1-800-headache Featured

9:58am EDT July 22, 2002

The final seconds ticked off the clock, sealing the victory for the Tennessee Volunteers and giving the school its first national championship in college football in 47 years. It was an exhilarating moment for the Vols, and one that was about to make Debra Hill’s next couple of weeks miserable.

Hill, vice president of client services at Automated Data Payroll, walked into her Cleveland office a few days later to find her voice mail filled with rabid Tennessee Volunteer fans looking for a catalog filled with team merchandise.

They thought they were dialing 1-800-829-VOLS, but those who exchanged the letter O with a zero, instead dialed Hill’s toll free number.

“My voice mail would fill up every day,” Hill says. “ I did call the company ... I left them a message and never heard back from them.”

At first, Hill tried to be helpful, but the sheer volume of calls ultimately made that impossible.

“One individual, three times I told her it’s a six not a zero, and she could not get it.”

The misdialed calls now only trickle in, but the experience has left Hill with a few thoughts.

“If I ever do anything with an 800 number, now I’m going to be more cautious. (Companies) should use the whole number, not just the (letters).”

And while Hill might not be ready to tell Tennesseean jokes (What’s dumber than a football fan from Tennessee ...?) she’s not rooting for the Volunteers to repeat as national champions.