THE Department for the Economy has apologised to a Co Down businesswoman after she received around 4,500 calls in four days because her business number was accidentally emailed to Spend Local participants.
Helen McMahon, from Bangor, said she has rung nearly 300 people back after the number for her business, Goody Training Solutions, was emailed instead of the Spend Local helpline.
The email was sent on Thursday evening to remind people with money left on their prepaid cards that they had until midnight on Sunday to use their remaining balances.
A spokeswoman for the Department for the Economy said officials will contact Ms McMahon directly.
"The Department would again like to apologise to Ms McMahon and officials will be in contact with her formally," she said.
"Department officials had spoken to her on Friday and again today to apologise after her business telephone number was mistakenly used in correspondence about the Spend Local card."
Ms McMahon told the Belfast Telegraph her first aid training firm had received thousands of calls.
“Since Thursday evening at about 5pm, I’ve had over 4,500 phone calls. I have tried to phone people back but there’s some messages I still haven’t even gotten round to listening to yet," she said.
“Most people have been lovely apart from one woman yesterday morning who was incredibly nasty and I ended up in tears.”
After trying to contact customer services several times, a worker from Spend Local eventually contacted Ms McMahon at around 5.45pm on Friday.
"They did apologise and she admitted it was her fault," she said.
"She was lovely and I think they’re getting it a lot harder than what I got."
Ms McMahon said she spent the whole of Friday listening and replying to voicemail messages.
She has rung around 300 people to inform them of the error.
"I’ve muted it (her phone), but it still goes to voicemail because obviously I can't afford to not get work messages," she said.
"It means I have to listen to every voice message. All the elderly people I’ve been phoning back, because it’s important that they get their £100.
“Yesterday morning at 8.30am I was on the phone for nearly 10 minutes with an older woman who was distraught.
"I suggested she go and buy a voucher with her £100 because it will last longer.
"It’s people like that that I have actually helped. It’s been a nuisance, but some people have been so appreciative and grateful that I have taken the time to phone them back and give them the right number.
"I actually had to explain to some of them how the card works."