Contact 13 Consumer Alert
US Public Yellowpages bill hitting mailboxes confusing businesses
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- It's standard practice for businesses to advertise. But one local pastor says he got a bill for an ad he never ordered. As Contact 13 learned in this consumer alert, the invoices are hitting mailboxes of dozens of other companies.
"I tend to be the only one around all the time that sees the stuff come," explained Pastor Don Pieper.
Pastor Pieper has called Green Valley Evangelical Lutheran Church home since 1989. So you could say he's pretty familiar with the business aspect of running things. That's why a call from the US Public Yellowpages this past Spring confused him.
"The pitch was that you subscribed to us last year and it's going to be automatic but to get out of it you just follow these directions," said Pastor Pieper.
The man wanted Pastor Pieper to agree to renew his subscription then they would be able to cancel it. But there's just one problem. The church has never had an ad with the US Public Yellowpages.
"It's be nuts to we're a local church, we're not a national church," said Pastor Pieper.
Pastor Pieper knew it sounded fishy and when he told the caller that, they hung up. Flash forward five months later, he gets a bill from the US Public Yellowpages for more than $600. The bill says it includes an interest charge for being late. So Pastor Pieper wrote a letter to a company.
"Two days after I mailed the letter I get a phone call from them so they must have got my letter," said Pastor Pieper.
The address on the bill comes back to a business complex on Green Valley Parkway near the 215. But it's just a virtual office. A company there accepts their mail and forwards it to them. When we tried to call the company they wouldn't even tell us where their main office is.
Katie Robison with the Better Business Bureau says Pastor Pieper isn't the only one who has filed a complaint.
"Since Oct. 31 we've received over 235 complaints. Clearly, there is an issue going on," said Katie.
The company has responded to some of the complaints saying it was an error or that they have digital recordings of people ordering the ads. The BBB requested those recordings but they have yet to receive them.
"I think what the company might be hoping is that the company's [they are] are sending out these mailers and invoices to won't scrutinize the bill," said Katie.
Pastor Pieper hopes others will follow his lead and do some research before writing out a check.
"Just take a little bit of time, sort through it and just say no," said Pastor Pieper.
So here is the Contact 13 bottom line. The BBB says they have turned over all those complaints to the Federal Trade Commission who is now investigating. If you're a business and got a bill that you don't recognize don't just throw it out. Call the company and the BBB and file a complaint.