Bogus Towson Ad Agency Cons Businesses in Several States

  
     
July 16, 2014

Better Business Bureau serving Greater Maryland warns business owners of an advertising scheme supposedly originating from ad agency in Towson, Md​.

Sports Media​, also referred to as Signature Sports, has unanswered complaints and an “F” rating with BBB. Several​ ​businesses allege that Sports Media called and sold them an ad on a local high school poster. But after ​a spontaneous purchase, ​they contacted Sports Media to cancel or request proof of ​ad ​placement. However, ​according to complaints, their calls were not returned.

One ​Anne Arundel County, Md.​ business owner paid over $500 ​and​ expect​ed​ her company’s ad to appear in North County High School’s poster. “[They] could never provide proof that we were on the poster…Once we realized something was not right, we noticed their envelopes were postmarked from Las Vegas,” said the ​Glen Burnie business owner. ​​

Other companies allege Sports Media​ ​mailed "​past due​"​ invoices ​even when no ads were purchased. ​

BBB investigators explored​ customer provided information about Sports Media, but were unable to verify its existence. While the company ​claimed​ a USPS certified address on Dulaney Valley Road in Towson, the business ​is not located​ at the ​specified location. BBB was unable to verify the company's registration with the ​Maryland Department of Assessment​s​ and Taxation.

Customers report employees have used the names of Dawn Carpenter, Shane Austin and Mike.

​Multiple requests ​by BBB ​for ​business background information and complaint​ resolution went unanswered.

BBB advises business owners:

  • Research every business at bbb.org before you agree to a purchase, pay any money or sign a contract to learn if the company is BBB Accredited and if they have a track record of delivering on customer promises.​
  • ​Run a business entity search with the Md. Department of Assessments and Taxation. ​This can provide filing information on new and existing Md. businesses. 
  • Always check with the school or organization when working with third party sellers to be sure the company is an authorized representative.​
  • Never give personal information over the phone to telemarketers. This includes social security or account numbers for background checks.​ Once you have vetted the company, call back on a publicly published phone number.