Please, to call Masters Chemist Ltd of 176 Shooters Hill Rd, London SE3, the correct number is 020 8856 1104

Not exacty nuisance calls, but frequent, disruptive calls of a wrong number are challenging my patience – and NHS patients!

I work mainly from a home office in southeast London and use a telephone number that we have had for over 20 years. Over the past couple of years, I have started to receive a growing number of calls from customers of a local pharmacy, Masters Chemist, whose telephone number (starting 020 8856) is one digit different from ours (starting 020 8858). Initially, it was maybe just one call a month asking about drug prescriptions, and – once I worked out who they were trying to contact – I wrote the correct number on a Post-It note that I stuck to the shelf above my phone.

I also popped into Masters’ pharmacy last year and told them about the problem, and the manager I spoke to was apologetic and said they would check all their literature and notifications to customers. However, the frequency has not diminished. In fact, it’s got worse, and I am now getting an average of 2-3 calls a week (and twice recently Masters’ customers have left messages on our ansaphone – one, from an elderly lady, sounded particularly distressed). Each time I am interrupted, I politely tell the caller they have a wrong number and make sure they have the correct one.

Today, I walked up to Masters’ again, and, a bit more forcefully, told them that their customers were still calling the wrong number. The man I spoke to initially insisted it was just people misdialling. This would be believable if the digits were adjacent to each other on a typical push-button layout, but, surely, if you miss the “6” you’d be hitting a 3, or a 5 or a 9? I pointed out that it was always people enquiring about prescriptions, but the staff showed me labels that gave their correct number. “Why don’t you change your number?” I was asked. “No way,” I said, “We have had this number since 1994 and it’s also one that I use extensively for my business.” Impasse.

It’s not an easy situation to resolve, but the attitude of the store manager this time was to deny any responsibility for the inconvenience that this problem was causing to a) his customers, and b), me, my business and family. Not great PR on his part.

So, please, if you are trying to call Masters Chemist of 176 Shooters Hill Rd, London SE3 8RP, the correct number is:

020 8856 1104

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