I was called at my restaurant regarding placement in a travel book, "Favorites along Oregon I-5" and was told we were chosen to be interviewed. Was led to believe book was something like Frommers or Fodor. When the man Bill, and his partner came in to interview me, it was made clear that while placement in the "full color hardbound book" was free, we were required to purchase a minimum of 10 books to sell ourselves, each costing us 39.95. These books supposedly had been featured in Barnes and Noble, as well as on Amazon. The whole thing stunk, so I told them I would need to consult with the owner and would get back to them.
They came back in about a week later and told them we didn't think it was for us, that our advertising dollars were limited and needed to be spent wisely. Bill began to get angry and kept stressing that it wasn't advertising and it was "free". I reminded him that it wasn't "free" because we had to buy the books. He then said that they would buy the books back if we weren't able to sell them. We asked him how long it would take for the books to be published and he said about a year. It would then be another year before they would consider buying the books back. Red flag #1. We told him we had been approached with this offer before, and he insisted that he never had. The owner said "well we've heard this spiel before", and Bill flipped his lid. He then started to say how if we thought it was a spiel then we were unfit to be part of his book. He said, and I quote, "well we were in here for lunch yesterday and it was s**t." He then began recounting how he had talked to other businesses in town and they all thought our restaurant was no good also. The owner tried to rectify the situation by saying that he didn't mean "spiel" like a con, just as in we had heard the proposal before. Immediately Bill did a 180 and suddenly became nice again. Red flag #2.
After they left I began researching the company. I looked up the web address and it was very vague and looked like it had been made in 15 minutes. Red flag #3. I then Googled and reverse directoried the phone number, and nothing showed up. Red flag #4. After extensive searching with the address, I found a business listed, not James Madison Inc. It belonged to a design company. I called the number on the website and a woman answered. I verified the address and she said she neither shared a space nor was affiliated in any way with James Madison Inc. She said she had been there for 5 years. Big Red Flag #5.
The men had showed me a book that they had "made" sometime back that was for the Oregon Coast. I recognised some of the names and called the businesses. None of them had heard of the book or recalled giving permission to be included in it. Ever. Red flag #6.
I searched Barnes and Noble and Amazon for anything under guide books or anything by James Madison publishing. I got nothing. Red flag #7.
Now I was sure that this was a scam and I began calling local businesses and telling them my story. Some hadn't heard from them and some of them had fallen prey. I told those that did to cancel any checks right away. I spoke to a local bakery who had talked to them and the owner told me Bill got really hostile and threatening when she told them she wasn't interested. Another thing that was weird was how these guys kept telling everyone different things about where they were from. They told me they were from New York City, they told the bakery they were from Washington, and they told two other businesses they were from Los Angeles and San Francisco.
I then Googles Bill's name, William Faubion. Suprise! Here he was, on RipoffReport, scamming people from 2 and 3 years ago, under a different business name, Morgan & Chase Publishing. The business was even headquartered here in southern oregon.
So basically what it comes down to is don't fall victim to the travel book trap. It's a joke!