Should we delete Joe Kryszak’s cell phone number from this site?

Joe Kryszak wants us to do something that could put us out of commission.

If we say “yes” to him, we may have to take down a whole section of our website – and it would almost certainly impair our ability to serve you.

Kryszak is listed as a contact for computer manufacturer Lenovo. He has asked us to remove his cell phone number:

This is my personal number that I pay out of my own pocket and should not be published without my written authorization. I receive [calls] at all hours of the day and night. As a customer-centric company, you [are] not only providing wrong information to your customers but you are infringing on my rights by posting incorrect information.

As consumer advocates, one of our goals is to assist members of the public to self-advocate, and we offer the tools to do so in the company contacts section of our website.

Our contacts section contains the names of company executives and their telephone numbers, postal and email addresses, websites and social media contact information. We publish this information so that readers can directly reach persons at companies who can assist them with customer service issues.

We’ve noted in other articles that corporate executives are often not anxious to return contacts or even be reached when a customer has a problem that requires escalation to employees at higher levels of business hierarchies. They protect themselves by hiding their contact information from the public.

For example, company websites often do not contain telephone numbers that allow callers to contact upper-level executives. While there may be toll-free, or even local, phone numbers posted on the sites, these numbers generally connect callers to “main lines” with menu trees and similar features that filter calls.

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Although these features ostensibly direct calls to specific persons who can authorize direct action on behalf of customers, customers often get transferred back and forth between persons and departments without being able to speak to the people who can actually assist them. While these results may not be deliberately intended by the companies that install these features, this is a customer-unfriendly practice that often ends in callers giving up.

That’s why our research team (disclosure: I’m a member) is dedicated to identifying the persons who are authorized to provide customer service assistance and providing their contact information.

There are two problems with Kryszak’s request. One is that he made his request through our help request form, in which he states that the value of his claim is $10,000. Another is whether we actually invaded his privacy by posting his personal cell phone number.

Does Kryszak or any other corporate executive have the right not to have his or her contact information posted on our website?

We certainly don’t dispute that the information we disseminate on our website needs to be correct and up-to-date, and we have a form that notifies us when any data in the contacts section needs to be updated or when anyone is requesting contact information for a company that we do not already have.

And in fairness to Kryszak, we can understand his frustration at receiving so many business calls on his personal cell phone number. But are we infringing on Kryszak’s rights by publishing his personal cell phone number on our site when Lenovo posts the number on its own site?

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Various states have laws regarding online privacy, which vary regarding what information is protected and penalties assessed for breach of the laws. These laws offer protection that covers a range of private information. But no state or locality that we are aware of prohibits the posting of personal contact information for adults that has already been posted on a public data gathering site.

The information in our company contacts section comes from publicly accessible websites, such as, company websites, and social media sites. Our researchers do not publish contact information garnered from private sources. For one of our researchers to have located Kryszak’s private cell phone number, it must have been previously published on a public website – and presumably provided to that site by Kryszak himself.

In the age of the Internet, it’s generally understood that posting anything on a public website means that it’s no longer private information, subject to the control of the owner of that information. If Kryszak posted his cell phone number on a public website that our researchers found, then he doesn’t have the right to control where anyone else posts that number. The most he can do is request that we take it down.

But if we remove his cell phone number, other executives may follow suit and expect us to delete their contact information as well. We’ve received other such requests before – but while we are happy to correct information that is inaccurate or out-of-date, we prefer not to remove information altogether.

And if we start removing contact information from our site, it means that our readers will have difficulty self-advocating when they have customer service problems, which means that customers may be forced to accept bad service because they are not able to effectively complain and resolve their issues. It also means that our advocates may find their own caseloads rising dramatically.

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Sorry, Joe, but we’re not going to remove your personal cell phone number from our website. And we don’t owe you $10,000 for sharing information about you that you made publicly available in the first place. If you really want to avoid receiving customer service-related calls on your personal cell phone, consider making sure that Lenovo provides the best possible service to its customers, so that they have no reason to call you in the first place.

Jennifer Finger

Jennifer is the founder of KeenReader, an Internet-based freelance editing operation, as well as a certified public accountant. She is a senior writer for Read more of Jennifer's articles here.

