Feb 28, 2014 4:06 PM by MELISSA CANONE
Better Business Bureau of Acadiana has recently received numerous calls from local businesses who reported receiving deceptive faxes from a copycat Yellow Pages company that resulted in charges for online ads they did not want and did not intend to buy.
The BBB suggests businesses and consumers use caution when responding to faxes or phone calls from "Open Business Directory Ltd" or other companies trying to collect on invoices. Open Business Directory also uses the names "Yellow Page USA" and "Yellow-Page-USA.com."
The report can be found at: http://www.bbb.org/boston/business-reviews/advertising-directory-and-guide/open-business-directory-ltd-in-boston-ma-123204
Open Business Directory has an "F" rating with the BBB, the lowest grade possible. Reasons for the rating include 1544 complaints filed against business, failure to respond to 440 complaints filed against business and 13 complaints filed against business that were not resolved. There were also 917 serious complaints filed against business and the business has failed to resolve underlying causes of a pattern of complaints.
According to BBB reports, the company received numerous complaints regarding advertising and sales practice issues.
Most of the complainants say they believed they were renewing advertising for a Yellow Pages directory where they had a prior relationship, not signing up for online listings with a completely different company. Many small business operators said they were misled to believe the paperwork was simply a way for them to update their current company information.
Consumers reported receiving the advertisement contracts via fax which they are to sign and send back to the company. Yellow-Page-USA.com uses a name and logo so close to the actual Yellow Page Group consumers believe they are dealing with their current advertiser. They are then enrolled into an agreement and told they have to pay a fee to cancel.
The contract terms are generally for a period of two years, at a price of about $100 per month, payable one year in advance.
Faxes sent by the company may be illegal, as federal law generally bans the sending of most unsolicited facsimile advertisements.
The BBB offers the following tips to businesses dealing with copycat Yellow Pages solicitations:
Start with Trust contact the BBB at bbb.org.
Look closely at any Yellow Pages-related solicitation. If you have a question about its legitimacy, contact the Yellow Pages representative you have dealt with for previous advertising.
Be especially careful when asked to give supplemental personal or business information over the telephone or via mailed, emailed or faxed forms. Supplying such information could be seen as agreeing to an advertising or online listing contract.
If you suspect you have received a call, fax or mailing from a bogus or copycat Yellow pages company, contact your state attorney general, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Federal Trade Commission and the BBB at bbb.org.
BBB works for a trustworthy marketplace by maintaining standards for truthful advertising, investigating and exposing fraud against consumers and businesses.
BBB of Acadiana services the parishes of Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Martin, St. Landry and Vermilion.