I have been reading all the complaints about Idearc Media and their SuperPages program. Let me say it is all true. This company is deceptive, it lies, it distorts, it does anything to get your money. I know, until recently I worked for them in their Chicago office selling advertising.
I have never been with a company that was so deceptive in its practices. Their practices can best be described as predatory. It begins with their sales process, called "salesology"; the study of sales, but in reality it is the process of selling by deception. I have read many of the complaints and I am hearing all the dishonest practices Idearc either directly taught or displayed via live example.
Their calls begin with the line, "hi, am I catching you at a bad time?" Of course you will say NO, which is their permission to talk. Then we follow up with, "we have people in your area who are looking for your services, if I send them to you are you able to handle some more business?". Most likely, you will say, YES, then we ask, "are you the person I need to speak with so we can send these people to you, if so, I need to make sure you are qualified for our program, since we guarantee services to our clients. Do you have 5 minutes to answer some questions? You do, great because we don't work with just any company". This is all one big lie.
To begin, Idearc does not have any people to send to you. Many reps even go so far as to call these people their "clients", but the truth is there are no people or clients. Idearc simply creates a listing for your business on the internet so you can be found on Google, Yahoo, MSN searches. People who are doing a search on the internet are there regardless of Idearc. Idearc has nothing to do with them, yet they present them as clients, and suggest they have the power to send them directly to you, when in reality all they can do is put your name in front of them. The people don't call Idearc and don't know who Idearc is. Yet, everyday Idearc sales people are telling owners that they are going to send new customers to them. A lie.
The second lie in that statement is that they don't work with just anyone. The truth is Idearc will work with any business as long as they sign and can pay. Everyday I heard reps calling on the same business category and giving each person the same line. The goal is to give you the impression that this is a unique opportunity and that your business was specially selected. Bull! There is nothing special about your business, you were just next on the list. The next "dumb-a*s" as they like to call it. You see, the reps make a ton of calls everyday trying to find the one person who falls for all this. I also find that many of the reps are black and they prey on minority business owners who end up paying big money every month on worthless advertising, thinking they were going to have customers sent to them.
As they move on in the Salesology process, they will ask you worthless questions that have nothing to do with their recommendation. They really just want to make themselves sound reputable, it is like they are interviewing you so they can take your money. What is sad is that so many business owners fall for it. Many even agree and give them their credit card over the phone and sign up without ever knowing what they are signing up for. Internally, the managers give a lot of lip service to the idea of consulting and developing the right recommendation. The reality is that the recommendation has more to do with the business' credit standing than what is right. The reps have a quick credit check run on every business, and they make their dollar recommendation up to that amount. So if the credit check says the business is approved for $2,000 per month, the rep will bring a recommendation for $2000, even if that is more than what is needed. The money comes first.
The ultimate goal is to sell you advertising without you ever knowing that you are buying advertising. That is why they are elusive in their answers, that is why they answer questions with questions. The more you give them the more they have to use against you. How do they get away with it? Once you are signed they avoid phone calls, and the rep who sold you is no longer responsible for your business. Once the sale is made you are passed on to other people, and at the end of your contract they will automatically sign you up for the following year if they can't reach you. In short, the rep who sold you, has no accountability to your business. Their job is to sell and walk away. That gives them carte blanche to say whatever they want to say to close you.
To anyone who reads this, just stay away for Idearc or kiss your money goodbye. They are the most deceptive company I have ever worked for and I am glad I am out of there.