  • JewelEyed

    I can’t imagine why he wouldn’t just change his number if it were such an issue. If he’s got time to try to sue for $10,000, wouldn’t a change of number be much easier…?

  • Mel65

    I am not sure I agree. I have Lenovos and when they crap out on me, as they do, there are times I’d probably have wanted his personal number and used it! But, I was the victim of cyber stalking years ago and had my personal information posted on the internet. It is no fun getting calls in the middle of the night, often abusive or obscene. Consumer advocacy shouldn’t advocate that just because you own or work for a business that you have no right to any privacy and I think publishing a personal home or cell phone number does that. Corporate numbers, offices, and emails are fair game, but not the elements of their lives as a private citizen. Just my two cents. Having said that, it is pretty easy to change a cell phone number–I did it several times.

  • KJ

    I’m very surprised he doesn’t have a business cell phone that is separate from his personal cell. In his position, I’d NEVER publish my personal cell number…personal address…etc. Just doesn’t make sense!

  • TiaMa

    I’m going to have to disagree on this one. If it’s a personal phone number, then I don’t think it should be provided. I know I would not like getting business calls on personal time and at my expense. While this site is good for advocacy and providing contact information, I think you have to draw the line at personal information. It shouldn’t put Joe in the inconvenient position of changing his personal phone number. There’s a difference between personal and business.

  • Jim Zakany

    It is clearly marked as being a cell phone on your site and it is his cell phone. So you have the facts right.

    All of us have personal cell phones and all of us field work-related calls on them at all hours. I guarantee that is Joe needed something from me, he wouldn’t hesitate calling me on my cell.

    The better way to resolve this is for him to provide a direct business line, like you have for Mike Abary.

  • Doctor Now

    True, but if you don’t want your cell phone out there, you might not want your company to publish it on their webiste:


    A business acquaintance obtained my personal cell number from a mutual friend and published it on a database that he maintains on the internet. He also published my landline number which was listed only under my spouse’s rather unusual last name. (Mine is different.) I did not give permission for this private information to be published. My business cell is separate and easily obtainable. I do not mix the two. It is rather naive to presume that he provided his private cell number to a published data base. My experience shows it is pretty easy to do without the permission of the owner. If it is his private number it should not be published.

  • Pat

    If it a personal phone number, especially a personal cell phone number, it should be removed immediately with an apology for publishing it. We are entering a time where you have people with no sense of personal privacy or boundaries. When a person is at home with their family, they should not have to deal with business calls on their personal cell phone. And they should not need to change a phone number that friends and medical providers have and use to contact a person. Also that I find the last paragraph of the story offensive and the kind of comment this site fights against when you advocate.

  • Mel LeCompte Jr.

    Just change your number? And then notify every one of your personal contacts, report the change to everyone you do business with (incl. personal business, such as family doctors, banks, etc), AND THEN reprint all manner of business cards, etc.

    Yeah, much easier.

  • Mel LeCompte Jr.

    If it’s truly a personal (only) number, then what this site is doing is nothing short of bullying and harassment.

  • BubbaJoe123

    Take the number down. Keeping up a number you know to be someone’s personal cellphone number is tantamount to harassment. If you disagree, I encourage you to post your personal cellphone number here, so that anyone with a comment on an story or the site layout can call you at anytime to make that comment in person.

  • Bill

    Are all the advocates willing to publish there personal numbers on the sight. Just in case I need to call one of them at 2:00am for advice on a problem I may have? If so then please keep his up and provide a link to those personal advocate numbers. If not… take his down. Pretty simple

  • Charles Martel

    I was major sympathetic with the dude and thought it was very wrong to publicize his personal cellphone number.

    UNTIL, it became clear that it is a +business+ cellphone through the link in the article. This number is published by Lenovo on its corporate website as a means of contacting Joe regarding Lenovo business.

    He and this phone number are publicly listed as contacts under “Find a Rep” in “Lenovo Channel Sales Coverage” (Note the +retail+ under “findarep”)

    My conclusion: Totally legit to republish a number that Lenovo publishes.

  • If it’s truly a personal number, then it shouldn’t be listed by the company as what appears to be an official company contact list.

