Businesses can be targets of schemes, and in one of the most durable schemes, businesses are billed for unauthorized charges in independent directories that use the term “yellow pages”.
Now physician and dentist offices nationwide are complaining to Better Business Bureau about bills from American Yellow Corporation in Dallas for services that those businesses never requested. The mailings appear to be invoices for $495.95 past-due for a one-year listing in a directory similar to other popular yellow pages directories, and some mailings are stamped with the words “debt collections.”
Complaints claim the charges are a fraudulent attempt to receive payment for services which were never ordered.
Businesses first get calls from American Yellow Corporation about yellow pages listings where the caller asks a series of “yes” and “no” questions. One complaint from Arizona says, “I was transferred to a young English speaking woman who asked me questions like, ‘Is this the name of your office? Is this your address? etc.’ When she asked me if I approved the charges I stated ‘No’. Today we received in the mail a statement for $495.95. We do not have services with this company and we will not be paying…”
In answer to another complaint about a $495.95 bill that went to collections, American Yellow Corp. responded, “Maybe it had been confusion during the conversation between our representative and their employee. With the purpose of working out we will not be requiring for this payment …”
The mailings display the popular “walking fingers” symbol. However, the “walking fingers” symbol and the “yellow pages” name have no copyright or trademark protection. It’s easy for anyone to use the walking fingers symbol or yellow pages name and cause confusion with businesses who receive look-like invoices.
Earlier this year, Dallas BBB attempted to contact the business about the complaints, using the private mail box (PMB) address listed on the mailings, 18208 Preston Rd., Suite 9, PMB 348, Dallas. American Yellow Corporation has not responded to BBB’s inquiry.
In the year since the BBB file on American Yellow Corp. was opened, BBB has closed 26 complaints and responded to over 600 inquiries asking about the business’s record. Due to a record of unanswered, unresolved, and serious complaints, American Yellow Corp. has a BBB rating of “F”.
The BBB Business Review on American Yellow Corp., including complaint details, is online at bbb.org.
BBB Dallas notes that that American Yellow Corp. mailings use the word “cheques” instead of “checks.” This could indicate that the scam might originate from outside the US since that spelling is primarily used in other countries.
So how can businesses protect themselves from unauthorized bills for look-like directories? Warn your personnel about calls concerning yellow pages or business directories. Alert your accounting department or bill-payers to be on the lookout for disguised solicitations and carefully check suspicious bills from companies with which they don’t normally do business.
To check the reliability of a business sending an invoice, and for more tips for businesses, start at bbb.org.