I have no use, need, or desire for. But I digress. Suffice to say, I get a couple wrong text messages a month. It’s not even worth it to text them back and let them know the error of their ways. I’m not spending yet another dime for their screw-ups.

Mrs. Vargas has a cell phone, but it’s off 98% of the time. She probably gets her fair share of wrong number calls, but simply doesn’t have to deal with them because the phone is off. I wish I could get away with that.

Along with crazy drivers, I guess inordinate amounts of wrong numbers are simply part of life in Las Vegas. After all, Las Vegas is a town built on the fact that many people don’t understand numbers. I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that many here don’t quite get phone numbers either.

Published Thu 1/12/06 at 1:43am

Categorized in Journal, Lars Vargas, Las Vegas

3 Responses to This is NOT the Party to Whom You’re Speaking!

  1. Special K said on Mon 1/16/06 at 5:51pm

    Yah, try having the same name as a looser who didn’t pay any bills and almost cost me a mortgage! Never had a problem with my name in New England, but some looser here in Florida has the same name. Let’s see: 1) Two days after moving to FL and signing up at Hollywood Video, I was informed that I owed $25 in overdue videos – from 1999! I wasn’t even married then. 2) the biggy – my mortgage company went through the usual people to check our credit. I guess the person at the credit company forgot to cross reference my SS# – yah, the one all important thing to remember. We received a call 24 hours prior to closing informing me that I owed $$$ to a hospital, more $$$ to an apartment complex that I was kicked out of. Gee, I hope the other Special K has a much more interesting life than I do! I informed them that I wasn’t married until 2000, (thus the last name) and I wasn’t a florida resident until 2002! I wish I could go back to Vargas – not that many of us in the US. Anyways, after a conference call, we found out the error of the wonder boy at the credit company, they crossed referenced my SS# and all was good again. 3) I received a SPRINT bill for over $450. Never have I been a SPRINT customer and the way I was treated on the phone (turkish prison anyone) I will never be a customer – YES, I NAME NAMES! I finally convinced them I was not the Special K they were looking for and hung up. I figured they did an internet search in the area I live in and since all of the utility bills were in my name – the name search matched. 4) to this day I still receive calls and letters from numerous collection agencies regarding the BAD Special K. It takes so much time to convince them I am not the person they are looking for! Again – Turkish Prison anyone? Moral to the story – I want to go back to the last name I always hated throughout my life and kick the common last name to the curb.

  2. Karen said on Thu 1/26/06 at 9:37am

    I can sympathize, since I have had the same problem on my last couple of phone numbers. I used to return the calls when they’d leave “please call 800-xxx-xxxx regarding an important business matter” messages, until I found that it was always for someone I’d never heard of, and the people on the other end were always rude. They even expected me to give them a lot of information about myself. They acted as if I was really Jane Doe, or her best buddy covering for her. What kind of person assumes every person they call to pester is a liar? Sorry, if you’re looking for Jane Doe, and I’m not her, and she’s never lived here, I’m doing you a favor by telling you that much — no honest company would then demand my name, address, etc. Any company that keeps calling, after being informed they’re calling an incorrect number, is not an honest company.

    So I don’t return those calls anymore — let them waste their time. Talking to them and politely telling them they were calling a wrong number never stopped the calls, but ignoring them eventually does. Given what my research into the debt collection industry turned up, I figure the odds are good that Jane Doe doesn’t owe any money anyway, and these “debt collectors” are really just scammers looking for a new victim to defraud.

    Do you need to post (what look like) the real names of the people all these pests are trying to reach at your phone number? You don’t know anything about them, and it’s clear from my own experience and what I’ve read that the debt collection agencies frequently call the wrong people, or call about debts that don’t exist. Maybe you could be the good guy here and take their names off this page? We don’t need to know, and the fact that a lot of debt collectors are calling for them turns out to be a pretty useless measure of whether they actually owe any money. You could be embarrassing innocent people who are the victims of identity fraud, or database mixups.

  3. LarsVargas said on Tue 1/31/06 at 7:47am

    Karen, good points all around. Thanks for posting and bringing a little perspective. I have removed the last name. The first names are accurate, but I wasn’t sure if the last name was right anyway, at least the spelling. It didn’t serve any real purpose, so just in case they are innocent (and I had the name right) I have removed it. Like you said, no sense embarrassing the innocent.

    Oddly enough, since I have posted this story, Vince and Gayle haven’t gotten that many calls. Maybe one or two that I can remember. However, “Mary” and “Sarah” are now getting about 3 or 4 calls a week. And no, I don’t know their last names, nor will I post them. 🙂

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