    He says he pays for it, but my guess is if he does do that, he writes it off as a business expense since it obviously is being listed as a business number. Lenovo may even reimburse him or whatever. I can’t imagine the company not providing some cell phone service to their sales managers.

  • EvilEmpryss

    I don’t even own a business but this is exactly why I have a cell number from a state I haven’t lived in for three years. Since nearly nobody gets charged for out-of-state calls anymore, I have no pressing need to make the change, and it saves me a ton of extra legwork. I can’t imagine someone with serious business connections having to make the change.

  • EvilEmpryss

    I think the point was that he already made his private number public, so he has no expectation of it not being shared around.

  • (202) 370-7934

  • Charles Martel

    I was totally with you but he obviously uses it as a business number:

    He and this phone number are publicly listed as contacts under “Find a Rep” in “Lenovo Channel Sales Coverage” (Note the +retail+ under “findarep”)

    My conclusion: Totally legit to republish a number that Lenovo publishes for business use.

  • If a number is published on the company website, then it’s pretty much public information. If the number weren’t published, I would think that would be much different.

  • Kathi C

    If he put it on the Company website then it is public info. Don’t remove it!

  • Jeff W.

    What this tells me is more people are contacting him from data gathered from this site rather than the Lenovo site.

    His problem is that it is available on the Lenovo site. I am quite surprised that Lenovo does not provide a corporate number. It could be a VoiP number that then forwards the number to his cell/home/office, wherever he chooses. My company provides this with Skype/Lync and I set the forwarding rules. And we are way smaller than Lenovo.

  • KennyG

    I was all about taking the personal cell phone number down, as I believed it was an invasion of privacy. However, after seeing that Lenovo itself publishes that number as a means of contacting him, it no longer is a personal number to my way of thinking. I would also say that if the company contacts list [other than this gentlemens contact info] does contain personal cell phone or home phone numbers that are in fact not published generally, then they should be taken down. Again, in this case, there is no reasonable argument for taking it down.

  • BubbaJoe123

    Chris, you’ve said you use google voice, so that provides additional screening. Also, if this were the CEO’s number, that might be different. I notice that Jen hasn’t provided her number yet. For consistency, all staff should provide their personal cellphone numbers, so that all customers (ie users of the website) can contact them at any time.

  • Mike

    With the “BYOD” (Bring Your Own Device) model of mobile phone management becoming more and more prevalent, the fact of the matter is he my actually be using a “personal cell #” and receiving a monthly stipend to meet his expenses for it. More and more companies are going this route – in theory it saves them money, it makes it so people don’t have to carry 2 devices, etc. So in reality, it *could* be a “personal” cell phone, but he’s using it for his business. If he doesn’t want to receive business calls at all hours of the night on his personal phone, then he should either convince Lenovo go cough up a company phone, or buy a 2nd phone that’s dedicated for business use. As soon as my company phone goes away, I’ll be at one of the mobile companies buying a 2nd phone. There’s no way in heck I want people calling my personal cell # for work issues.

  • Nathan Witt

    I see where you’re coming from, but in this case, it’s on Lenovo’s website. That’s his employer, so I’m sure he must have given them his private number at some point. That said, publishing people’s personal cell or home numbers feels like it’s designed to punish the executive, rather than enable the consumer. It’s also not the kind of behavior we’d accept from a company (publishing consumers’ private contact information), so I’d have to side against Chris this time.

  • Rebecca

    I thought the same thing. I had a business cell at my last job. And I kept my personal cell, only giving out that number to friends and family. I wouldn’t answer my business cell in the middle of the night, for example.

  • MarkKelling

    Well, most business people of his level don’t put their personal cell number on their business cards, they have a company provided cell number for that.

  • MarkKelling

    Would you want YOUR personal cell phone number poster in a public forum for everyone to call you? I think not.

    IF he or his employer published his personal cell in a publicly accessible location, then I agree it is fair game to post it here. Otherwise, not so much.

  • mdy2k1

    Cool, I’ll send you a text and we’ll get some nachos.

