A typographical error on a Craigslist ad has Amy Pollick’s cellphone ringing off the hook. Is there any way to stop the calls?
Question: I’ve had a couple of weird phone calls and a text on my personal cell phone the past couple of weeks, inquiring about the “handyman ad.”
Well, the text indicated it was a Craigslist ad, so I went to look, and lo and behold, my personal cell was listed as a contact on the ad. I’m sure — hope, anyway — this was a mistake, that someone got the numbers transposed or whatnot. But obviously, I’d like my number removed from the ad.
I emailed Craigslist through the ad twice through the “Contact us” form (and saved a screenshot) – just to make sure someone sees it. I also flagged the ad. The calls stopped for a few days, but then started again.
I went through the flagging and contact process again, and I also emailed the abuse@craigslist address. I’d like the calls to stop. Can you help?
— Amy Pollick, Decatur, Ala.
Answer: Removing the phone number should have been pretty straightforward. When you see a notice on Craigslist, you can flag it on the top right corner of the page. There’s an option for “miscategorized” that should have triggered a review and an edit of the number. (My apologies to Craigslist, but in researching this story, I may have inadvertently flagged one or two ads to test it. Sorry!)
It looks as if that worked for you, at least initially. But then the same person re-posted the notice with the same incorrect phone number, and the calls started again.
Craigslist has a generic email address you could have forwarded another complaint to. Some of its executives are also easy to track down. I list them on my consumer advocacy site, and the email convention is pretty simple — firstname.lastname@example.org. Yet none of the appeals seemed to work, and the calls continued.
One of the great things about Craigslist is that the ads don’t last forever. At some point, this notice would have been removed and the calls would have tapered off. But why wait? If the normal appeals and flagging process isn’t working for it, you should call for help, which is exactly what you did.
I contacted Craigslist on your behalf. It responded immediately and removed the ad. The calls have stopped.