Consumer Alert: Beware of bills or invoices bearing yellow pages logo

Filed under: News |

It’s a logo many are quite familiar with, the walking fingers advertising the yellow pages, but now that logo could end up luring businesses. Recent mailings to one local business appeared at first glance to be a bill for yellow pages services. Upon closer review, the business owner determined that he never authorized the “services,” yet his signature was found on the invoice.

The mailing comes from United Directories Yellow Pages of Atlanta, Ga., and looks like a billing invoice. The invoice includes the printed and signed name of the owner of the business. The invoice requests that the company pay the bill quickly – before the publication deadline – in order to be included in their next edition. The amount of the bill is just under $300. According to BBB records, this company uses an Atlanta mailing address but the company’s office is located in Jacksonville Beach, Fla. United Directories Yellow Pages has an unsatisfactory record with the Better Business Bureau because of unanswered complaints. Those complaints stemmed from advertising, sales, customer service and credit or billing issues.

The BBB encourages businesses to notify their accounts payable departments of these types of fraudulent invoices that may look legitimate. The BBB also warns businesses to be aware of solicitations from companies using the yellow pages “walking fingers” logo. The solicitation may appear to be a bill or invoice for services but the fine print will read that the “bill” is really a solicitation and no money is due unless you order a special directory listing.

Here’s what you need to know about the Yellow Pages “Walking Fingers” logo:

* This logo and the “yellow page” name are not trademarked and can be used by many directory publishers in an attempt to solicit business.

* These types of solicitations are required to indicate on the invoice wording to the effect of “this is not a bill” or “this is a solicitation”

* If considering an independent publisher’s directory ask questions, obtain commitments in writing concerning specific distribution numbers and dates, refund policies, guaranteed circulation and period of use.

* Be careful not to pay solicitations that look like invoices and alert your staff accordingly.

* Check with the Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado if you have any questions about a Yellow Pages invoice or solicitation. Check out a company’s report at www.bbbsc.org or call (719) 636-1155 or (866) 206-1800. If a company is a member, it will be stated in the report.