The (fake) Official Yellow Pages

Val

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We have 2 different phone books here. One is a "local" Carson area book,a smaller one which is used by most of the local folks. The other one is the big fat Reno and vicinity book. I have an ad in the smaller one, and a listing in bold type in the bigger one, and I get a fair amount of inquiring phone calls from both.

I've been in the process of re-designing the ad for the smaller book, and have been quite happy with the rep who's been in our area for many years.

About a month ago I got a telephone call from a woman who didn't speak very clear English, asking to confirm my information for the "Official Yellow Pages" phone book. Everything was to stay the same. We waded through the language barrier. Another call came later that day to confirm that the information from the first call was correct: business name, address and phone number, that's all. It wascorrect, and they said I would be receiving the invoice for it in a few days. A couple of weeks later I got another call from "The Official Yellow Pages" asking me how I felt about the service I got on the phone from their representatives, and I told her I was pretty frustrated at the language barrier problem, but we got through it and I thought everything was okay now. She said she would note my "concern".

Then when I was paying my monthly invoices I realized I've been paying month-by-month for the Reno yellow pages listing already, to Verizon. I thought the invoice they were talking about would be the one I already get on a monthly basis, and that the original call was merely an update.

THEN, I get in the mail an invoice for $399 from "The Official Yellow Pages", to be paid to Thompson Hill Publishing, with the yellow fingers-walking logo and the whole bit. I called the customer service # and asked why I was getting that invoice when I already got one monthly, and for less than $399 divided by 12 months. I was told the other one, the one I've been paying every month, was a bogus one, and I should stop paying it and pay theirs instead, one lump sum now, and that the $399 was for a 2-year ad, "you get a better deal that way". I said if that was the case, please send me a hard copy of the phone book in the mail so I could see proof that theirs was the "real one". She said they don't send them out. I said I won't pay anything until I receive that book, She hung up on me.

When my local phone book rep came back in I showed him the invoice and he said he had a file full of copies of invoices from that company to other businesses, and THAT one is the bogus one, and I should ignore it!!

So...I get a call this morning from The Official lady again, telling me that she would reduce it to one year and amend the bill to $299 if I would pay it immediately. I mentioned mailing me the book again, and she said IT isn't a book, it's an on-line listing. So I said, in that case, CANCEL IT! She said it's too late to cancel it, the order has already been submitted and it's already online and cannot be cancelled. I said send me the amended invoice, I want to see this. So she faxed me the amended invoice for $299.

I just went online to www.theofficialyellowpages.com, listed on the amended invoice, and I'll be darned if I can find my business on there anywhere. Not under picture framing, or custom picture framing, or art or art gallery. Where else would it be?? And what would I be paying for??

Have I been had?? And am I truly responsible for paying that thing when I "authorized it" (she said) over the phone to a broken-english person calling merely to confirm my information and some other stuff which I got frustrated with and couldn't understand? Customer service person says if I don't pay it, it will be turned over to a collection account. My trusted local book man says he sees this all the time, and his advice is to ignore it and eventually they will drop it and go away, and next year I'll know better. I don't want to get a ding against my good credit, but I don't want to get *****ed either!

Anyone had dealings with "The Official Yellow Pages" and if so, what did you do about it? I need some advice here. Thanks
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Maryann

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You probably have a consumer's protection agency in your state (our is with the Attorney General's office). Take the time to file a complaint. You may be able to do it online. Send a copy of the complaint with the invoice. Chances are you won't hear from them again. If the AG's office gets enough complaints against a company, they will take legal action.

I just went on www.theofficialyellowpages.com website and found our shop....and we don't subscribe to any yellow pages - just have the free listing.
 

Ron Eggers

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I imagine it's a real bargain. I'll bet all your potential framing customers in the Carson City area go FIRST to www.theofficialyellowpages.com to find a framer.

I don't think you signed a contract or a sales order. Tell 'em to take a flying leap.

I was getting fake bills for fake yellow pages a year after I closed my shop. Somewhere, in 1-pt type, it says, "This is a solicitaiton - not a bill."

