Attorney General Jackley Warns of Influx in Yellow Page Directory Scams

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Monday, February 2, 2015

PIERRE, S.D – Attorney General Marty Jackley confirms that the Consumer Protection Division has received complaints from several small businesses and schools across South Dakota who have received solicitations that appear to be invoices from the local Yellow Page Directory. The invoices typically contain the “walking fingers” logo and the name “Yellow Pages”, but these are likely not the directory that most have grown accustom.

“Some independent companies produce alternative business directories which itself is not illegal. However, the practice of sending an invoice to a business hoping to receive payment for something that was not a legitimate transaction is a deceptive trade practice,” said Jackley.

The solicitations are very deceptive. They often include an account representative’s name that tricks the consumer into thinking there is an established relationship. The words “THIS IS NOT A BILL” may appear on the invoice, but returning it may commit the consumer to a future bill. Read the invoice carefully, including the terms and conditions.

If it is a solicitation, the consumer has no obligation to pay the invoice amount. The United States Postal Service requires the following disclaimer to be on all solicitations, so consumers should look for it on the "invoice:" THIS IS NOT A BILL. THIS IS A SOLICITATION. YOU ARE UNDER NO OBLIGATION TO PAY THE AMOUNT STATED ABOVE UNLESS YOU ACCEPT THIS OFFER.

It is important to read the invoice carefully, including the terms and conditions and do not hesitate to ask where the directories will be distributed and who will be receiving copies. If you still question the legitimacy of the ad contact the local Yellow Pages to determine if they are associated with the company sending the invoice.