The Better Business Bureau is warning area businesses of a phony yellow pages scam.
Better Business Bureau serving Central Louisiana and the Ark-La-Tex is alerting local businesses to Your Yellow Book, which has recently garnered attention from the Federal Trade Commission.
Businesses have reported receiving deceptive faxes from this copycat Yellow Pages company that resulted in charges for online ads they did not want and did not intend to buy.
BBB, which sets standards for ethical business behavior and monitors compliance, recommends local businesses use caution when responding to faxes or phone calls from this and similar companies.
Often, fake yellow pages operations will fax a document asking a legitimate business to “update information,” but responding to the unsolicited request for information results in a “contract” and the scammers collecting on invoices.
Your Yellow Book currently has an F rating with BBB, the lowest possible. Factors that lowered the rating include 30 complaints filed against business, failure to respond to 25 complaints filed against business and BBB does not have sufficient background information on this business. There were also government actions against the business.
At the request of the Federal Trade Commission, a federal court has halted their operations, pending litigation, because the company allegedly bilked hundreds of thousands of dollars from small businesses, doctors’ offices, retirement homes, and religious schools throughout the country by charging them for unwanted listings in an online “yellow pages” directory.
According to the FTC, the business faxed documents that resembled invoices with the well-known “walking fingers” image to consumers with whom they had no preexisting relationship, asking them to “verify” or “update” their current listing information in their actual listing in their Internet business directory.
The documents requested payment of up to $487 from consumers. Many consumers paid, believing YYB’s claims that their organization had agreed to be listed in the directory. Some consumers were told they would have to pay a fee to cancel.
The defendants are charged with misrepresenting that consumers had a preexisting business relationship with them and that consumers agreed to buy a directory listing and thus owed the defendants money, in violation federal regulations.
BBB offers the following tips to businesses dealing with copycat Yellow Pages solicitations:
- Start with Trust®. Check with us at bbb.org before doing business.
- Look closely at any Yellow Pages-related solicitation or request to update information. 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, FTC and BBB.
Start with Trust®. Check with bbb.org before doing business. BBB works for a trustworthy marketplace by maintaining standards for truthful advertising, investigating and exposing fraud against consumers and businesses.