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Better Business Bureau ®
Start With Trust®
Western Virginia
BBB Advisory: That Fax Is Not From The Yellow Page Group
May 22, 2014

Roanoke, VA - BBB is issuing an advisory on faxes that resemble Yellow Page invoices currently being sent to Western Virginia businesses. The advertisements are easily mistaken for renewal forms from the actual Yellow Page Group as it features a similar name and logo. Consumers and businesses are warned that sending in the form will result in charges over $1,100.

These advertisements sent via fax come from Open Business Directory Ltd. of Boston, MA. As of May 21, 2014, the company has an F rating with 1,597 complaints with the BBB in Eastern Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island and Vermont. The business also goes by Yellow-page-usa.com.

Based on BBB files this business has a pattern of complaints concerning sales issues and billing and collection issues. Businesses tell BBB that they were sent an overdue bill from this company demanding payment, but state they never signed up for any service with the company. When they call to inquire about the bill they are told they agreed to the service when they actually only confirmed their address when Open Business Directory Ltd. originally contacted them. Complainants state that at some point the business called or faxed over a sheet with their business information asking if their address was correct and when they verify the information the company signs them up for service.

The fax features a disclaimer in small print at the bottom of the page that states: “This is a new nationwide yellow page listing and you hereby order the above given business listing at the directory www.yellow-page-usa.com for a term of two years, at a price of US$ 1,188.00 per year.”

“It is essential to carefully look over any correspondence that resembles an invoice, solicitation, or renewal form to determine intent, “ says Julie Wheeler, President and CEO of BBB Serving Western VA. “The Yellow Pages walking fingers logo and Yellow Pages name are not protected by federal trademark registration or copyright.”

Here are some red flags to watch for:

  • A caller claims to be a business partner or advertising affiliate, yet asks to confirm the name and address of the company that he or she is calling.
  • A caller claims to be a business partner or advertising affiliate and wishes to confirm, re-enroll, or renew a contract or business deal over the phone. No confirmation or any business deal should be conducted over the phone. Any business in the official capacity should be conducted in writing.
  • If a solicitation occurs over the phone, the employee should not encourage, agree, or disagree to any product or service unless they have explicit permission to do so. All marketing or advertising materials should be sent in writing to the appropriate department.
  • If a solicitation occurs over the internet or via email and the company is not one you recognize, make sure not to click on any of the links, confirmation buttons, or renewal buttons. By doing so you may be agreeing to receive or subscribe to an undesired service or listing.
  • When trying to identify the solicitor, make sure to verify that the address that they are claiming to be from is brick and mortar as a "suite" can easily be a PO Box or a mail forwarding company. The company's representatives may be concealing their true location and might not be found at the advertised address.
  • If your company is a victim to a yellow pages scam or winds up receiving an invoice for a service or product that was not authorized, send a certified letter to the business stating the advertisement was never authorized, the recording is not legitimate, and to cease and desist contact and billing immediately.  Additionally, file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau at bbb.org and the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov.
  • Start with Trust! Contact the BBB first by going to www.bbb.org or by calling (800) 533-5501

The BBB is a nonprofit, business-supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. The BBB provides objective advice, free BBB Business Reviews on more than 4 million companies, 11,000 charity reviews, dispute resolution service, alerts and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. Please visit www.bbb.org for more information.

If you need more information, contact the BBB at (540) 342-3455 or (800) 533-5501. You can also visit www.bbb.org.  
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