by Dana DiTomaso

Yellow Pages Has A Bad Case of FUD

Yellow Pages phone book illustration

We’ve all been victims of FUD — fear, uncertainty, and doubt. It’s a shady tactic and one that we hope most people see through. This post was originally published in 2010. It’s now seven years later we still get a handful of emails each month from people who got scammed by Yellow Pages.

Often, those people are asking for us to put them in touch with other people who have commented on this post, so they can try to get a lawsuit going. In addition to selling services that are basically useless because they are expensive and provide little to zero value in terms of ROI, Yellow Pages now tricks the people they call into agreeing to contracts. These people are shocked when they receive bills from Yellow Pages for hundreds or thousands of dollars, and when they call the YP customer service line, they are told there is nothing to be done because they said yes during a phone call with their rep.

No matter how small your business is, it’s too big to waste time on Yellow Pages.

Even if you can’t afford to work with us, get in touch and we’ll make sure you get set up with someone trustworthy who can help you grow your business. There is never a good enough reason to say anything other than “do not call this number again” when a YP rep calls you.

About once a year, towards the beginning of the summer, the Yellow Pages rep comes calling to some of our clients. Some may have been advertising with the Yellow Pages for years and are seeing less and less of a return on their (rather significant) investment. They’re thinking about having a smaller ad, or no ad at all. Yellow Pages does not release demographic statistics, but it’s common knowledge that consumers 30 and younger generally search online or ask their friends for business recommendations.

Seven years ago, those reps were still trying to talk people into print ads — now (and for a few years now) they are pushing them towards terrible online advertising options and even more terrible Yellow Pages websites.

The Yellow Pages reps always tell people the same old BS stories, but they’re getting more insistent as they become more and more desperate. Their FUD runs along these lines:

1. We are the only authorized Google AdWords reseller in Canada.

There’s two parts to this. First, it implies that being a Google AdWords reseller is better than a consultant who works with AdWords. That’s absolutely not true. You do not receive better rates by working with a reseller — if anything, it costs more and they provide you with less reporting. Secondly, they are not the only authorized Google AdWords reseller in Canada.

2. Having a listing on the Yellow Pages will improve your rank on Google.

No, not true. But a lie the reps always tell. Check out a Yellow Pages listing. You’ll see that the link to the website is actually something like http://www.yellowpages.ca/gourl/http://www.yourcompany.com — that means that the link actually is a redirect from the Yellow Pages site, not a true link to your site. It may pass along some link value, but it’s of very low value.

3. The Yellow Pages website gets more traffic than Google!

Absolutely not. The below chart (from Alexa, a well-regarded provider of competitive website statistics) will paint the real picture. We’ve included canpages.ca for comparison purposes.

Chart
Yeah, real close…

4. We have special ways of making your site show up on Google — no one else can do that.

They’re talking about pay-per-click advertising here. They’re just using the local business options available to any AdWords advertiser. Nothing secret there, just knowing what boxes to click.

And the worst one of all…

5. If you cancel your ad with us, your ranking will go down on Google.

An absolute lie. Ask them for proof — how will this happen? Ask for specific examples. In our experience, we have not seen any detrimental ranking effects when a client has canceled or downgraded their Yellow Pages listing. If anything, they can improve their reach because of the money they saved!

We discussed this issue on Twitter back in 2010, and if the folks at Yellow Pages even noticed, they never said anything. If Yellow Pages was as web-savvy as they claim, they would have picked up on the Twitter mentions by now and gotten in touch.

 

Comments

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Jasmine says:

This company keeps billing me after my cancellation request to manager . The year contract was renewed AUTOMATICALLY without my agreement, and my cancellation request was issued to Manager Susie(I can provide email history).I stopped using service for months, even before contract was renewed. So, I DID NO ASK FOR THIS SERVICE, NOR USE THIS SERVICE .There is no reason this company is still billing me.

Dana DiTomaso says:

What a terrible situation, Jasmine! Have you looked into small claims court or similar?

Dan Sorensen says:

I am a small business just starting out and I am being sued by yellow pages for refusing to pay for a service that was never fulfilled by yellow pages.
Please help me if you can, I have the recorded verbal contract which is full of in true statements, and contradicts , not to mention the yellow pages salesperson divulging private information about other yleeow pages clients.
Call me anytime as I am going to fight them in front of a judge , and any and all information you can give me would help me . 1 statement yellow pages made is that they are NUMBER 1 on Google.. .I don’t think this is true, and if someone can verify this is a lie it would help. Also I was promised a big ad in the phone book…I never got a phone book and I want to know how to learn if the book was even put in circulation where I live in Edmonton Alberta. Also if it was put out , how many books were delivered as I have not gotten a yellow pages phone book in several years
Dan S ( electrical business)
Thank you in advance for your help

YC says:

GREAT POST!!! I bought a business last June, and never sign any contract with yellow page. But In July 2017, this company keeps billing me ,the only reason is previous owner did not cancel the service after they selling the business. They also add the their bill in my bell invoice .If I did not pay ,the bell company give notice to discontinue the phone service. (yellow page and bell are different company ,how can they do this) .I called bell to explain this issue, the answer is because Yellow page send the invoice to them, so they have to put this in my bill.
I don’t know where can I complain this issue ?

Dana DiTomaso says:

YC, I sent you a separate email about this with some suggestions! I hope it helped.

Travis says:

Good day

I recently advertised with yellow pages in 2015 to 16 without the knowledge of this automatic renewal. Once my listing was complete in sept 2016. I assumed the listing was terminated. 4 months later I recieved an outstanding bill for 4 months of advertising, to my suprise of course. I admitted that I should have ensured that the cancel was done agreed to pay the 4 months outstanding and told them to pull my listing immediatly. Of course they continued to run my add until the full term ended last september. I have refused to pay until they had a collections company named ctl law began to contact me. I had paid the 1500 dollars and change directly to yellow pages but have continued to hear from ctl telling me im being sued and im already on the hook for an additional 1000. I dont understand how yellow pages has confirmed that everything has been paid but yet im continued to be harrassed by this 3rd party legal department. I have began to search for legal assistance but am a new home owner and struggling to come to terms with having to pay anymore out for advertisement that provided zero benefit. Please if anyone can give some kind of direction id be forever grateful as the 1500 already paid plus the 1st 4 month amount is more then anything I can currently afford.

