For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
Date: April 26, 2006
Attorney General Obtains Refunds in Deceptive Yellow Pages Solicitation
(Boise) – Idaho consumers and businesses will receive refunds from Yellow Pages, Inc., as a result of a legal settlement, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said today.
In order to receive a refund, eligible consumers and businesses must file a written claim with the Attorney General. The claim must be received in the Attorney General’s Office by June 21, 2006.
In a lawsuit against Yellow Pages, Inc., a Nevada corporation, Attorney General Wasden alleged that the company violated the Idaho Consumer Protection Act by sending deceptive solicitations to Idaho consumers and small businesses. Yellow Pages, Inc., is an independent publisher of regional business-to-business and Internet telephone directories and is not affiliated with any telephone company or other telephone directories.
The solicitations consisted of a check for a small amount of money, usually less than $4.00, payable to the consumer or business. The checks included language in fine print above the endorsement signature line stating: “Please list my company’s information as shown on this check on the Yellow Pages, Inc. website www.YellowPages.com. I am over 18 and authorized to place this advertisement by depositing this check and by doing so I agree to pay the fee for the advertisement which is $179 per year, billed in advance, according to the terms which were enclosed with this check.”
Yellow Pages, Inc., has acknowledged that it mailed the check to more than 250 Idaho addresses. The Attorney General’s Office received 22 written complaints from Idaho consumers or businesses that were billed for advertising they did not want.
“Although solicitations such as the free checks provided by Yellow Pages, Inc., are common, they are illegal in Idaho because they are deceptive and misleading,” Attorney General Wasden said. “Anytime someone unexpectedly sends you money in the mail, you should be suspicious. There is usually a catch, and it is usually in the fine print. Businesses don’t give away money just to be nice.”
The settlement requires Yellow Pages, Inc., and Electronic Directories Company, LLC, a sister company, to provide a refund to any Idaho consumer who cashed the check and paid for advertising services they did not wish to receive.
To request a refund, Idaho businesses and consumers must file a written claim. The claim must be received in the Attorney General’s Office no later than June 21, 2006. Claims received after June 21, 2006, may not be honored by Yellow Pages, Inc.
Claim forms are available on the Consumer Settlements section of the Attorney General’s web site. You can also obtain a claim form by calling or writing to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit. In the Boise area, the number to call is (208) 334–2424. Idaho residents outside the Boise calling area may call toll–free: (800) 432–3545. The mailing address is Office of the Attorney General, Consumer Protection Unit, P.O. Box 83720, Boise, ID 83720–0010.
The defendants represent that no negative reports were given to any credit reporting service as a result of any individual or business not paying for the advertising services. Wasden encouraged any Idaho consumer or business believing that a negative credit report was provided to contact the Consumer Protection Unit at the telephone numbers above.
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