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IN BRIEF Technology

Wrong Number to Cost Gateway $3.6 Million

July 20, 2002|Associated Press

Computer giant Gateway Inc. has been hit with a $3.6-million jury verdict for a wrong number that flooded another company's toll-free telephone line with calls from thousands of angry Gateway customers.

The number belongs to Mo' Money, a Pensacola, Fla., business that manufactures and distributes promotional items with company logos, including T-shirts, caps, gym bags and jackets. A federal jury awarded the damages to Mo' Money on Wednesday.

"It was a nightmare," Mo' Money President Cliff Mowe said. "We had as many as 8,000 extra calls a month, and these were all angry people."

In January 1999, someone at Gateway erred by using the 800 prefix instead of 888 for the computer company's toll-free customer complaint line.

As a result, Gateway sent Mo' Money's number to more than 275 Gateway retail stores. The phone number also was posted on Gateway's Web site and listed on Internet billings.

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