Bamboozled: Sorry, wrong caller

Caller ID is a pretty handy tool.BB branding

If you have this service, you can view the name of the caller on your phone when it rings.

If it’s that annoying nephew of yours, or if you’re not in the mood to talk to your overly chatty friend, you can choose not to answer.

Caller ID can be especially handy if you want to avoid unsolicited sales calls at dinnertime.

Gary and Susan Marcello have been on the receiving end, sometimes being shunned by those they tried to telephone because of how their phone lines were identified.

For years, their two home phone lines, supplied by Verizon, displayed the name of a business –Golf Tee House — when they made outgoing calls to Optonline phone service customers.

”I have many people not take my calls because they think I am trying to sell them something,” said Gary Marcello.

When they called other Verizon customers, the Caller ID was correct. “Gary Marcello,” it read. When they called Embarq (formerly Sprint) customers, the Caller ID was correct. It was only the Optonline telephone customers who saw the wrong name displayed on Caller ID.

72109It’s been more than a nuisance. The Caller ID mix-up has affected Susan Marcello’s charity work for organizations such as soup kitchens and Meals-On-Wheels.

”She has to contact numerous people around 6 to 8 p.m., and people wouldn’t pick up the phone because they thought it was a solicitation call,” Gary Marcello said.


The couple first noticed the irregularity about three years ago, around the same time Optonline phone service was gaining popularity. Through the years, Gary Marcello has contacted Verizon more than a dozen times to try to correct the error.

”I have called Verizon and told them the problem and they said their records are correct and they forward Caller ID data to Optonline on a periodic basis, and it is (Optonline’s) responsibility to update their files,” he said.

So he’d call Cablevision, which provides Optonline service, but, Marcello said, he was told because he’s not an Optonline phone customer, he had to call Verizon.

”Since this problem has been going on for three years, either Verizon is sending the wrong data or Optonline is not updating the data,” Marcello said. ”I cannot determine which one is responsible and neither company will help bring the problem to an end. I have no choice but to continue to have myself identified incorrectly.”

No. There is always a choice.

It seemed to Bamboozled that if Optonline customers were the only ones to see the business name in the Caller ID, the error must be on Cablevision’s side.

Bamboozled contacted both Verizon and Cablevision to see if they could track down the source of the problem. Cablevision found the answer.


Data used for Cablevision’s Caller ID service is provided by Verizon and other phone service providers to an outside vendor hired by Cablevision, said Patrick MacElroy, Cabelvision spokesman.

”An error could have occurred when it was submitted by Verizon or it could have been entered incorrectly by the vendor,” he said.

MacElroy said in general, customers should contact their local customer service center with any issues concerning their account to ensure the problem has been addressed.

The Marcellos did call their service provider many times, but it seems no one at Verizon ever took the extra step to call Cablevision to investigate on their behalf.

”This was an uncommon situation and we were pleased to be able to resolve it,” MacElroy said, noting the Caller ID data on both phone lines has been corrected.


The Marcellos were thrilled to finally have their Caller ID snafu fixed.

”The problem was nobody took responsibility. Neither Verizon or Optonline took responsibility,” he said.

And by the way, “Golf Tee House” is a real business in Dover. The company, a division of Par Golf Supply of Schaumberg, Ill., sells personalized golf tees. Its local Dover phone number in no way resembles the Marcellos’.


Last week, Bamboozled told the story of Murli Kalro, a homeowner who couldn’t get Right-Way Paving & Masonry or its owner, Tom Magill, to fix a faulty driveway resurfacing job.

Kalro complained to the Better Business Bureau and received this unfortunate e-mail:

”BBB has made several attempts to contact the business regarding the above referenced complaint. We regret to inform you that we have not received a response from the company.

”BBB develops and maintains Reliability Reports on companies in our service area. This information is available to the public and is frequently used by potential customers. In the case of your complaint, the company’s failure to promptly give attention to the matter will be reflected in the report we give to consumers about them.”

Kalro is still waiting on his case in small claims court. We’ll keep you posted.