I worked for University Sports Publications (USP) and their various DBA's for close to 2 years. Over time I had witnessed many questionable practices and spoke to angry customers that never received what was promised to them because of USP's shady tactics. I left the company after questioning my supervisor, Steve Farkas about how the company conducts itself and receiving inadequate answers from him.
Quite frankly, I was involved in a scam. I scammed hundreds of companies out of hundreds of thousands of dollars and I feel terrible about it.I lose sleep over what I was involved in and what is continuing to go on.
What USP does, is solicit advertising from companies that are working with or have a contract with a particular institution, ie. universities, schools, military bases, hospitals, municipalities, etc. They claim to publish directories that are seen by all the influential decision makers at whatever institution that the contractor is working at. Part of our pitch included name dropping and department dropping. Department dropping includes This guide is going to be seen by all the people you work with; the guys in the facilities department, department of transportation, etc. The department drops are tailored to each company that we are calling. For example, if we are publishing the New York State Municipal Guide and we calling a company that we know is putting in a new HVAC system at the Attorney General's building in Albany, we would say You're ad is going to be seen by thousands of government officials, but most importantly from your end, it is going to be seen by the officials that you are working with, the guys in public works, facilities, everyone at the Attorney General's office, purchasing, etc.
The name dropping of the pitch is what really hooks the victim. We are given a list of all the companies working on the Attorney General's building in Albany and tell the person that the other companies all already involved in the program. This is NEVER the case. This is always a lie. Very often NONE of the companies named are involved in the program.
The point of the pitch is to imply to the contractor or company being pitched that if they don't take out an ad, they are going to be the only ones on the project that are not getting involved and since the administrators and officials all look at this program, if you aren't involved you're company is going to look bad and it very well might cost you a contract in the future.
Now, aside from the name drops and department drops all being lies, the guide that is published is NOT distributed to the people mentioned in the department drops. I know this because I received calls from some of these department heads, asking me what kind of scam was being run. Aparently, the company I was pitching contacted them. Management at USP always said that copies are mailed out to the departments and their copy must have been "lost in the mail" or "thrown out before it got to them."
In addition to all of this, it is implied that we (the salespeople) are affiliated in some way with the municipality, hospital, school, etc that we are pitching for. This is done in a variety of ways. First, with USP's various DBA's. A few examples are Municipal Publishing, Medical Publishing, Military Publishing, School District Publishing, etc. They also have local phone numbers and forwarding mailing addresses in every area code in the country. This way, if I am pitching someone who is building a school in Kansas, for example, and I putting together the Kansas School Guide, I can give them a local phone number incase they need to call me back. Also, when they mail their check, they mail it to the Kansas forwarding address. This way, they aren't seeing a NY area code or mailing address and raise suspicion about my alleged affiliation with whatever institution I am pitching.
USP is a scam!!!
New York, New York