Release Date: December 20, 2012
Release Number: BBB-20122012
Release Time: For Immediate Release
Contact: Pat Heffernan – CEO – (306) 352-9259 Fax (306) 565-6236
Scam Alert – Yellow Page Directory Scam is back
In November 2012,the BBB received information from 2 businesses in Saskatchewan regarding advertising that has appeared in faxed solicitations. It is clear that business owners in Saskatchewan are receiving requests soliciting information and quoting pricing in small print with layouts and names used in such a way as to influence the businesses that they are dealing with the regional yellow pages publisher in Saskatchewan, DirectWest, and in fact DirectWest was solicited directly. To date the BBB has not received copies of any invoices issued to Saskatchewan businesses or any indication from Saskatchewan businesses that they may have mistakenly paid for or contracted with this directory service.
The BBB is concerned that businesses may believe they are dealing with their current yellow page or on-line directory service provider when in fact they are being solicited by or agreeing to a completely different service. This organization appears to be actively operating in the Ontario and Saskatchewan markets, as well as in parts of the USA. Fax solicitations are clearly from a business calling itself Yellow-Pages-Canada.com which is a trade name being used by a corporate entity named Open Business Directory Ltd. and by another corporate entity named Yellow Pages America Inc.
The fax solicitations in Saskatchewan take one of two formats. The first format is an on-line directory listing opportunity with information to be faxed to Yellow Pages America Inc. following which the business will most certainly be invoiced. The fine print discloses terms reflecting a two-year commitment with annual payments required in advance in an amount approximating $1,308. The second solicitation is more complex indicating that Yellow-Pages-Canada.com will create a Facebook Page in conjunction with the directory listing thereby sweetening the deal with an opportunity to incorporate social networking. This deal also reflects a two-year contract with annual payments in advance of approximately $1,548 and should a business respond with the requested information they will likely be invoiced. It is unlikely that either listing would provide any real value to Saskatchewan-based businesses.
As of December 20 the BBB has identified that this business is managed off-shore. The business requires directory information to be faxed to a toll free fax number with the geographic location as yet unidentified. Notices of cancellation are to be sent to a contact person with a box number address in Dubai, United Arab Emirates or to a virtual post office address located on Hazelhurst Drive in Houston, Texas. The website for Yellow-Pages-Canada.com records a Canadian agent for service in Canada at 20 Bay Street, 12th Floor in Toronto, and a corporate address for Open Business Directory in Moscow. The website for Yellow Pages America Inc. which uses the virtual mail location in Houston, Texas has a corporate address in the Republic of Panama. In essence the business appears to be a resurrection of a similar scam shut down by the Competition Bureau earlier in 2012
Some detachments of the Ontario Provincial Police have issued regional alerts to their communities identifying this activity as a potential scam. The BBB serving Saskatchewan offers the following tips to businesses dealing with yellow page and other on-line directory listings.
Review every solicitation of your business information carefully, and if you have concerns about the legitimacy of the request contact the yellow page and on-line directory listing services representative that you have dealt with in the past.
Be extremely cautious before providing supplemental business or personal information when it is requested by fax, phone or email. Just providing the information may be construed as consent to an on-line directory listing or an advertisement.
If you think you have received a phone, fax or email request from a bogus or copycat on-line yellow page directory contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, your local Police service, your existing yellow page representative and the BBB office serving
You may contact the Better Business Bureau of Saskatchewan at (306) 352-7601, toll free at 1(888) 352-7601 or online at www.sask.bbb.orgor email at email@example.com. The Better Business Bureau of Saskatchewan Inc. is a non-profit organization funded by accredited businesses throughout the province.
“The BBB… developing, encouraging and promoting
ethical business practices in the marketplace.”