PC maker Gateway has been forced to pay damages of more than $3.6m after giving out a another company's toll-free telephone number instead of its own.
The number belonged to Mo' Money, which manufactures and distributes promotional items with company logos, including T-shirts, caps, gym bags and jackets.
According to the New York Post, a federal jury awarded the damages to Mo' Money on Wednesday after someone at Gateway used a 800 prefix in an advertisement instead of 888 for the computer company's toll-free customer complaint line.
Mo' Money president Cliff Mowe described it as a nightmare. "We had as many as 8,000 extra calls a month, and these were all angry people," he said.
The court heard that Gateway also sent Mo' Money's number to more than 275 of its own retail stores.
The number was posted on Gateway's website, listed on internet billings and included on a form distributed to more than 100,000 customers.
"When they got us, people were very hostile and you couldn't get them off the line because the only number they had was ours," Mowe told the court. "You'd have to explain it and go through it, and a lot of times they'd call you right back anyway."
Mo' Money contacted Gateway six days after the calls began, but it took the computer company more than two years to track down and fix the problem.
Gateway admitted responsibility, but challenged Mo' Money's request for $7.8m. Gateway had offered to settle for $300,000 during jury deliberations, according to Martin Levin, Mo' Money's lawyer.
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