LocalOnline Yellowbook Scam, Fraudulent authorization to place advertising Internet
About a year ago I received a call offering to upgrade my current Yellowbook advertising. I was busy, but since I had just renewed my phone book ad I listened to the spiel thinking I'd get a better value for the money I just invested. Even though this company is NOT the same as Yellowbook telephone directories, he did not correct my misunderstanding and actively encouraged me to continue thinking that this was an upgrade to my current service.They offered to improve my internet listing with links to my webpage, and other enhancements. I said I thought I already had that and the man said that I only had a word listing just like in the phone book, without the links. Asked him if it would cost extra and he said this was a free offer, but I was skeptical and asked what the catch was. He explained that it would be a free 30 day trial, after which I would have the option to continue for a fee. I asked if I would be automatically signed up and billed or would I be called, sent a contract, or something before they'd continue the service - the man said that I would definitely be contacted before the service was continued, or I would have to call them to authorize continuation. So I said as long as it was a free trial and I would not get a bill for any service without getting the authorization to continue the service, then go ahead with the free trial and I'd check the website to see if I liked it. Then he quickly turned me over to his supervisor to ensure he had my information correct. That's when I got that sinking feeling and should have hung up the phone, but unfortunately didn't. The supervisor got on the line and verified the information in my Yellowpage phonebook ad, and assured me he'd send a confirmation in the mail so that I could review the program and what it would cost, and then I asked what the service would cost if I did continue and he said $549.00 per year, and I asked if that was in addition to what I already paid for the phone book ad, and he said yes. I told him that I doubted that I'd continue the upgraded internet service because it was too high, and he assured me that I'd love it and get lots of calls. I asked again that this was just a free trial and I would not be billed unless I called them and asked to continue with the program, and he said yes - or perhaps he said definately.I did receive a one page letter of sorts. The logo was a copy of the one Yellowpages phonebook directeries uses, also the same colors. It was signed by Lynda Pederson, VP Marketing, I thought it was confirming the proof of my phonebook ad actually, and quickly filed it. I just went looking for it after receiving two harrassment calls for payment of $549 from LocalOnline Yellowbook, who now is making it clear they are a different company from the phonebook directory company. The letter describes the things that are supposed to be included in my listing, including a logo banner, website link, photo gallery, and a way to check the number of hits my listing recieved. After checking their website, none of those things are on the site, no one tried to get them from me and the address is wrong, e-mail address was wrong and no link to webpage and no logo banner. Checked a few of the other listings under the Interior Design heading, such as the hairdressers and the home inspection service, and they have buttons to link to their webpages but they don't connect, phone numbers are wrong, and even the business descriptions were wrong (a flower shop was listed as a pool contractor) - and they were all listed under Interior Design! I never gave them authorization to continue the service and they didn't even try to put the trial listing together properly. But, they are threatening me with collection agencies for the $549. plus interest for not paying after the first collection call. The first collection call I told them that I had asked repeatedly, and was assured repeatedly, that I would not be automatically enrolled into the service and would not be billed until I requested to be enrolled. I referenced the recorded message and he said he'd check the recording and call me back. He didn't call me back so I figured we were done. About six months later, today, I find a message on my phone with threats of collection agencies and mounting interest on the debt. Called him back and he patronizingly kept insisting that I did indeed agree to the service, and then played back a conversation where you could hear a man very clearly spelling out the program, charges and automatic enrollment with my voice giving quiet, reluctant answers, all approving what he was saying. It was not the conversation I had, but my voice was being used! I told him I what I thought about that, and he continued with the patronizing tone now why are you making such accusations...?.Then he offered to help me out by sending me a cancellation settlement which would discount the charges to $250 and waive the interest acrued, but he wanted me to pay it right away with a credit card. I told him no way was I going to give them my credit card information. Then he offerred to e-mail the letter and give me 10 days to send them electronic checking information - again no way. But I did tell him to send me the letter so I could take it to my lawyer!It has been an hour since I slammed down the receiver and I haven't gotten that letter from him. However, I have found lots of evidence that other people have been caught in this same scam.