Pottery business flooded with calls after wrong number published

SEATTLE -- A Seattle pottery business is getting dozens of calls from Maryland but not about its products - the callers are looking for help with health care coverage.

"Most of the time when they find out it's the wrong number they go, 'Oh, I'm so sorry for you,' " said Sue Lunz, co-owner of Seattle Pottery Supply.

The calls started in October after the Maryland Health Connection mistakenly posted Seattle Pottery Supply's 1-800 number on its website. If someone trying to enroll in a health plan reached a page with a technical problem, then the pottery store's number popped-up as the help-line.

"The busiest days were definitely the day after Christmas, the day after New Year's and the day after Thanksgiving - so I'm sure everyone had the day off and they were figuring out their health care options," said employee Kim Lunz.

At times, the store was getting about 20 calls per day but the phone stopped ringing so much last week after the Baltimore Sun published an article about the glitch with the call center's correct number.

"Now we have the number. We say, 'Do you have a pencil and paper? We have the number, ' " said Sue Lunz.

Nina Smith, a spokeswoman for the Maryland governor's office, said the wrong number was part of a programming error and the problem was fixed on Tuesday night.

Meanwhile, a state official called Seattle Pottery on Wednesday afternoon to apologize for the inconvenience. Workers said they just hope those in Maryland get the help they need.

"I feel so bad for them because they are so frustrated with their website," said Kim Lunz.

Lunz said she doesn't know how much money the long-distance calls cost her business. She said the wrong number glitch was more of an interruption than anything else.