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When considering advertising your business, be wary of companies or publications you are unfamiliar with or have not seen before, BBB says.

If a business decides the offer is truly a good buy and a unique opportunity to reach potential customers, get a written contract with precise details: distribution locations or circulations details, date, frequency, and final copy appearance approval.

Get sample copies of other clients' advertising. Obtain a written guarantee of the company's policy regarding cancellation or advertising misprint. Confirm the brick and mortar addresses and contact information both of the solicitor's company as well as that of the publisher's address.

Special mention should be made of phone book cover advertising. Ask how the covers will be distributed: whether by mail, door-to-door, or advertisers' business locations. Oftentimes the advertiser is the person responsible for distribution. Don't do business until you check out all references, confirm distribution locations, and talk to publishers. If a company claims to be affiliated with another company, be sure to verify any and all affiliations. An offer good today can wait until tomorrow.

Consider the following:

*Verify the type of organization selling the ad. Even though it might have a name that sounds charitable, when in fact the publication could be for a for-profit company.
*Do not hesitate to ask of additional information about the publication. How many copies will be printed? When will it be published? Will the publication be available to the kinds of people your business wants to reach?
*If applicable, find out what portion of the amount you pay for advertising will benefit the charity.
*If you decided to purchase an advertisement, ask for a copy of the draft and final published version of the ad.
*If you received an invoice for advertising space without having placed an order, you are under no obligation to pay or respond to the invoice.
Also, ask questions about printed and electronic publication. There are a number of directories that publish electronic versions and no printed versions are distributed.


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