1-800-Clunkers? Florist keeps getting car calls - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

1-800-Clunkers? Florist keeps getting car calls

CHICAGO, Ill. (AP) - The government is giving cash for clunkers. It isn't sending flowers.

Still, a small-town florist in central Illinois has been fielding hundreds of calls a day from people inquiring about the rebate program after General Motors began advertising a national toll-free cash-for-clunkers number that's nearly identical to the shop's toll-free number.

The Flower Corner in Clinton is being inundated with more than 150 calls a day, overwhelming its staff of six and threatening to damage business because regular customers in the rural community of just 7,000 can't get through, said owner Judy Van Fossan.

"It's a horrible nuisance," she said. "And it's cutting into the productivity of my people 'cause all they're doing is answering phones."

The calls started about three weeks ago, swelling by the day as GM publicized its clunker-info number. Van Fossan fears matters will only worsen as GM continues to market the service.

Many callers appear startled and confused. Some still asking about clunkers even after they're told they've reached a flower store.

"We stop them and they say, 'Huh? What?"' said Van Fossan, 57.

The shop is supposed to pay a fee for each toll-free call to the store and Van Fossan said she could be hit with a massive phone bill at the end of the month, adding to her woes.

Only the prefixes of the numbers are different; GM's is 877 and the shop's is 800. People are more familiar with toll-free numbers starting with 800, so many potential car buyers trying to call the GM number mistakenly dial 800, said Van Fossan.

Van Fossan said she doesn't blame GM but the company that issued a number so similar to one that existed. She said she once worked on a car plant assembly line and appreciates that the ailing industry needs the financial boost that the cash-for-clunkers program offers.

A spokesman at GM's Detroit-based headquarters said he sympathized with Van Fossan. But John McDonald said there was little the company could do. He said part of the problem was a shortage of available 800 numbers, forcing companies to use 877 equivalents.

"What we try to do is make as much publicity as possible to say what the right number is," he said. "I don't know what else we can do."

There may be a silver lining for the florist, he said. Publicity could raise awareness about The Flower Corner in the long run, he said.

In the short term, the GM official said, "We certainly hope that people order flowers when they call."
  • Water CoolerMore>>

  • Gross: Farm breeds 6 billion roaches a year for medicine

    Gross: Farm breeds 6 billion roaches a year for medicine

    Friday, April 20 2018 9:09 AM EDT2018-04-20 13:09:02 GMT
    Friday, April 20 2018 12:03 PM EDT2018-04-20 16:03:48 GMT

    The roaches are part of a booming traditional Chinese medicine industry. Their ground-up powdered remains are also used to treat burns, and experts claim roach milk is very nutritious.

    The roaches are part of a booming traditional Chinese medicine industry. Their ground-up powdered remains are also used to treat burns, and experts claim roach milk is very nutritious.

  • WATCH: Officer dodges fireball as house explodes

    WATCH: Officer dodges fireball as house explodes

    Thursday, April 19 2018 6:35 AM EDT2018-04-19 10:35:58 GMT
    Thursday, April 19 2018 6:35 AM EDT2018-04-19 10:35:58 GMT
    Authorities say a driver who crashed into the house ruptured a gas line, causing the explosion. (Source: Hurst Police Department/CNN)Authorities say a driver who crashed into the house ruptured a gas line, causing the explosion. (Source: Hurst Police Department/CNN)

    Authorities say a driver who crashed into the house ruptured a gas line, causing the explosion.

    Authorities say a driver who crashed into the house ruptured a gas line, causing the explosion.

  • Engaged wrestlers John Cena and Nikki Bella break up

    Engaged wrestlers John Cena and Nikki Bella break up

    Sunday, April 15 2018 11:28 PM EDT2018-04-16 03:28:15 GMT
    Monday, April 16 2018 3:20 PM EDT2018-04-16 19:20:02 GMT
    (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP). In this Tuesday, April 3, 2018, photo, John Cena, left, and Nikki Bella attend the LA Premiere of "Blockers" at the Regency Village Theatre in Los Angeles. On Sunday, April 15, 2018, Bella tweeted that she and C...(Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP). In this Tuesday, April 3, 2018, photo, John Cena, left, and Nikki Bella attend the LA Premiere of "Blockers" at the Regency Village Theatre in Los Angeles. On Sunday, April 15, 2018, Bella tweeted that she and C...

    Engaged pro wrestlers John Cena and Nikki Bella are ending their relationship.

    Engaged pro wrestlers John Cena and Nikki Bella are ending their relationship.

Powered by Frankly