1adagio says:

I have been advertising through YP for years, and I have not seen results. I recently contacted them to cancel the service, and since then I am unable to get through to anyone. When I call, my call is on hold for an hour until it gets redirected to a voice message. It is extremely frustrating to be heard that they need a confirmation in order for them to cancel the service, however we can’t get a hold of them ever since. Any suggestions or advice would be appreciated. Thank you kindly in advance.

dj says:

Hi,
I am the owner of my company. My colleague called and signed up for YP for my company using my name and my credit card information. After a month, I refused to pay and called YP multiple times and stated that i never signed a contract. They sent me to collection. Please help.

bob says:

I don’t think Yellow Media is going down anytime soon. They are an invisible local advertising behemoth with 1.5 million business listings under it’s belt that are ready to be serviced for hyper local online advertising. They also have over 2200 media consultants spread out across Canada selling the same online media services that you offer. By this I mean, pure SEO/SEM, “groupon type” coupons, website design services and HD video advertising that gets SEO’d across the web. Print is becoming a secondary issue as they morph into what is already Canada’s largest Internet company. Not even Google can field that many expert media consultants. I also find it quite interesting that the Google Maps in Canada would be quite useless without the Yellow Pages feeding them 99% of their listings with the most up to date information on them.

Take a look at their smartphone apps for Iphone, Blackberry and Android. Most people in Canada with a smart phone now use this free app. The Ipad app is amazing. With one touch you can get all the local advertising that you could want. Apps like POYNT also use Yellows database of information.

This has become one of my top apps on my iphone and ipad. Cheers!

@ Bob

“Most people in Canada with a smart phone now use this free app.” in reference to the YP app.

You sure about that? Got any data to back this up? I’d be very happy to see this so i could advise my clients on the this 🙂

Also, i agree that YPG isn’t going anywhere, and they do supply Google Local Business with data, but i just cant go along with business practices like this. FUD is never the way to go and as in Internet company, they should be the first to know.

Ana Johnson de Madrid says:

I agree with the previous disillusioned- and worse- ripped-off users of Yellow Pages. To convince me, YP sent me some impressive 1-page websites which I thought would be adequate for my long-standing language service company after my 15-year-old site got “pirated” and put up for sale! The information YP sent for us to fill in was so badly explained that I finally told them to just use info from my longer website to build the 1-pager- UP said they had a “special site-building team”, YP has have been billing me monthly via TELUS for a site I never got and which is much needed as my last site other one was dropped by another mega-company ( GoDaddy ) that did not bother to contact me, personally, other than through dozens of emails sent continuously simply advertising multiple “new” GoDaddy services and we missed their one email demanded another yearly payment for the site. GoD supplied unexciting site building material which I – stupidly!- believed was a one-time payment as they were not asked to do any SEO,! The size of these mega-companies is the problem: they don’t care one iota about small business Clients who have traditionally been the fiber of the business community….but no longer, as we are being squashed!, Worse though are the phone companies like Bell and TELUS billing for YP instead of hearing the myriad grievances from abused or neglected YP customers, And no, I also cannot reach YP management by phone at all, so far and my previous 2018 agents’ extensions no longer exist! SO WHAT CAN WE DO, PLEASE?

RC says:

@ Bob How long have you been working for YP?

Ahhh, Dana. I’m glad to see another has picked up the gauntlet and is valiantly fighting for the defeat of the yellow bullshit.

My particular favourite is when Yellow Pages reps claim to have “merged” with Google. I contacted Google directly about that one. I thought it would be funny if I asked them for the official press release about it.

I have written 2 blog posts now on this crap and tweeted incessantly. Yellow Pages did actually contact me after I left a comment under a press release about YP on MarketingMag.com They absolutely do not monitor their social media but they do check up on their more prominent press releases.

Check out my latest post on SEO benefits (or lack thereof) to having a Yellow Pages ad. You may get a laugh out of it and it might be of interest to your more nervous clients.

Does Online Advertising in YellowPages.ca Improve Google Ranking? http://bit.ly/emVa6E

Keep up the good work. Nice to know we’re not alone. And it’s great to know that Yellow Pages is soooooo clueless about SEO, articles slamming them rank instantly. How do you think I found you?

Dana DiTomaso says:

Thanks for the great comment – I enjoyed your blog piece as well. Nice in-depth analysis.

William Henderson says:

We are having a similar issue. We tried to cancel our service with YP after several months of zero results. We are a small business and we explained to them that we didn’t want a refund for the months that we paid, but we just wanted to cancel the rest of the contract.

Drew says:

@Bob.

No YPG is not going down anytime soon. They’ve amassed a fortune off the backs of SMBs.

Yes yes, at one point they did provide them with a return however their greed and ego made them complacent and caught them asleep at the wheel.

You do know that everything you mentioned that they do “for” these SMBs, websites, HD video etc- ALL belongs to YPG and not the business owners. So they again strong arming the little guy into staying with them, having them become dependent on them and thus providing the fuel for their continuous FUD tactics.

They have the business listings, I get it. I use Poynt and its a great, useful tool. However, it wasn’t YPs solution and by no means is it generating SMBs any sort of relevant income.

They call themselves Canada’s largest Internet company? They’re a print company still trying to become an internet company, plain and simple.
They could have easily, EASILY become a credible and valuable asset to SMBs across Canada if they weren’t so greedy. No reason why Yellowpages.ca couldn’t have taken on the form of a Yelp! No reason why they couldn’t have white labelled their HD video and given the client’s ownership, no reason why they couldn’t have been designing real websites for them and doing SEO, no reason why they couldn’t have created a proper PPC program that drove and tracked results to their client’s ACTUAL websites rather then directing people to their print ads on yellowpages.ca.

