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Telephone listings omitted from book

May 29, 2004|By GREGORY T. SIMMONS

When Janet Boyers receives her blue and yellow Ogden Directories phone book, she won't find her name in it.

Like more than 2,000 others in Halfway and other neighborhoods near Hagerstown, Boyers' number was omitted by a printing glitch.

Boyers, 52, reached Thursday at her until-recently listed phone number, said "I usually don't pay any attention to that book" - she said she considers Verizon's black and yellow phone book as "the real phone book" - but nevertheless, she can't help but feel a little slighted.

"I don't know how they can print a Hagerstown directory and leave out an exchange," Boyers said. "You know this exchange has been around for probably 35, 40 years."

About 2,200 residential listings with the 582 exchange in the Halfway area were omitted in the phone book's printing process, said Julie Starkey, the sales manager who oversees the Washington County "EZ to Use Phone Book," which is published by Ogden.

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Ogden distributes about 90,000 books in the county annually, and the books began hitting the streets in Washington County last week, Starkey said Thursday. She said she heard about the problem earlier this week.

Starkey said her company also had a similar problem this year with the phone book it distributes in Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties in West Virginia.

In that book, the 260 exchange in Martinsburg, W.Va., was omitted.

In both cases, Starkey said her company ordered the current phone numbers in those exchanges from Verizon, but Verizon did not provide the numbers.

A Verizon spokesman reached Friday said he did not have an immediate comment.

Starkey said her company previously has not compared the total number of phone numbers in an exchange from year to year, but Ogden will begin doing that to try to avoid future mistakes.

Starkey said the problem hasn't caused an uproar with either advertisers or residents, but Ogden will print and deliver a supplemental directory to the addresses that were omitted, and the company will have extras for anyone else who needs them.

"Generally, a supplement is acceptable, and certainly we'll do everything we can so it does not happen again," Starkey said. "Most people are pretty understanding."

Putting herself in someone else's shoes, Boyers said a phone book without the right numbers could be an inconvenience.

"Most people know my number," Boyers said, but "if I was trying to find somebody's phone number in the Halfway area, it would bother me that it's not in the correct phone book."

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