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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 14 November 2018

Driving me crazy: man fields angry call after business number is wrongly displayed on bus

Adham Kaddoura says he is plagued by up to 60 calls a week from people looking to contact a contracting company, which used to own the number on the bus

Cancelled mobile phone numbers in the UAE are usually held for a long period of time before being reissued to new users. Sarah Dea /  The National 
Cancelled mobile phone numbers in the UAE are usually held for a long period of time before being reissued to new users. Sarah Dea /  The National 

A business owner, who receives dozens of calls a day for owning a phone number that belonged to another company, says the final straw was being called by an angry motorist who saw the number displayed on the back of a bus in Abu Dhabi.

Adham Kaddoura, who owns accounting and finance company Bookwork, received a call from a disgruntled motorist, last week, complaining about the way the bus was driven.

After initially being confused, he realised that the bus was owned by a UAE contracting company, which used to own his phone number, but has since changed it.

Mr Kaddoura is plagued by up to 60 calls a week, and sometimes as many as 10 calls a day, for another company.

“Most of the time now I don’t answer when people call because I’m tired of it,” said Mr Kaddoura 31, from Palestine.

“They [the company] have been here 43 years so you can guess how many suppliers they have.

“Now when I answer I ask ‘which company they are trying to call?’ They will start offering their services and I know they don’t mean to call my company.”

Some will not even stop once they realise they have the wrong number, he said. They ask which company he works with.

“They think I am a related company. I say ‘go Google it. I am not related to them.’”

Mr Kaddoura is so fed up with fielding the incessant calls that he has stopped answering his phone. But aside from the annoyance, he is concerned about the amount of business he is losing as a result.

“Some people will call and they will say ‘why didn’t you answer?’ but I didn’t answer my clients because, before that, I might have refused 10 calls for the other company so I don’t answer my phone any more,” said Mr Kaddoura.

“I don’t know how much business I am losing, but it is affecting me for sure.”

Mr Kaddoura said he cannot change his number because it is displayed on all his marketing materials that he paid a lot of money for less than a year ago.

“It’s already on our business cards and letterheads, everything,” he said.

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Mr Kaddoura received the number from Etisalat when he started his company last November.

He began receiving calls for the other company immediately.

“I spoke to Etisalat and I tried to complain but the guy said ‘This is not our issue. They cancelled the line. We kept it on hold for a long time and we resold it now’. But still the people keep calling,” he said.

“I don’t understand how they are operating right now if their numbers are wrong, especially with the banks. Every day I receive calls from their bank.”

Nevertheless, Mr Kaddoura said the multiple daily calls are a small issue in comparison to his number being displayed on the back of a bus.

A woman phoned him shouting to complain about the way the bus was driven.

“I told her ‘sorry, we don’t have buses in our company,’” he said.

“She was like I have this number on the bus in front of me. I said no way. We don’t have any vehicles under this. So then she sent a picture on WhatsApp and I called her and said ‘I am sorry but this is our number, sure. But this bus is not ours and I think it belongs to the contracting company’.”

He has contacted the contracting company to see if they can help resolve the issue, but is yet to hear back.

Etisalat said: “We have contacted the customer and resolved the issue immediately.”