They spent billions of dollars (2.5 to be exact) to acquire Superpages in 2005 (?) simply to gain a monopoly on the Canadian market with directories. Talk about shortsighted. Now they’re desperately trying to position themselves as an internet industry authority by preying on the uninformed local business and preying on their reliance on them. “Canada’s largest Internet Company” that can’t properly run PPC campaigns and doesn’t even monitor Twitter? Humorous.

They have the means to be a GREAT asset to the Canadian internet industry and Canadian businesses. The ability to be a respected internet company but like anything, you have to earn it. YP is simply trying to buy it. Get rid of the old (*cough, Marc Tellier) and inject some fresh thinking and new approach to selling.

My 2 cents.

Cheers

j says:

Bob sounds like an YP employee,
I know, I used to be one. Inside the company walls they feed us the rhetoric daily. Whenever I questioned the data compilations or asked what are the strategies for remaining competitive I was shut down. For example using an ad company they own Mediative ( reps can’t sell for Mediative) stats and allowing them to appear as Yellow pages stats. Um maybe I am wrong but I would say that is very misleading.

The reality is things are changing, and they like Blackberry, Yellow Pages are behind the times and show no real signs of catching up. They had the pieces in place to be a market leader. Their profit margin on the old print products was high, and they had little competition ( Canpages took a big chunk so they bought them too) so they are trying to hold on to it and milk it for as long as they can and maintain their share value. Web products have a much smaller margin and are offered everywhere. They began their transition far too late, their own sales reps have been begging for good web products for years but were told “prints not dead, get out and sell”. Whenever a company thinks marketing and salesmanship can overcome poor product development they are in trouble. Just ask Blackberry. Seriously Blackberry, try making a phone that doesn’t suck, everybody else seems to be able to do it.

When Yellow Pages did release web products they were behind the market, buggy and over priced.

They boast about website sales, they never mention how many of those 10,000 websites sold in the first 6 months were actually online and working (it was in the hundreds).
Imagine going in to renew a customer when the website you sold him 6 months ago is still not working and online, try and spin that to a customer that trusted you Marc Tellier.

” They’re a print company still trying to become an internet company, plain and simple.
They could have easily, EASILY become a credible and valuable asset to SMBs”

I totally agree, even a moron could see the transition coming. With a huge sales force, strong brand identity, existing customer relationships, etc,etc they could have been at the forefront of web/online directories and SMB marketing. Now with the market crowded they are arriving too little too late. Don’t pat yourself on the back for growth by comparing yourself to other company’s failing to transition as well.

Here is a great article.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/rob-magazine/how-did-yellow-medias-stock-go-from-17-to-17-cents/article559444/?page=all

I will say working for them was very frustrating, my customers trusted me and often bought based on my word, unfortunately Yellow Pages usually failed to deliver. I enjoy helping businesses grow and market themselves, Yellow Pages was not the place for me to do that.

I will say that unless some MAJOR changes are made Yellow Pages Media will not make it in the next edition of Jim Collins – GOOD TO GREAT. The Yellow Pages story is a perfect fit for a follow up if Sydney Finkelstein does a follow up to his great book WHY SMART EXECUTIVES FAIL.
No I do not receive anything to promote those books, I just wish Marc had read them a few years ago.

Yong says:

Finally I cancelled all the ads with YPG, a great saving of thousand dollars a year. Their online ads is useless, and their services were awful. No more wasting money on Yellow Pages, business owners!

YP advertising in print, or online, is an enormous waste of money. The company salespersons deliberately mislead when selling their “service”, usually to administrators who dont’ really understand what they’re signing up for. The cost for these services are ridiculous – $1000 a year to have your name appear in Bold in a print directory. $500 per month for a oneline-listing at YP.ca which (in our case), appreard about 300 items down in the category. The contract deliberately says nothing on cancellation on the customers’ part (which they interpret as no cancellation possible) but rambles on about unilateral cancellation on their part. It took months of endless calls and stalling on YP part to cancel some of our “services”. This shady operation is one giant rip-off.

Thanks for this article. I am going to link it on my web site. Beyond the issues you mentioned, there is also the harassment and horrible service Yellow Pages provides. They harass my clients making the same claims mentioned in your article. Then once they are in a contract provide horrible service. I had one new client that told me she had been trying to get them to update the phone number on the Google Business listing YP setup for over a year. I wish there was a way that your article could show up on any Yellow Pages related search. It’s generally too late by the time my clients come to me looking for work because they have fallen for this crap. Thanks.

Jen Salamandick says:

YP — endlessly frustrating…

Kat says:

Great post! Couldn’t agree more. More and more business owners come out with YP horror stories. Spending thousands of dollars in advertising with YP gets them nothing but telemarketing phone calls. Which YP proudly puts in the leads column.

Thank you for speaking up on this rising issue Dana!

Dana, If I already have a yellow page website and decide to build another one myself with a different domain name, will it be detrimental to my business as far as SEO ranking with google? What is the best course of action, because my google ranking with the yellow page site is horrible.

Thanks,

Dana DiTomaso says:

Hi Terry! Can you get the domain name from Yellow Pages and build your new site at that domain? It’s probably not a good idea to have two sites for your business at two different domain names. That can cause issues further down the road.

So… how do I cancel my contract with YP? For all the reasons mentioned above, I want out of my contract before it gets renewed for another year. Any advice?

Dana DiTomaso says:

You should be able to not renew your contract when it’s up (which should be right around now). If you hired YP to do your website design or anything else, make sure you understand what you have access to before you end the contract, though.

Doris says:

Hello! This is a very usefull post! I want to explain you my situation and see what you think. I have an online store, I’m not good with publicity on internet so i decided to try Yellow Pages. They offer me a lot of “listings in different web pages” with a contract of one year but when i checked my analytics i saw i got cero traffic thanks to Yellow Pages so i decided to cancel the contract since i’m paying for nothing plus i’m closing the store, also i saw the famous web pages that they use to list my web site and honestly i never saw that web sites before. But now they want to force me to pay the montly fee until the end of the year even if i don’t use it!!! It’s there a way to avoid this? I would appreciate a LOT your opinion. Have a good day!

Dana DiTomaso says:

Hi Doris! I’m sorry to hear you’re in this situation. Check for a cancellation clause. They also have an auto-renewal clause in some contracts so watch out for that.

