Home123 Buys Up Misdialed Phone Numbers

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Mortgage and home equity loans marketer Home123 Loans Direct has bought toll-free numbers commonly misdialed by consumers calling its vanity 1-800 hotline, the company said yesterday.

Home123, Ponte Verde Beach, FL, secured the numbers to recapture lost customers who accidentally dial the wrong toll-free number. Direct response marketers generally lose 8 percent to 10 percent of customers because of misdials, the company said.

The most common mistake is when consumers accidentally dial zero instead of six, the number that corresponds to the letter "O" on the keypad. In the case of Home123, which advertises the toll-free number 1-800-HOME123, many consumers accidentally dialed zero instead of the letter "O."

The number of customers lost to misdials by Home123 was consistent with figures seen throughout the industry, company spokeswoman Michelle Love-Johnson said.

The company wants to defend against competitors taking over numbers similar to the Home123 toll-free line in a deliberate attempt to grab consumers who misdial. No such attack is taking place, but buying the numbers now prevents the use of such a tactic and protects the brand, Love-Johnson said.

Home123 has built its brand around its national spokesman, television home-improvement personality Bob Vila.

"[Callers] think they're calling Bob Vila," Love-Johnson said. "If they're put off to somebody who's not on the up-and-up, it hurts the brand."

The company did not disclose the cost of buying the additional toll-free numbers or how many numbers were bought.


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