It sure LOOKS like a bill.
 

fourcorners

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Sacramento, California
We get these ALL the time. And, yes, I think you've been had. All directories will send a representative to you to set up your ad. If they ONLY send you a bill, toss it! Now, they very well may be a legitimate yellow pages book. And you will probably have a listing. I just see this as a deceitful practice -- like non-profits (our local public television station is guilty of this) who send out donation requests that look like bills. It targets trusting individuals who think they are obligated to pay. This is EXACTLY what this yellow pages company does and it fries me!
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Val

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Carson City, Nevada
I haven't been had if I haven't paid anything, have I??? :eek:
 

JbNormandog

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Don't pay them anything.

They are not going to do anything when you don't pay them.

They may call you for a few weeks, if they do just continue to hang up.

These scams aren't going to call attention to themselves by chasing you for a couple of bucks.
 

Paul N

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That's why whenever those Yellow-this-and-Yellow-that leeches call I hang up on them.

Whenever somebody calls and "want to verify your data / info..." you know what to do.
 

GUMBY GCF

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I just got my call today from the officialyellow page lady with broken accent!~ Told her no Nno No not interested NO!~
 

Mecianne

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I don't trust anyone...I repeat...anyone. When it comes to my money you better be straight-up, in-person, with a very easy to understand contract in writing. We get those all the time...the snail mail goes in the trash, the e-mail goes to the spam box, and the phone calls...well, you could imagine.

I wouldn't give it another thought and I **** sure wouldn't give em any money.
 

Mike Labbe

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Yea thats a phone scam and they have you recorded (most likely) saying "YES" many times, to confirm the order.

When I get a questionable call I try not to say YES at all.

It wouldnt be worth their $ to go after you - and after all they are knowingly taking advantage of people. I'd say "Sure, sue me so I can tell the judge what you are doing to people". They'll probably hang up and go away.

The yellow pages walking fingers are public domain and used by most of the books. (Verizon Yellow Paages, GTE, YellowBook, BellSouth, Sprint, the fake ones, etc)

Good luck!

Mike
 

Rogatory

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Ha! I got that same call last week. When they asked my name I said "you don't have it in your records?" they said no, so I knew it was some sort of scam.
I told him my name was David Lee Roth, and then hung up. The next day he called again and I told him Mr. Roth was on an errand and would be back in about half an hour. Sure enough he called back, so I told him Mr. Roth was busy filling out a contract with Eddy, could he call back later?

Anyway, we played this game for a couple of days and the calls stopped. I guess he finally gave up.
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Bill Henry-

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If they recorded your conversation, they could get stinky about it, but it’s not likely they did, and they would have to tell you ahead of time if they were.

Blow ‘em off! What can they do … recall all of the phone books in which you’re not listed?
 

Val

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Carson City, Nevada
AAAGGGHHH!!! I just wanna be a picture framer!!!!
What a waste of time! But...thanks to you guys, I'm getting less naive and dumb by the day. And I have an attorney next door who loves this stuff. Let 'em get stinky. I've put the paperwork in a "BOGUS TIMEWASTER SCAMS" file along with the other carp I've learned about this year. Attorney Next Door says I should frame one. Geeze Lueeze.
 

Val

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Carson City, Nevada
You're not gonna believe who just walked out the door!! Another Yellow Pages Book rep! This one is legit though, it's a new local Yellow Book.

Poor guys, the look on my face and my bared fangs must've been pretty scary when they walked in with another phone book! I nearly picked up something to throw, when I remembered someone said here if they're legit they'll walk in, so I didn't.

We had a good laugh about their timing, and I won't be putting an ad in this year, but possibly next, when I can budget for it.

LMAO!
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Bob Roy

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Ottawa, Ontario
You were somewhat unethically telemarketed to...

I am sure you would have gotten a web listing for your money but hey those can be had for free.

They are pretty sneaky though. The logo is close enough to catch you but probably not close enough to be infringing on the Yellow Pages trademark.

The official yellow pages!!!

The real yellow pages

Deceptive marketing practices aside, if they deliver a listing for money paid, it isn't <<<really>>> a scam.

I am not sure if I should admire or be disgusted by these people. One part of me makes me wish I had that idea, the other part of me is glad I am not the type of person who would
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Ron Eggers

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Life was simpler when there was one book and it came from the phone company.