Cat says:

Hi I have been paying for YP ad for a number of years and debating to cancel my contract. My contract renewed end of august this year and they renewed it automatically, even though I spoke to them and asked to give me a day to decide if I am renewing. Due to some personal issues I am currently dealing with I totally forgot. I got the bill this morning and contacted YP, they said I have a limited time to cancel my renewal. My question: I am not getting the traffic I thought I would from my ad so I wanted to check what page I would be found on google from my YP link, I can’t find it. How would I go about searching for this YP ad? I am not very internet minded. thanks

Dana DiTomaso says:

Hi Cat — you would have to get that from your YP rep unfortunately. Sorry we can’t help more!

Has anyone else been tricked into a contract with yellow pages? They offered our new business a 30 day free trial when we started up in the spring. We asked specifically that we would not have to sign up for a contract for the trial. We had refused their offer on many calls before since out business is only open for 6 months of the year and they only had a 12 month contract. The sales rep assured us it was just a trial and they would let us know how much their service helped us at the end and if we were happy would could sign up for the contract then. They started the recording after that conversation and locked us into a 12 month contract, with no free month, for a total of over $3000. If talked to senior managers and numerous other staff and they hold on tight to that recording being a valid contract and there is no way for us to cancel. I have one other business so far that had the same tactic used on them. I’m looking for more people out there with this experience. I want to fight this and the more of us the better.

Jackie says:

The exact same thing happened to us been fighting to get out of it for months. They just keep sending us a bill in the mail that we said we are not paying since it was supposed to be a trail and so on just like you said.

Dana DiTomaso says:

Hi Jackie — Let us know if you do manage to get out of paying it!

Teraka jones says:

Up doing me the same way got Lawyer’s calling and sending emails threatened me if I don’t pay they can take my house car ect.i been cancelled the contract.they saying I owe them 4,000 sum dollars .xo you know anyone that can help me with this.

Frank says:

I’m in the exact same situation Stephanie. I insited that I wouldn’t agree to their offer until I reviewed the terms by email. Now, after over a year of them demanding payments for advertising I never agreed to, I’m getting calls from CTL Legal Professional Corporation claiming I owe over $2000 and will file a claim in court against me unless I settle. They are willing to accept $1600 out of court. Lol!
Has anyone taken this to court? How do they manage to keep these bogus sales tactics going?

neil says:

Yes. They used the same one month free tactic to have our business agree to a one year contract. It was paid and cancelled but months later got another invoice. Account was not cancelled when we were told it was. This should go to CBS go public. The whole country should know about this.

Wilson says:

Great article Dana, I hadn’t realized that YP was up to this type of marketing. Good Info!

Stephanie. I am dealing with the same issue. I asked if he could call me back in 3 month, gave me some nonsense on how in order for him to call me back he needs my consent even tho i had asked him to stop calling me yet he called almost daily. After i agreed for him to call me back he used that as me agreeing to the contract and started charging me 3 months later with no phone call like we agreed upon. I tried talking to management but the numbers i get aren’t connected and when i finally get one that works I am forced to leave a message and they never get back. For some reason they can’t send me auto that works. I have a Mac and they say it won’t work on a mac. these are there people who are suppose to set something up on a computer yet they can’t use one. Does anyone know if a voice recording is an actual binding contract even when they refuse to prove it?

Dana DiTomaso says:

Hi Justin! I’m going to put you in touch with Stephanie. We emailed privately after she left her comment and I think you could benefit from what she’s working on to get out of her contract.

We would recommend speaking with a lawyer to see if a voice recording is a legally binding contract.

Hey. We are in a very similar situation to some of the last commenters. After asking them how they got our business name and info (surprise: Google!) they went on and managed to get a “yes I agree” recording from something we said… When we were surprised with an e-bill for $55 we sent an email saying we had not made a contract. They emailed back a couple weeks later with a recording of us “agreeing” to a year long contract. Are they editing voice recordings?? We sent a letter by registered mail today to say that they must immediately cancel any contract they have with our business as we had no intention of getting into a contract with them and won’t be paying. Will this work, do you think?

Dana DiTomaso says:

Hi Rose — you are not the first person to tell us this. The registered letter may not work. You may need to speak to a lawyer.

So YP contacted me offering to put me at the top of the local search . Blah blah blah . Not one call. Don’t get me wrong … if I got business off YP I would pay monthly , but as a small business owner , paying yellow pages is like paying an employee that’s supposed to make you money just to sit around all day: so I’m avoiding them. Until I see results . Has anyone been threatens they’re going to involve a lawyer and I’ll be paying the court fees ? That’s where I’m at as of right now .

Dana DiTomaso says:

Hi Brock! Another commenter here is working on a possible lawsuit. I will put the two of you in touch.

Allison says:

YP did the same auto renewal crap with me even though I told the Sales Rep that I did not want to continue to advertise with them. I have used their services for over 10 years with no great return on my investment. I called YP when I received a bill from them with much surprise since I said NO and they said that my Sales Rep no longer works for them and that the contract is binding. Please connect me with anyone that has had success fighting this rip off company. This is not how customers should be treated.

I just had an incredibly uncomfortable time with YP’s collections today. They tell me I had verbally agreed to a new contract extension. The collections guy I spoke with told me there was nothing conclusive about my recorded agreement so it was going to a higher contract monitoring dept. (or something like that) It might take 2-3 weeks to find out if I had indeed agreed verbally to take the contract. My contract was coming up Feb 1st and I had been discussing with them for a few months changes I wanted to make, category changes and company name & detail changes. I had been wasting $23 month last year with them. Over the past few months we were discussing details while I kept asking my new rep to give me alternative pricing for the different levels, she keep coming back to the package I had @ $55. saying I had discussed and agreed to take with some other sales rep a few months ago on the phone. Quoting her on one one email: “You’ve agreed to a package of OBST2” I was thinking all the while we would get to a conclusion amicably like most business dealings. I thought he was giving me options and we were discussing them initially a few months ago. No where was I informed my conversion or our discussion was legally binding. They are telling me like everyone here that I agreed verbally to the $55 month contract. Making matters worse is that most of the companies in my category above me (mississauga decks) I doubt are paying anything. Top website has no details and is deleted. They have no customers, that is why the big adverts lately for companies to join Yellow Pages free.
I would like to contribute money if you would like to get some adwords going on this article you wrote. There must be more people in this situation. I think YP are in trouble and this is their last fight using real tough ‘cookies’ to get the contracts in.
This was thankfully the only article I found. Comforting in a strange way to read these other similar comments in a way.
This is really terrible business for such a high profile company.
I had no idea who I was dealing with! They were different last year and the years before that.
Allow my contact info to anyone with ideas to fight this.
Thank you all so much!