  • AJPeabody

    Let’s do a benefit of the doubt analysis. Assume it really is a personal cell phone number that Mr. K does not expect business calls on, and that having it posted by Lenovo was as improper as having it posted here. Then the things that have to be done are: 1: Mr. K gets Lenovo to post a business number for him and remove the personal cell number. 2: We change the posted number to the business number. Happy, happy, happy.

    Less benefit of the doubt: Mr. K has a cell phone that he uses for business irrespective of who pays the bills, and Lenovo is correct in publishing it. Mr. K wants $10,000, an apology, and removal of his number from the Elliott database, actions contrary to the procedures of this site. Sounds very much like the failed complainers we hear about far to frequently. No action takes place.

    Which one is more likely to happen? I want the first but expect the second.

  • If it is on Lenovo’s site, it’s fair game.

  • John Baker

    My views … This or any other website shouldn’t publish purely personal information without the owners consent. However, it doesn’t appear that this is the case and the phone number involved is used for both personal and business matters.

  • sirwired

    Even executives deserve a personal life separate from their jobs. Just because an intrepid researcher discovered the personal cell number of some corporate employee doesn’t mean it’s right to list that as an actual contact number for work-related calls. After all, I don’t see the advocates here publishing their cell phone numbers so they can receive personal calls for help. Just because some employee has listed his personal cell number SOMEWHERE, for almost certainly an entirely unrelated reason (could be a church group, or the local glee club, or whatever), I don’t see how it follows that it instantly means it’s fair game for work use.

    That said, yeah, it ain’t worth $10k, even if it is an unholy amount of aggrevation to change your cell number.

  • sirwired

    He could have published it for entirely personal reasons… and somebody just happened to connect the dots and figure out that Joe, usher coordinator at Anytown community theater, happened to also be Joe, Lenovo exec. That doesn’t mean that it’s right to publish it.

  • LonnieC

    Big mistake….

  • LonnieC

    So in the LW’s opinion it’s okay to have his personal phone number published on Lenovo’s site, but not on Chriss’? Under what rationale?

  • Pat

    I just did a google search and this is a PDF list of sales reps for retailers. If someone is having problems with a PC, this is not a person you would want to call. His job appears to be someone that helps stores with sales. You are going to waste your time calling and some people will probably lay into him because he cannot help. I have used emails to executives and it has been very effective. But if you publish a phone number, you must make sure the persons function puts them in a position to help and it is their business number.

  • DChamp56

    Oh, I don’t know… I’d remove his number here, but post a link to the pdf file where his number IS.
    If he removes it from there, then you post his number.
    Either way, it’s his bad for posting his personal phone # on the Lenovo site.

  • disqus_00YDCZxqDV

    He’s a salesman! His life is all about keeping in touch! Changing phone number is the last thing he would ever do. While I feel somewhat bad if he is getting people complaining about faulty computers all the time, if their support were doing their job, that would never happen, and as an executive you would think he would be in a position to make support do their job.

  • Travelnut

    My company is moving towards mandatory BYOD (my current work phone is grandfathered and I’m holding on to that bad boy until it falls apart). If someone calls one of my coworkers who uses their personal phone as their work phone, it all rings the same phone and there is no way to determine if it is business or personal. That said, I agree that if it is published on the Lenovo website then republishing it here is totally legit.

  • Johng

    Hi Sirwired – The issue is that Lenovo have published along side his job title and email address.

  • Johng

    Chris already has see above!

  • sheldan

    I can understand your position, but I think that personal phones should not be published, while business phones should.

    It may be more difficult to reach someone, but it certainly doesn’t make your contact more willing to talk to you when it’s on a personal phone–business calls should be on business phones, and I think Joe has a good point.

  • Grandma

    The fisrt advice to anybody who asks for help here given: “GET OFF THE PHONE”. It is a sensible advice: you need paper trail, it is easier to get through your problem, if all the details are written.
    Who and why would use these numbers?
    Even the most helpful executive can not really help a screaming, cursing, incoherent caller at 5 AM.
    Just check the forums. Imagine listening all those lenghty hard to follow complains getting through a phone call. Even when they are polite.
    There are many posts from people on the forum, who were successful solving their problems. I do not remember any of them who succeded by calling executives.
    My questions to the advocates: when you advocate an issue, you use phones? (I am not talking about cases when Criss reaches for his friendly, familiar ‘contacts’.)

