Mar 14, 2013 2:56 PM by MELISSA CANONE
The BBB of Acadiana has received numerous calls from local businesses and even residents, who said a copycat Yellow Pages company recently charged them 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. More than 450 complaints have been filed against the company, most of those in the past 12 months. The company has failed to respond to 304 complaints.
Open Business Directory is another in a long line of operations that use the Yellow Pages name and the "walking fingers" logo (fingers are walking in the opposite direction) to trick people into signing up for advertising services or trying to scam businesses and consumers into paying for ads they did not order. The contract term is for a period of two years, at a price of $99 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.
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 told that the paperwork was simply a way for them to update their current company information.
The BBB offers the following tips to businesses dealing with 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, the BBB and/or the Yellow Pages Association at 1-800-841-0639.
The BBB of Acadiana works for a trustworthy marketplace by maintaining standards for truthful advertising, investigating and exposing fraud against consumers and businesses. Please contact the BBB at www.acadiana.bbb.org or (337) 981-3497 24 hours a day for information on businesses throughout North America.
The BBB of Acadiana services the parishes of Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Martin, St. Landry and Vermilion.
Acadiana residents can now have BBB information in the palm of their hand with the official BBB Search app, a convenient, mobile BBB solution available for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. The app can be found at: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bbb-search-find-local-businesses/id440014505?mt=8.