Jen Salamandick says:

Hi Brian,

Thank you for sharing your story. I’ll be in touch via email and will hopefully be able to connect you with some of the other commenters on this post.

Someone claiming to be from Yellow Pages Group called my client, asking for ~ $450. This was after registering for the “free” listing. I immediately thought it was a scam. After doing some research, even if does turn out to be “legit”, it still qualifies as a scam in my books!

Anyway, I asked my client to cancel/reverse the payment. Should we be expected some BS like has been mentioned here already?

Jen Salamandick says:

Chris,

Thanks for sharing your YP experience here. I really hope that you and your client are able to avoid the expense and frustration that the rest of the crew here has had to deal with.

Good stuff right here Dana. YP is seriously the worst. As an SEO myself, it’s very hard to talk local businesses out of using YP when the company uses such misleading business practices. I can’t tell you how much clients I’ve missed out on because of the domain name contract.

The very fact that YP rents out websites and doesn’t actually give the owner control is enough for me to consider them a dying company. Looking forward to the day that it shuts down, but unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be coming anytime soon.

How do you deal with a potential client with a YP site? Just wait until the contract expires, or go ahead and make them another site? Would be great to hear how you handle it.

Jen Salamandick says:

Mohammad,

With a very comprehensive migration strategy, and yes usually after a contract is over. It’s frustrating for sure!

Thanks for the reply. We’ll see how it goes. The “verbal contract” seems to be in conflict with the existing contract I already have with my client. Also, my client was confused, thinking the call was related to my work. I’ve filed a complaint with the BBB, and will also file a complaint with the provincial consumer protection agency.

I’ll never do any business with YPG or its subsidiaries ever again!

We too fell victim to YP’s FUD Gestapo tactics. Advertising with them for a year with little to no noticeable results. At renewal time we were aggressively lured into a renewal and upgraded package with promises of more traffic to our web site. Disputing with customer service on several occasions saying that we agreed to something which in fact we did not; saying that they had recorded verbal proof of a commitment to them and there was no getting out of another annual contract. We asked for a copy of these ‘recording’s so we can validate this ‘proof’ which they never did supply. Long story short, we will never advertise with YP’s again. A years’ worth of wasted advertising budget for next to no results. Very unprofessional company. In the end you are paying for customers to ‘proxy’ threw their web presence. YP’s has become a dinosaur trying to avoid sinking into the inevitable tar pit of their demise. Avoid like the plague.

This group at YP are a complete joke.I would like to know how you get out of this contract.Now they have a different phone # saying it’s call tracking for us to know how many call are coming in.I have had this business for 15 years and everyone knows the #.I said I don’t want this number up and don’t want this service.No where on there recording does it say anything about the contract would this be renewed.I can not even get a straight answer of when the contract started.They say get hold of [email protected] there legal team.Is there more people out there that would like to go public on these jokers.Thanks D

Well thank you very much for a well written article. Using the information from the OP and all the people submitting comments, I was able to very effectively put YP in their place. Just one letter is all it took. if anyone is looking for pointers, just ensure you state right at the start that you are dissatisfied with the product/service, and not satisfied with a very poor ROI. Also state that their sales tactics are very vague, and the most effective (For those who YP created a “Landing Page” for) is to state that they failed to put webmaster contact information on the “page/Site” to report errors and omissions. No fuss or fight from them. Compliance in less than 48 hours. Good luck to all!

Dana DiTomaso says:

Thanks for the feedback! We’re really glad it worked out for you and we’ll point others to this comment.

Al says:

I’m in the same boat as everyone. YP entered me into a verbal contract. I called them to cancel and they sent me a recording stating that i agreed to a 1 year contract. I called their claim dept and same thing. Did anybody go public or have a lawsuit that i can join in?
They (YP) don’t have any payment info from me. Every time they send me a bill, I send it right back to them.

Dana DiTomaso says:

Hi Al — there was talk of a lawsuit but I haven’t heard back from the original commenter who was going to get that started. One thing I am suggesting is to talk to a lawyer and get them to send a “go away” letter. Perhaps that would help?

Brittney says:

Hi, I was looking to get more information on this. I am also in a 1 year verbal agreement and have reached out to them several time to no avail. They did send me a copy of my “verbal contact” yesterday after calling me to see why I had not paid. I need advice! 🙁

Jennifer says:

Hi there,
We are at the beginning stages of this process. Can anyone provide a letter that they used successfully?

Amy says:

Hi Dana, thanks for your blog. I am so ticked off right now. As a small service company with no real website experience and zero budget to hire someone, we got suckered by yellow pages. They offered free website and promised the world all for a contracted $900 per month. Well, we got very free responses for a year and things got so bad that we couldn’t pay our phone bill and cancelled our phone service. It ended up ok in the end. Handled the ph # change and a lady in the office put a website together and did her own SEO and we are now getting 10-15 times more web responses. We learned a very valuable lesson. DONT USE YELLOW PAGES. THEY ARE USELESS!!!

Dana DiTomaso says:

Thanks for your comment, Amy! I’m sorry to hear you went through all that but your site looks fantastic now. We’re glad you’re back on track.

I recently sent an email regarding a major issue regarding Yellow Pages business practices to the consumer protection gov. BC.

In brief:

I was contacted over 30 times to advertise with this company.

The sales rep used Extremely high pressure sales tactics to finally get me to say yes.

Was made to agree to a verbal contract over the phone even after saying I wanted to have them send me a email stating what I would get.