We have two active ones in our market. The "upstart" has been around here for a decade or more and doesn't look like they're going away. In many ways, it's a superior product and the competition may be keeping the prices down on the Ma Bell book.

But I still resent having two books and pretty much boycotted both of 'em for the past several years.

I guess I showed 'em, huh?
 

eagle55

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Sioux City, IA
When I lived in Reno anumber of years ago, I had a consumer problem and wrote a letter to both Washoe County DA and the Attorney General's office consumer fraud division and got phone calls from both offices concerning my complaint. They are very receptive to complaints like the problem you have. My motto is "if you want to play ball, welcome to the big leagues." I go for the throat and heart at the same time. Write a letter to the State Attorney General Office of Consumer fraud then sit back and watch with a grin. Good luck
 

Val

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Carson City, Nevada
...and this one, although it is legitimate, and new to this area this year:
http://www.yellowbook.com/
Apparently, there are 6 phone books in this area, and 8 in the Reno area! Very confusing!

Thanks Eagle, I've been in touch with the Atty.General's office earlier this year about 2 other matters, and they were very interested and helpful. I've found that just mentioning that I've been in touch with them is usually enough to halt the calls and threats, but I usually follow it up with a letter, witnessed and signed by my friend The Attorney Next Door.

Vultures! Especially when they find out I'm a new owner and, I hate to say this but, a woman. I'm learning to speak up and take action and not be squeamish about it. Grrrr
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Rick Granick

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Hey Ron, I'm guessing that boycotting the yellow pages has not resulted in a falloff of business, but rather an increase in your bottom line due to smaller monthly advertising outlay. Have you noticed any effects (good or ill) of your change in strategy?
I'm just wondering, because I'm thinking this might be my last year of $200+/mo phonebook advertising. I think in the internet age people just don't rely on the yellow pages like they used to...and even if they did, who knows which one they're using? By this time next year I will have been in business for 30 years. I think a nice simple bold listing with my name underneath may suffice to guide people to my address and phone number.
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Rick
 

Lance E

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Just because they walk in won't mean they're for real, always ask for the written copy before confirming or agreeing to anything and then take your time with it. It will be a rare occassion that a great advertising opportunity is hurried.

We dropped out of the yellow pages (only 1 here, from the phone co.) in six different categories about 3 years ago, we still have the bold headed listings. The decision to do this was based on customer feedback and calls on dedicated phone lines. Our situation is likely very different to others though.
 

Lance E

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BTW, Rick I imagine that the phone on Ron's desk now rings a lot more than it did when he ran YP ads.
 

Puppyraiser

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You think YOU got competing YPs? We live within 20 miles of West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Virginia. So we get all THOSE guys, as well as the Maryland guys pestering us. Roger finally had to make up a chart to keep track of which $ amount we were spending on which YPs and what the return was on each. Lots of them have ended up with a bold in-column listing recently...
 

Ron Eggers

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Rick, I ran some tests similar to Lance's. I had two phone lines. I ran one number (the old, original number) in the old, original book. That was also the number that was posted on business cards, print ads, frame orders, etc., so it really wasn't a fair contest.

We ran the secondary phone number in the upstart book, and kept an informal count of the number of calls coming in on both lines. I was startled to see more calls coming in from the new book, though the numbers weren't overwhelming.

Then we dropped the display ad in the old book and did a bold listing only and nothing changed. Next year, we dropped the display in the new book and, again, the ratios didn't change significantly.

If I'd thought of it, and if it was an option, I would have run one number in the white pages listing and the other in the display ad in the yellow pages and kept a count.
 

BILL WARD

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& itll take 2-3 years for them to STOP sending you bills, etc!!!!!!!!!!! Dont know why the FCC doesnt bury these scum bags!!!! They are, at BEST, immoral
 

Val

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Carson City, Nevada
So, this nice soft-spoken man "Ray", "my" "The Official Yellow Pages Account Manager" calls just now, wants to know when I'm gonna pay, as I "promised as noted" (I didn't promise any such thing!!). Says he's willing to take off the 2nd year, amend the $399 to $249. I told him "Melissa" already did that (dated 5/22, but amended the day I started this thread), but amended it to $299 instead. He said I must be mistaken, he doesn't know any Melissa, she had no business doing that, and he had no record of it. I said I'd happily fax it to him. He didn't want it.

