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Business Owner Fed Up with Yellow Pages Blunders

Laura Wurdeman says her pet-sitting business may close because it isn't listed in Verizon's 2003 Yellow Pages.

"Verizon's mistakes are costing me money," in the thousands of dollars, Wurdeman says. "I anticipate this year closing over it."

Wurdeman started Creature Comforts in 1996. Business was good then, she says, and she credits it to a listing in the Yellow Pages. The listing is free with the purchase of a business phone line.

Wurdeman says the trouble started when Creature Comforts was listed with an incorrect phone number in the 2001 Yellow Pages. She called Verizon to report the mistake. Verizon routed the wrong number to the correct one at no cost, she says. Still, she worried about losing customers who might see the number, not recognize it and conclude that Creature Comforts was not a local business.

"Pet sitters are like cleaners," she says. "You want one in your area."

Creature Comforts was again listed incorrectly in the 2002 Yellow Pages.

Since then Wurdeman has been on a mission to make sure her listing would be right this year. It isn't. It's omitted.

Wurdeman is incredulous: "My question is, How can I protect myself?"

According to Elizabeth Tusing, a spokeswoman with Verizon's directory division, it's complicated.

Unless Wurdeman buys advertising in the Yellow Pages, Tusing says, the directory division gets only a "data feed" from Verizon's telephone-operations division. Therefore Tusing can't provide an explanation for what happened, she says, extending her apologies to Wurdeman and referring her to Verizon's telephone-operations division.

A spokesperson with that division assures that the matter is being investigated.

Wurdeman is fed up. She says she's called Verizon customer-service representatives every month since June to ensure that her business would be listed correctly. She's called supervisors and managers, visited the Richmond office and sent letters of complaint to company officials in New York and Richmond, she says.

Verizon has credited $270 to her business phone line account. And Tusing says an order is in place to put a free listing in the directory under the "pet services" heading for Wurdeman's business in next year's directory.

It's little consolation to Wurdeman.

"They have no idea how it happened and they have no idea how to fix it," she says. "The worst part is, I'm mediocre at a hundred different things in life but I'm really good at this."

— Brandon Walters

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