Was told I would get 30 or more calls from this advertising. (Didn’t get one call or hit in my SEO)

Couldn’t find my advertising on-line or on their website.

Told them I felt under extreme pressure as a new business owner to work with them and told them to stop calling many again over 30 times.

I was in a meeting with a client and strapped for time when I got the final call and felt under duress when I finally said yes but wanted to see what I would get first.

Also was told I would be on the first page and again never could even find my advertising

I was also never given a log in to right description so on.

Please respond back to me via email and look forward to speaking to someone.

Subsequently they have taken me to collects and and again harassing my company with 5 calls a day.

Looking into legal action as now they have sent my company to colections for over $3500.00

Let me know if anyone has experienced this type of business practice, and what else I can do?

Dana DiTomaso says:

Hi Chris! Unfortunately, many of the commenters here have had a very similar experience. I would recommend speaking to a lawyer or paralegal who specializes in small claims court, if possible.

We are having the same trouble with yellow pages taking something we said and putting into a verbal contract. Numerous phone calls and emails and they won’t cancel it
We never agreed to any of their advertising. I have been battling with them since October 2016. Anyone have any luck getting them to stop billing and cancel contract?

Jen Salamandick says:

Sorry you are experiencing YP issues, Laura! It seems fairly rare that people are able to get out of these bizarre contracts — a few of the commenters here have tried taking legal action, to varying degrees of success. We hope you find a way to get out!

Sometime in March, I was contacted by these guys….

Let it be known:

Sales rep did NOT explain price per month of service, how long service would be, did NOT mention a ‘oral contract’ nor the length of the contract.

I said that I would NOT be looking to purchase anything at this time and that was when he suggested that I did not have to pay anything until April 15 and would only have to pay after that if I decided to go ahead with the service. In that respect, I agreed…basically he made it sound like I could cancel anytime before the ad was posted. He asked me what my business name would be and so on and so on…

Got an email saying my ad was going up on April 15, to my surprise. So I phoned customer service to request cancelling the ad.

1st customer service rep said I couldn’t cancel, even though I requested, and said I had been locked into an oral contract even though the sales rep (who made no mention of such a contract, nor a price or length) told me that I would not have to pay anything until April 15 and I had that time to decide if I wanted the services. She told me to hold the line while she listened to my initial conversation with the sales rep. She got back 2 min later, (my conversation with the sales rep was approximately 10-15 mins) and said that I had indeed been asked by the sales rep if I ‘agreed’ to the terms and conditions and that I had said ‘yes’. This is not only a fabrication, but a blatant lie as he made no mention of terms of conditions to me and did not request that I review them or ask if I wished to hear them. She said she would send me a copy of the recording.

2nd CSR said that the 1st put a cancellation in for next year 2018, but I would still be liable for the 12 months. She again said she would listen to the conversation I had with the sales rep, got back to me 2 mins later and this time she said that the sales rep indeed mentioned the price, length, and conditions of oral contract. Absolutely a blatant lie! I told her that I was not made aware of a contract, nor the price or length of contract and that as an uninformed individual, a verbal contract was not possible. She said she would have her sales rep phone me, I declined and said I wanted the manager. She said it would take 2 business days for the manager to get back to me. I never received a call back. I also never received a copy of the recording that they said they would email, as well.

It also should be noted that I do not own a business, they contacted me via an ad I put up on kijiji looking for side jobs. I am not licensed to do business in my jurisdiction, nor am I registered. I do not possess a GST number…I did not provide them with any payment information, nor did I provide them with my address…but yet somehow, someway, just today, I got my first invoice for $75 dollars. 🙁

Hello everyone. I wrote on this wall a while ago and see yp is still scamming.
I was tricked in to agreeing to this contract. Their tech personal was unable to get me a recording i could open on my mac… I know right… They gave me a phone number that was not connected. Then after I called back the rep denied it was till she finally dialled it herself. She then told me she will leave a message and he would call me back. Still waiting now at 375 days. I then got a call from the ” legal department”. I told them I was tricked in to agreeing and that the ENTIRE CONTRACT was not read to me WORD for WORD. Which I’m pretty sure is how these contract thingys are suppose to work. They left me alone after that!!!! Until yesterday. They want to take me personally to small claims. I closed my business months ago it was a limited company. They are still advertising it. I don’t know about you but if someone isn’t paying for my services I no longer provide them. Anyways. I’m lawyered up now and I want to see what can be done about this. I’ll let you all know what happens.

Dana DiTomaso says:

Thanks for the update, Justin! Let us know how it goes.

Bob says:

I have been working in the SEO and website industry for many years now and have seen many things and I have to say that a lot of smaller SEO/Website agencies are just as bad if not worse than Yellow Pages in some cases. I have seen them charge many thousands of dollars for a website for a small business that is practically useless.

As a small business owner these days you can build and optimize your own website for a fraction of what yellow pages, SEO’s, and other agencies charge. You just have to educate yourself.

I also own a small business myself and advertise online with YP and I do get leads from them. I can show you emails from people who have found me from yellowpages.ca. It’s not many because we don’t spend a lot with them but in order to be successful these days the reality is that we need to make sure our business is found everywhere. I also built and optimized my own page 1 ranking website for less than $100.00 with hosting for only $10.00 per month. Like I said all you need to do is educate yourself. There is a learning curve but once you have it you are good to go.

As for people complaining about getting locked into a contract due to shady sales tactics, I have to say that, while there are many sales people these days who “embellish” what they have to offer due to targets on their own backs, perhaps it was also your greed that may have helped you get into the contract in the first place. If an offer sounds too good to be true then don’t buy it. Research what they are offering and then make sure you are comfortable with your decision about going forward with them with your eyes wide open. I have yet to meet a sales rep that tells the whole truth and nothing but the truth..LOL!

I also seriously doubt that an organization that has probably been around for over a hundred years would still be in existence if all they did was scam people everyday.

I have to say that I researched their new website offering and it looks very solid and certainly is very competitive in the industry.

