By Kurtis Ming

He says he gets daily calls for people, asking for prices on mattresses. He called Kurtis when he learned his phone number was displayed on a billboard for a Sacramento mattress store.

He says it’s annoying, and each time someone calls it ticks away at his pay-as-you- go cell phone minutes.  It’s all because his phone number used to belong to a mattress store

“‘Ma’am, I don’t, this is not a mattress company. I don’t have mattresses. you’re actually calling a cell phone,'” Germeil Pitts recalls telling one woman who called his phone.

Tired of having the same conversation, sometimes 15-times a day, Pitts says the new number he’s had for six months used to belong to Omega Mattress Outlet on stockton boulevard.  The number is still visible on this sign outside to anyone who drives by.

“If it’s an old phone number, put your new one up there! Don’t put mine because now I have your old phone number. ‘Oh, really?’ Yes. ‘Oh. well, we’ll go ahead and take care of it.'” Pitts recalls telling staff at the store.

He says he’s asked Omega to cover up his number three times.  You can tell they removed the numbers but the imprint is still there and Pitt’s number is clear as day on this sandwich board.

“How many customers are being turned away for them calling my phone? They could be calling you and you could be getting this money,” said Pitts.

Pitts also wondered if this a violation of privacy.

“It’s a big inconvenience but I don’t think it’s much of a legal issue,” said University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law Professor John Sims.

Sims says it would be another story if the phone number was put on the billboard maliciously.

“When we start talking about harassing private individuals, you probably do have some issues that you’d have to worry about,” said Sims.

Frustrated, Pitts is considering fixing it himself.

“I would just go paint it myself, don’t play!  I would get it handled,” he says.

Before it came to that, CBS13 stopped by Omega Mattress Outlet reiterating Pitts’ request.

“Just paint it out.  That’s all you have to do, paint it out,” said Pitts.

And that’s what the owner did while we were there.  The owner even thanked us for helping consumers like Pitts.

“Thank you very much though. You guys are doing a great job. I like that,” he said.

The sign has now been covered up for a couple months and Pitts says the calls have definitely slowed down.

“It will make a big difference because I feel like I’m not wasting minutes,” Pitts said.

He could have asked to change his number but he didn’t want to, since he was already using it for his business.  We’ve said before, there’s no rule that says how long a phone company must wait before recycling a phone number.  We learned some do it in as little as 30 days.

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