  • MarkKelling

    But that was with your permission, correct?

  • Bill

    So maybe the Lenovo executive, who has no bearing on consumer issues whatsoever and, therefore, has no reason to be receiving any of these calls from consumers, should record the callers’ names and numbers and start filing complaints, such as we lowly consumers do when we are bombarded with unwanted calls. Maybe if he files a few cease and desist orders, people will get a clue.

    Otherwise, those advocating for leaving the number and contacting this guy are behaving the same as if we suggested calling the baggage crew head when the plane is delayed and they aren’t able to be rebooked …

  • Kerr

    Some friend!

  • MF

    As a salesman, lying and shading are likely part of his DNA. Me thinks this IS his business cell phone number and he just wants to not hear about the consequences of the way Lenovo has decided to do CSR. Think about it, why would Lenovo publish his personal cell number?

  • pauletteb

    Then it shouldn’t be on the company website.

  • pauletteb

    The number is published on the company’s website . . . not exactly “private.”

  • Pat

    The phone number is in a PDF listing sales people that retailers can contact. It was probably link on a page for retail stores that the Google bot found. This person is sales and not a consumer support or relations person. Just because he works for Levono does not mean he is in a position to help a consumer.

  • Bill___A

    That number has been on the website, it isn’t that private. Nor is the Lenovo executive’s number. This whole thing is a non issue to me. i don’t go around calling people unless I have a valid reason and nor should anyone else. Companies should have a proper and effective customer support tree so that people who need help can get it and don’t have to resort to calling executives’ direct numbers, and I believe that is the point. That said, there are a lot of customer focused businesses out there who don’t have a proper escalation mechanism. I just went through a very troubling escalation with a mobile phone company that had a very obscure problem which most of them couldn’t even get their heads around, let alone deal with it. I finally alerted their ombudsman (woman) who alerted someone in their president’s office who said they would “see about” getting it fixed and within a week, they had actually recognized the problem and had it fixed within a month. This wasn’t great, but it was nice to finally get it fixed, but my point is that a lot of these companies need to up their game in having their support people actually understand a problem to the point where they know to at lease escalate it when they don’t have a clue about it.

  • sirwired

    But it’s not a job title that should lead anybody to think that he would be a person to escalate customer service issues to.

  • AAGK

    Joe’s number is published online by Lenovo. It’s on the 1st page when you google his name. Since his own company lists that number as his contact, he really should redirect his energy into finding out why he needs to pay out of pocket for the bill. He may want to renegotiate his compensation package. Perhaps that’s why he needs that 10k?

  • David L Books

    If his number is on the company site, it is fair game.

  • LonnieC

    You said: “…I don’t go around calling people unless I have a valid reason and nor should anyone else….” And that’s why I said what I did. Chris is exposing himself – even more than before – to those who are not as reasonable as you. Of course, the fact that the number has already been out there…. I wish him luck.


    I know….

  • BMG4ME

    Lenovo pays employees a monthly allowance to cover cell phones and that means a personal phone becomes a business phone. If this is his personal phone that he’s getting an allowance for, he has no complaint since it is actually for Lenovo business. Otherwise you should find his real number and publish that one. Everyone in Lenovo has a business number, many of which can reroute to a cellphone.

  • BMG4ME

    What a sweeping generalization.

  • BMG4ME

    I have been very happy with the Lenovo laptops I have used, they are mostly reliable. When we switched to using Toshibas where I work, there was an outcry and we switched back. Knowing that Lenovo pays an allowance for cellphone bills for sales people makes his request seem odd unless he doesn’t use the allowance for this phone.

  • BMG4ME

    I actually only have one phone for both and rarely receive calls, most of my received communications are by e-mail or SMS.

  • BMG4ME

    You can silence the phone at night except for certain selected numbers. I would never carry two phones, one is enough!