Jen Salamandick says:

Hey Bob (or is it Bruce),

You’re right — we often see small business who have been taken advantage of by design agencies and freelance designers. Usually in similar ways to how we see YP customers being taken advantage of!

It’s tough to place the blame on people for not realizing that something is “too good to be true” in this case, when that’s not really what the commenters above you are upset about. The sales pitch / acceptance / agreement method that YP uses is questionable at best and has resulted in many small businesses being locked into contracts that they did not explicitly agree to.

How does a business that has been around for so long continue to exist if it is a scam? With threats, mostly. If you try to cancel YP, you’re told that you will lose your rankings completely, or that you don’t actually own your website OR your domain — so you’ll have to start over. People feel like they have no other choice but to stick with YP. Unfortunately, all too often, this works — at least until people find each other in the comments here and work towards a joint lawsuit.

Or until they start working with an agency or freelancer who understands how the Internet works now, and will ensure that your website will be sustainable into the future, without having to pay YP FOREVER.

Anyways, glad you have had a good experience with your $10/month hosting and your $100 website!

george says:

Hi,
I never got scammed by them, but i know lots of businesses in my home town that got scamed.

Daimon says:

Yes, I also was scammed into “getting” a contract verbally. I thought I was getting a contract to look over not agreeing to an impromptu contract immediately. Either way I asked to cancel within 30 days which I was told by them I had to cancel with in because the written terms came after to so called agreed verbal contract. So here is the thing… Yp breached my contract by a recorded verbal term. Sent a letter to their legal department to nullnify the agreement as a breach but I still am being billed after two months. It looks like I have no choice but take legal action. Does anyone know even who YP to send court papers even too? I think this company Yellowpages is now Federally committing corperate crimes but I cannot be sure. I can prove all of this of course. Cheers

jeffery says:

I have read all the comments and What happened to everyone else exactly happened to me. Brutal outfit.
> Claimed I entered a verbal contract
>I called to say I did not want any services… Claimed I could not cancel until after 1 yr
> E -bills monthly for $50ish
Same as everyone else.
So here’s the thing I did not have a company set up. Only a website with a name of a potential company. They don’t really know who I specifically am. It is now in a collection company hands and they call leaving messages. I don’t respond.
SO my question. If there was never a company with a registered name, limited or incorporated, and I am some voice on the phone with a name others have…. How do they ever collect? Any thoughts from anyone?

Jenny says:

I am dealing with this kind of problem with YP now , so terrible with SEO service!

Chris says:

Another YP horror story with possibly a little better ending (still ongoing). we have sent letters, emails and voice calls for the last 2.5 years trying to cancel our YP contract. The letters they claim they never received. The emails they claim they never received, the voice calls, they claim they forwarded our concern to our account manager and that our account manager followed up with us and we wanted to continue our services and that they have recorded proof of this. I asked for this proof but they were unable to supply. They are so incredibly sneaky and deceptive in there business dealings. We finally stopped paying in May of 2017 after sending a registered letter advising them of our long hard road trying to cancel our contract. I stated in the letter that they must cease and desist all communication with us or I would take this to every news outlet at our disposal and bring in our company lawyers (not sure if the lawayers could do much). 1 month passes without a YP bill, 2 and 3 months pass with a YP bill. I was so proud…thought I had beaten them and they were finally realising their mistakes. Come January 2018, we receive a call from a collection company that YP hired. Demanding $4800.00 to resolve this matter immediately before further legal action is taken. They pretend to be a law firm by the way but they are just a collection agency and the owner is a lawyer. My draw just about hit the ground. Being who I am always up for a good fight so I explained to the collection agency my attempt at cancelling my YP contract for the last 2.5 – 3 years. Waste of time that was. They still insisted on $4800.00 or they would be proceeding with legal action. I had a half hour meeting with our lawyer about this situation and discovered the following. We are in B.C. and YP and the debt collector are in Ontario. In order to get a judgement against us they would have to sue us in small claims court in B.C. He said it’s unlikely they would send someone out but they may have colleagues in Vancouver who could act on there behalf. I also found out that the actual amount owing was $3800 and the debt collector tacked on a fee $1000.00…WOW!!!.
The lawyer also advised not to be intimidated by going to small claims court. The judges are usually very reasonable to reasonable people and while they are required to follow the law, if you can show your attempts at trying to cancel the contract, this will be taken into high consideration. Also they can not sue for costs over the actual debt owed. so $4800.00 is automatically out of the question. He also stated that the YP group will try and show that we have still been generating revenue as our ad is still in the YP. While I don’t think YP brings in even .01% of our revenue, it’s a tough one to prove one way or the other. Basically at the end of the meeting he asked if I would be comfortable paying 2K to make it go away. He was pretty confident that they would accept $2000. I told the debt collector I am willing to pay the 2K and she replied that she can’t go below $3800. already knocked $1000 off the initial bill. I stayed firm and simply told her I will pay no more than 2K and that she should proceed with whatever legal action they deem necessary. Next day I get a phone call and her so called boss has agreed to settle this for $2800. Wow! $2000.00 reduction in 2 days. Still I stayed firm on my 2K. A few hour later she cam back that their final offer without proceeding with legal action is $2480. Don’t ask why the $80(probably some psychological thing). $2320 off the original bill in 2 days. I finally was making some headway and felt they were actually being reasonable now. I jokingly but seriously told her to make it $2400 even and I will agree. I guess she felt that since I went up from 2K to $2400 she had me and she tells me now she cant go below $2480. That this is her absolute minimum she can accept. I said “I look forward to seeing you in small claims court” or Civil Resolution Tribunal as it’s under $5000.00. It’s something relatively new my lawyer told me about in B.C. Suddenly she had a new figure $2452.80. I am not kidding here. I stood firm saying that I already came up to $2400 from 2K and that is it. She’s like “really you want this to go on for $52.” I said “that works both ways doesn’t it. She now has to talk her boss to see if he will agree to $2400.00. I actually hope they don’t because my next offer will be $1000.00 and I’m pretty confident that if the tribunal sees that I offered them $2400.00 and they didn’t accept, it will look very bad on there part. I expect to get a phone call back tomorrow about this.Sorry for the very long story. Just want you to now to not be scared by there scare tactics. Any reasonable judge that sees you made an effort to cancel will throw out their claim. Just bring in evidence of all the horror stories with people experiencing the same cancellation problems.

