The Fixer: 411 confusion floods her with calls for Costco
January 16, 2011 7:56PM
Exterior of Costco store at 830 E. Boughton rd. Jan. 14, 2010 in Bolingbrook. | Rich Hein~SunTimes
Updated: May 1, 2011 4:48AM
Dear Fixer: For the past year and half my home phone number has been listed as the number for the new Costco in my town. As of this writing, they are still under construction.
I tried to get this corrected. I sent an e-mail to Costco and I talked to the director of networking. He spoke to someone and for a time the calls stopped, but now they are continuing.
I do not want to change my phone number. I want the yellow pages to take it out of their searches online and I want to get it out of Google’s 800-GOOG-411. I hope you can help me.
Teresa Arrieta, Bolingbrook
Dear Teresa: Just what you needed — a huge new Costco opening in your town and everyone who wants to shop there or get a job there is calling your house. You told The Fixer this started about a year and a half ago, with the phone ringing from 6 a.m. to midnight.
The really weird thing is your number isn’t similar at all to the actual Costco number.
The main culprits seemed to be Google 411 and a couple of online directory assistance sites.
The Fixer guessed Costco would want to help fix this — after all, it was their potential customers calling the wrong place. (The store opened for business Nov. 18, while we were working on your problem.) We eventually ended up with Derek Snead, the discount giant’s corporate counsel. Snead got in touch with the offending websites and they made the corrections. As for Google 411, that service was scrapped by Google on Nov. 12, so that fixed itself. Yay!
We waited a couple months as the calls gradually died down. When we last spoke with you, you said the calls have dropped significantly. We recently found one more website that still had it wrong; Costco has submitted a correction to that site, too.
As the Internet churns on and new Web pages replace old ones, this should get better.
And by the way, everyone — the correct number for the new Costco store in Bolingbrook is 630-410-0702.
This week’s Costly Lesson is more accurately an “Almost-Costly Lesson.’’ It’s from Fixer reader “Jo,” who wants to make sure no one else gets charged extra on their cable bill.
Jo decided to look over her monthly expenses and find a few places to save money. One of those places was her cable provider.
“I called and spoke to a nice man who helped me get a better deal on my Internet service,” Jo wrote The Fixer. “He also pointed out that I could save almost $20 a month by lowering my cable package. I decided to take a look at the channel lineup to see if I would lose anything I regularly watch, and told him I would call back.”
Jo called back less than 10 minutes later with the decision to make the change. A different rep put it through and Jo was good to go.
Until she got her next bill.
“I noticed that they had charged me $1.99 twice, for a total of $3.98, for a ‘change of service fee,’” Jo wrote. “I was furious! It wasn’t the dollar amount — it was the fact that neither of the reps I talked to mentioned this fee.”
This time, Jo didn’t call (she was probably worried about another fee). Instead, she got on Twitter and contacted the cable company’s Twitter person. That guy quickly credited her bill.
“But when I asked why it was charged in the first place and why they were so sneaky about it, he never responded. Shocking!”
Getting the runaround about a consumer problem? Tell it to The Fixer at www.suntimes.com/pcds/ssl/scn/fixer.html. If you don’t have a computer, you can mail a brief description of your problem, along with your name, address and telephone number, to: The Fixer, The Beacon News, 495 N. Commons Drive, Suite 200, Aurora, IL 60504. Don’t send original documents. Due to the large volume of submissions, The Fixer can’t make personal replies. Letters are edited.