He also said there IS a "book" and he would send it to me AFTER I pay him, that it was just printed and he can't cancel what's already printed. Told him Melissa said there wasn't a book. He said Melissa lied. I also told him on the day Melissa amended the invoice, I was NOT on the online listing, as she said I was and it was too late to cancel that too.

Then I told him I'd since done some research and found out what a bogus scam his "business" is, and that I'm not paying him a cent. He yells "YES, YOU WILL PAY IT! I WILL TAKE YOU TO SMALL CLAIMS COURT TO A JUDGE AND I WILL WIN LIKE I DO EVERYONE ELSE!" Says anything less than $500 doesn't have to be signed, only a verbal confirmation of which "he has a recording". I asked him to play that back for me. He said he wouldn't.He said "The law is the law and you can't change it and I won't."

So I told him I've been chatting online with thousands of businesses about his "company" and every reply has been about what a scam it is and how I was mislead into thinking it was the real deal. Man, that really ticked him off! Said he had no verification of that. Said it sounded like a bunch of "fresh air" (?) to him. I told him he could take his HOT air and blow it wherever he wanted to, I've already notified the Attorney General and Better Business Bureau. And I asked him "By the way, is THIS conversation being recorded??" Click on his end.
Next time I will hang up. No conversation. Shoulda done that this time, my blood pressure's up there. Nasty SOB.
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(I've never used those graemlins before, seems appropriate now!)

Thanks for the ammunition! Now I'm going to take this energy and do something positive with it, like FRAMING!!! I oughta get a ton done!!
 

j Paul

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Year before this (our 1st year in business) we had a sizable display ad in SBC yellow pages. For current year (with additional forms of advertising) we cut it down to just a 1/2" bold column listing, around $70. per mo.

The "Yellow Book" people came in and they could give me a 2" yellow & 2" white and a full page web listing for about $64.00. Thought about it, dropping the SBC to just the Free listing and see how the "Yellow Book" did this year. The rub is they wanted 3 months in advance NOW, and their book doesn't come out for another 9 months. Told them that unless they wanted to bill me with a signed contract now and payment due at time of issue they could forget about it.
 

Ray

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Perry, Ga.
These vampires tried to hit me yesterday. One saleman came in dragging two assitants with him and tried to gang up on me. I told them I wasn't interested and unless they had some framing for me to do I was busy. Didn't even let them open their samples. They looked bewildered as I turned my back and went back to work!!!!!
 

Val

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After I told the "Yellow Book" guy and his assistant "not this year", he later came back with a photocopy of yet ANOTHER "Yellow Pages Company" scam, to add to my Fake Yellow Pages File. This one is just called "Yellow Pages" (with a another variation of the walking fingers)by Allied Telephone Directories out of Atlanta, GA. I will give this one credit though, at the top right corner it states
"LISTING ORDER FORM
THIS IS NOT A BILL"

Another reason I love the Grumble..."Heads up, the Vultures are coming!"
 

Mike LeCompte CPF

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AHH the joys of caller ID. Get it, use it and when these clowns call again,just dont answer the phone.

Do it all the time to 1-800, 1-866, etc. numbers 'cause we know they're solicitors
 

Jennica

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just scammers

The exact same thing happened to me. They keep sending me invoices and calling me to pay 599 dollars. I tried looking them up and all I found was our business name and phone number but no info on what we do. It's ########. Don't pay them. They won't do anything no matter how much they threaten to report you to a collection company.
 

Couture's Gallery

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Young Harris, Ga
yellow pages

Bold listings work as well as ads..we've tried em all...put bold listings in all categories that a customer will look under and they will be able to find you. We have bold listings in 2 books under framers, art galleries, home decor and silk plants and gifts. The local independent phone company will make a category heading for you if it is not in the system, and these work well as you are usually the only one listed. Also use bold listings in the white pages because that is where they look if they know your business name and want you specifically and not just any framer listed (yellow pages).
 
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