Chris says:

1 month passes without a YP bill, 2 and 3 months pass with a YP bill
It should read 2and 3 months pass without a YP bill

Steven says:

Hi Chris,

So how it is going, is there any update on your side? I would appreciate if you provide us with any update on your case!

Thank you!

Dirk says:

The Dex YP reps are now selling marketing automation software branded as “thryv.” Anyone know anything about it?

Lorne says:

We never agreed to renew our YP phone book advertising for this year for our company. Their sales rep. talked to us once on the phone about renewing our advertising. We told him that we were too busy and to call back in the near future and to talk to us { the owners } about the YP renewal. He called back when we were not at our business and talked to one of our employees. He never talked to us as we instructed him to. Next thing we know, we are on the hook for another year of YP phone book advertising. Advertising that we did not agree to. So we have not paid the bills and Bell YP are now threatening legal action through their collection division. We are not going to pay this bill as the YP rep. never talked to us as instructed prior to the renewal. Further we were never made aware that if we didn’t renew by a certain date then the service would be “auto re-newed.” We are looking into our legal rights on this issue at this point. WOW— what a unethical, unprofessional thing to do. They are being bullies ! Another reason why one shouldn’t get into a small business.

Tannia van Camp says:

I need help we are served with a law sued from yellow pages we are in Flori and law sued is from Georgia can someone recommend me an Attorney

Sandra says:

I am wondering if anybody in Calgary has hired a lawyer who has successfully defended them against Yellow pages???

Martin says:

I down size my add in the yellow pages over this past few years and my business never lost anything. should of done this a long time a go yellow pages are going to be like the dodo bird a thing of the past. Martin

Ashley Fulton says:

Hi guys, has anyone had any success fighting their YP contract? It seems as though we all have similar stories as far as getting tricked into a yr agreement. We are a small business and this contract could potentially put us under. Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated!

destiny bornau says:

Hello,

I am a small business owner. I make less then 30 000 dollars a year and am currently struggling with raising a 3 month old all on my own no child support. I attempted to stop the yp contract i was unaware that it was legally binding when agreeing over the phone. I was so excited counting down the days when id no longer pay for a useless service. When i surprisingly called only to find I had been automatically renewed for the next year. The lady wouldnt allow me to speak to higher authority.Im so shocked and disgusted at this companies tactics. Anyone interested in helping me battle this email me [email protected]

Carlos says:

Thanks every one to share your case, the YP seller told me that i will be not able to handle all jobs the yellow pages will send me getting $150 monthly. and guess what ? 6 months later no one single customer referral one YP. I refuse to pay, and a lady from collection told me that I’m stupid if be leave everything the seller told me, she told me, the seller will told you anything to convince you, and now she will do whatever it is to charge me because i have a voice contract.
the seller give me his email and direct contact number because he will help me, and answers any question i have in the future. guess what? he never answer me or helped me.

so please no not enroll to Yellow pages.

jordan hong says:

last year, i got a phone call from RedFlagDeals owned by Yellow Pages(that is what they told me)
they said they can put some ads local section in redflagdeals $350 per months. and they aggressively lead to say “YES” on verbal contract.
i didnt even have real business when they called me. i was trying to build up business, they found me few ads on kijiji i put. it was like home-based parttime window tinting service job.

English is my second language, i couldnt understand whole thing what they talk on the phone,
so i told them, “when i start the real business with company name and license, probably i will do.”
And they led me to say yes on ‘verbal agreement’

after few months, they sent invoice starts from 2017 march. i ignored couple months, because ads wasnt on RedflagDeal website. one day they called me and threatened me in order to get paid from me.

i kept ignored for 2years, now they found me my real name(cuz i told them my english name which is not legal name) and sent to cgc collection. they called yesterday.

now i really afraid of what they are doing to me. what should i do?
thank you for helping me! hope you understand my english.

Robyn Kaufman says:

Yellow pages billed me (relentlessly) for an ad which they never ran. I have a credit of over $800 which has been owed to me for years. They say they will refund the payment but they never do send a cheque. It’s six months since they last promised to send the refund. Over and above this, my business has been harmed because I did not receive the advertising which I purchased. Do you know how I go about suing them? I am in northern Ontario.

Cesar Maciel says:

I am locked in contract with YP. They said they would give me 1 month free trial and never agreed to anything and then they started billing me 141dollars a month. I called and they couldn’t cancel it. Its locked for 12 months! I asked for a lower monthly subscription then…they gave me $82 still a lot of money. Can I cancel it saying I dont have business anymore? Please, if anyone can share. I want to completely cancel it.

Thanks!

Scott Logan says:

Yellow Pages is organized crime treating small business as their ATM. I am wondering why the Federal authorities haven’t shut them down or a class action suit hasn’t been filed in every province. I called to cancel the “service” in October of 2016 after one full year of no leads or traffic. The only contact I received from YP prior was a rep asking me to add more key words at more money. At this point I was told that I couldn’t cancel because of an automatic renewal clause. “If I hadn’t actively cancelled in May, 90 days prior to the end the one year period, I was committed to another full year”. In December after getting no where, I called “customer service” and asked for a supervisor. I talked to the supervisor and was told that Legal would be the next step. I asked to be handed over to Legal and she admitted that she was Legal (Very revealing that customer service department is being run by the legal department.) I have had a Collection Agency and a Law firm contact me. Then after wasting time explaining the situation to the muscle, I have YP re-start sending invoices to my email with more interest added on just a few months ago. I am not going to pay these crooks another dime.

Dan says:

Yellowpages is a very poorly run business. They only well run part of their business is running with your money. I do not trust them. Called and was told my account was canceled only to have it auto renew and invoiced. The last call was being put on hold and call lasted 55 minutes, most of it was listening to awful phone music. Maybe they do not have the resources to provide customer service as their team of Twightlight Zone disconnected from reality employes have less than a clue. My guess is they put you on hold hoping you go away in frustration.

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