  • David___1

    Why not publish his home phone number too? You are making too many assumptions here. How do you know that he published his personal number? Someone else could have done it. Yes, publish company information, the phone numbers, addresses, email addresses at work. But not personal data. That goes too far. What’s next? His home address? That’s likely available on something like Zillow through the deed registration when he purchased his home. Everyone deserves a separation between their personal and public lives. There is no justification, none, for invading someone’s personal privacy.

  • yellowbird73

    Not the point. And a false equivocation.

    I don’t have to be willing to disclose all of my personal information to you in order to get a FOIA request I filed (about information that’s my right to know) approved.

    This is information that Lenovo put out there on purpose. He has only one argument that would hold water: he’s not someone who has the power to effect any change for consumers who contact him.

    Think of how we would react if a consumer would write in saying they had a problem and they were demanding $10,000 and immediate action that required a website to change its policy for them as though they were a special snowflake?

    Do you think everyone would be so willing to defend that consumer? (And this is a consumer advocacy site!) I don’t think so, since there are a lot of people here who love to ridicule outrageous demands (and, think about it, when you phrase it in consumer terms, it becomes just that).

    Why are so many people advocating for this executive, who isn’t even smart enough to (a) use the correct form to contact this site and (b) screen his calls/silence his phone at night to get some sleep rather than getting woken up at night? (You can’t tell me that Lenovo executives have work emergencies at 2am so that they NEED their phones on all night.)

  • “If you really want to avoid receiving customer service-related calls on
    your personal cell phone, consider making sure that Lenovo provides the
    best possible service to its customers, so that they have no reason to
    call you in the first place.”

    Woohoo! Too right, well said.

    As has been stated, his number was listed on the Lenovo site, so . . . end of debate.

  • Fishplate

    If my phone rings, and a name from my directory doesn’t show up on the screen, then they had better leave a message, because I wont’ be answering.

  • LOL! I like your style Chris!

  • yellowbird73

    This is the best reason I’ve heard for removing the phone number. Not the bullying ($10,000 threat? Really? If a consumer did that, we’d be telling them it was ridiculous!) and not using the incorrect form (again, if a consumer did it, we’d be telling them to go through the correct channels).

    But then the advocates should *also* (as a general policy) remove phone numbers from all individual company contacts *when an email address is ALSO available*, right?

  • yellowbird73

    If it’s on the *company’s* page, the likelihood of a third party having posted the information is very low.

  • joycexyz

    But his number is (or was) already on the Lenovo site! How does he figure this forum is responsible for all the phone calls? BTW, nobody has to answer a call if he/she doesn’t want to. All this character is trying to do is threaten you with a totally frivolous suit. And, yes, if the company were responsive to its customers there’d be no reason to call.

  • joycexyz

    When a customer is frustrated and stonewalled, any human contact is the lifeline.

  • joycexyz

    Right. If he didn’t want it published, he should have asked them to take it down. And if they refuse, that’s a beef with Lenovo, not with Elliott.

  • William Leeper

    Chris’ personal number has been posted on this site for years.

  • sirwired

    So you are saying that every employee in the entire company, no matter what their role, is responsible for customer service at all hours of the day and night, while on vacation, etc., as long as their phone number is revealed somewhere?

    What would you think of this if it were your situation?

  • joycexyz

    Why would they list everyone’s phone number on a public website?

  • sirwired

    So employees can be called if an outside caller can’t find the number. Listing this guy’s phone number might make sense if he had a job title that indicated he had something to do with customer service, but he doesn’t.

  • Éamon deValera

    I think you should remove someone’s personal phone number. It is not as if someone at Lenovo couldn’t find everyone that writes for this place’s personal number. Just looking in LexisNexis I found all sorts of fun stuff like 239, or 77056.

    I don’t think Mr. Elliott would like his personal mobile phone out their either. Work numbers are fine, but putting someone’s personal mobile phone out there is beyond the pale. What if he was waiting for a call about an ill relative, and he received a late night call about some computer.

    Not that I’d do it, but I can see that stuff being posted if continues giving out personal information rather than work information.

    Doxxing is wrong, but you’re just inviting it by putting up people’s personal as opposed to work information. Heck people could even find out about the $14590 roof done a few months ago on 0721315FB000XXXXX, seems odd the old roof only lasted 11 years.

    Information is power, don’t abuse it.

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