ED Magedson – Founder
Jewish Israeli Yellow Pages, Dag Media, Dapey Assaf125-10 Queens Blvd. Kew Gardens, New York United States of America
The following are excerpts from two letters that I sent to Andrea Kumar, the Customer Service Manager at Dag Media, or the Jewish Yellow Pages and Jewish Referral Service. I sent the first letter on July 2, 2010, and confirmed in a conversation with her immediately afterwards that she had received it.
I am a photographer and signed an advertising contract with the Jewish Yellow Pages and Jewish Referral Service in August 2009. Their service has three components: a printed ad in the Jewish Yellow Pages, an online listing in the same, and being part of the Jewish Referral Service.
My main (but not only) complaint has to do with the Referral Service. In short, I was promised "ALOT" of referrals. I have received zero. I was lied to about a number of things and by more than one person.
From Sept. until March 2010, I called many times to find out why I was not getting any referrals and to improve the situation. In June, I decided to try to get my money back instead.
Despite the severe nature of my complaints and even the receipt of this letter, the Customer Service Manager has repeatedly failed to return my phone calls promptly or call me back when she said she would.
After many lengthy, angry conversations, I was offered a third of my money back. In more such conversations following receipt of my first letter I was offered half.
Please take the time to read this letter carefully.
Following our conversation today, I wanted to write you in an effort to present some perspective on this issue.
I run a small business. I don't have unlimited money to spend on advertising. $1900 is a very big piece of the pie for me.
As I mentioned to you several times, Jonathan Cohen happened to call me on the day my daughter was born, July 29, 2009. I had just gotten back from being at the hospital all night.
He said I had been recommended to him as a photographer.
Check this complaint--that person had the same line used, but different industry:
Jonathan also said he was calling from "The Jewish Center". I was confused. At first it sounded like he wanted to hire a photographer. Then it seemed like he was from the JCC or some Jewish non-profit and was asking questions about my services and business to see if I was someone he would want to refer to others.
I asked who had recommended me to him. He had some vague reply that didn't make much sense.
The whole conversation seemed a bit strange, but I was also exhausted from being at the hospital so I didn't think too much of it. It wasn't until later in the conversation that I realized he wasn't from any Jewish center and merely wanted to sell me advertising.
He told me about the three-part service (printed ad / online ad / referral service) and made a big pitch for the referral service. I also made it clear to him that the printed and online ads held no interest for me, but that the referral service was very interesting.
I asked if it was possible to do only the referral service. They said no, and while I wished otherwise, I understand that that is your policy.
Because I am Jewish, speak Hebrew and have been wanting to increase my business presence in the Jewish community, I decided to meet with him, and I came to your offices a few days later.
(The Jewish Yellow Pages is not the only place I advertise, and obviously I know that no one can guarrantee a certain number of referrals or a specific amount of success in whatever way it is measured. I never asked for, nor expected, a certain number of referrals per month or per year.)
I met with Jonathan and another person. They realized that the only way to get me to sign a contract was to sell me on the Referral Service. This approach was taken from the very beginning, from my first phone conversation with Jonathan.
That is a very important point, because after the contract is signed and no referrals are provided, you suddenly present the Referral Service in a much different light, as merely an added benefit to buying an ad.
If Jonathan had said, "Well, we also have this referral service as an added benefit for those who place an ad in the book. I'm not really sure if you'll get many referrals, but it's a nice extra."if he had said that (which is at least realistic), I wouldn't have even scheduled a meeting.
Insteadand this is very importantJonathan sold me the Referral Service, which came with the requirement of buying an ad in the book.
Furthermore, they presented an opportunity for me to take the "last spot" in the book and the Referral Servicebut only after they checked me out to make sure I would fit the high standards of the list. They questioned me about my ability to handle volume, and if I had other photographers working for mebecause I was going to start getting ALOT of calls, and that I would start getting those calls as soon as I approved my graphic. This would all start happening within a couple weeks.
Of course, I wanted to know how many other photographers were on the referral list. They said 4 or 5. And they each said that more than once.
They were looking to fill one more spot, and it had to be done immediately, asap. When Jonathan called me on July 29, he wanted me to come in that day, which was obviously impossible. We set a meeting for Aug. 3. At the meeting I was told I couldn't think about it overnight, this was the last day.
That is how I was sold an ad by your company.
