Iowa AG reaches agreement with Yellow Page ad marketer

Bryan Cohen Jun. 8, 2011, 2:21am


DES MOINES, Iowa (Legal Newsline) - Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller announces on Tuesday that he has reached an agreement with a company soliciting "Yellow Page" advertising to cease marketing to Iowa residents.

The agreement, an assurance of voluntary compliance, compels Yellow Publishing LTD, doing business as Yellow Page B.V. and, to cease marketing to Iowa residents. The company allegedly used solicitations that feature a logo similar to the established and recognized "Yellow Pages" logo.

Miller's office received 19 complaints from Iowa consumers that said they had been deceived by the "Yellow Page" name and logo, which are also similar to AT&T's "Yellow Pages" logo that features "walking fingers." The consumers also complained that they were mislead by the publishing materials of Yellow Publishing that prominently state "free submission to," but in the fine print charge $89 a month for "registration" in the "directory." Yellow Page Publishing does not publish any local phone books, but posts listings on its website.

"Several small businesses owners in Iowa have complained about this company's sales tactics," Miller said. "Some thought the solicitations they received were local phone book ad orders or renewals. Others saw the free listing sales pitch at the top, but they missed the fine print at the bottom about the thousand dollars a year for a so-called 'directory' registration that's not even in a phone book. In either case, consumers felt they were tricked."

Several companies received collection notices from Yellow Page B.V. claiming that they owe $1,068 for 12 months of registration. The company also threatened legal action or that it would refer the cases to a debt collection agency. In some cases the company did attempt to pursue payment through collection agencies.

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