It is known that 212 is the most exclusive area code in New York State, but it is hard to believe that worth $1 million! Carmen, a retiree from Fort Lee, New Jersey, optimistically was waiting for a bid of $1 million for his coveted 212 Manhattan phone number.
A retired New Jersey businessman, who has refused to reveal his full name has been trying to sell his status symbol (212)-5XX-9000 number for years now on eBay, and has already received 26 offers. But Carmen said he received no serious offers. He has thought that he can get seven figures for the easy-to-remember number. And he said the money raised will help care for his 98-year-old mother who suffers from dementia.
In the meantime, his offer was withdrawn from auction site eBay on the grounds that he doesn’t sell just the phone, but the whole business! In fact, Jamie Dufour was interested for buying Carmen`s status symbol number, but when he mentioned the illegality of selling the telephone number, he got the following message back from the eBay seller:
“I’m not selling the phone number. I am selling a business and the rights to the accompanying phone number.”
This million worth number was actually accidentally given to the New Jersey retiree when he requested a double or triple zero number 35 years ago from Verizon’s customer service. To his surprise, the phone company granted his wish.
I was tickled pink when I got that number, he said. I was a one-man-show at that time. I advertised considerably back in those days. The name and number association was one and the same.
Six months later, Verizon came calling back and said they gave out that number by mistake, Carmen said. They typically reserve numbers like these for big companies, and they wanted it back. I said, ‘No way,’ he recalled.
Verizon said it’s unclear is it legal or not, but points out that New York State Public Service Commission rules say subscribers have no proprietary right in any number that is assigned by the Telephone Company. That said, switching a phone number over is technically possible, said Bill Kula, Verizon’s director of media relations.
Individuals come because they don’t want to get stuck with a 347 or 646 from the phone company, which makes them look like they are new to the city, Carmen said. Then you have corporations or businesses that come to us because they have a reputation and they want to stand out. They don’t want to look like they just set up shop.
A 212 number goes for anywhere from $50 to $500 on eBay, but Carmen was expecting that a company will pay much more for his easy-to-remember digits for its business branding.