Over the following few months, I spoke to several people about my ad and why I wasn't getting referrals. At first I was told that my graphic had to be finished before they would start referring me. That doesn't make any sense, there's no connection, I pointed out, but the person said that was the policy.
I said I wanted the graphic to be finished and posted before Rosh HaShana so families could see it and I could get referred. At this point, the process was already dragging on far longer than the "about 2 weeks" mentioned by Jonathan to start getting referrals.
It did not get done by Rosh HaShana, but no one bothered to tell me that I wouldn't start getting referrals until the book came out in February. I called several times, but I wasn't told this until November.
I sent three dummy requests for referrals: one in November, one in February, and one in March. The one in March was never answered at all.
When my first dummy request resulted in three photographers contacting me (none of which were me, from a list of supposedly 4 or 5), I called demanding answers.
Starting in November, every time I called I asked how many other photographers were on the list. I asked you, Andrea, many times in our conversations in February and March. No one had an answer. Every time I was told I would be called back with an answer. Never happened. Until you suddenly told me on June 25, and suddenly it was something you could tell me instantly while I waited.
The number you told me was 14 or 15, if you recall. That's a lot different than 4 or 5.
I would like to know, how did my "last spot" get extended to 10 other people??
However, that number also doesn't make much sense. Since participation in the Referral Service is conditioned on buying an ad in the Yellow Pages, it seems that the number of people on the list should be the same as the number of ads in the book. Why wouldn't someone participate if they are already paying for an ad? (The number of ads for the NY area is about 40, if I remember correctly.)
I also repeatedly asked how many requests for referrals you get each month. No one could answer. After months of asking, finally you told me in one conversation in March that the number was 25 - 30.
That doesn't really seem to be true, does it?
Despite all of our conversations over recent months, I have still not gotten a single referral. NOT ONE SINGLE REFERRAL. OVER A PERIOD OF 6 MONTHS. (Or 11 months, if I count from last September.)
Think about itafter all the trouble I've caused you, still nothing, just to shut me up and prove me wrong. That means one of two things: either you don't get any requests, or you don't care about me as a client. I have to say, I do appreciate that so far you haven't stooped to sending me some fake referral for that purpose.
One final note: in our last conversation on July 16, you had the nerve to (repeatedly) say that I just haven't given you a chance. Really?!
I suppose from September through February there was no opportunity for you to honor your salespeople's promises? And I suppose l continued to deny you a chance from February through the present late July? Perhaps you could elaborate on your line of reasoning here?
Just to be completely clear on realityI was begging you for referrals from September through June. You'll recall that I never asked for my money back until June 25.
That is why I want my money back. All of it.
A full refund is the least you can do to rectify the situation.
The money that I invested with you is not just wasted money. It means other opportunities that I lost because the money was already spent.
You should be apologizing and compensating me for that, as well, but that's impossible to measure.
How much time have I lost calling you in an effort to get something for my money? How much time writing letters? Not hoursdays and days.
I never asked for a guarranteed number of referrals. But your salespeople scammed me. They simply lied, repeatedly and about more than one thing.
This is not the result of some miscommunication or misunderstanding. It reaches the level of unethical business practice and fraud.
Today I discovered that others have had similar experiences. (16 complaints with the Better Business Bureau in the last 3 years8 under the category of "selling practices"! Or check ripoffreport.com.)
Andrea, this situation is one in which it is very easy to see right and wrong. One short conversation should have been all that was required. I have given you the further benefit of many phone conversations and two lengthy letters. I think you realize at this point that I will certainly not let this matter drop.
Put yourself in my shoes. Honestly, I don't think it's hard to understand why I want my money back. Offering me a third or half is insulting. How would you feel?
Your company should be ashamed. And if it's not, I will bring shame to it by making sure that every Jewish organization hears how Dapey Assaf does business, and that other prospective advertisers have the benefit of my experience in making their decisions.
Andrea, and Assaf, I continue to hope that you will do the right thing: not only to refund my money but also to take stock of your sales practices to ensure that this kind of situation doesn't happen to someone else.
Sincerely, and in hope of the most amicable resolution,
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 07/23/2010 11:10 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Jewish-Israeli-Yellow-Pages-Dag-Media-Dapey-Assaf/Kew-Gardens-New-York-11415/Jewish-Israeli-Yellow-Pages-Dag-Media-Dapey-Assaf-Dag-Media-Jewish-Referral-Service-comp-626180. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.
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