release -- Thursday, December 18, 1997
Contact: Bob Brammer, Attorney General's Office, 515-281-6699, or
John Skoglund or Linda Jensen, Postal Inspection Service, 515-253-9060
Iowa Businesses are Receiving "Yellow Page"
General Tom Miller and Postal Inspectors urge businesses to study invoices
before paying. The officials emphasize that the "Yellow Pages" name and
the "walking fingers" symbol are not copyrighted or trade-marked.
Solicitations that Look Like Invoices
Attorney General Tom Miller and the Des Moines office of the U.S. Postal
Inspection Service today warned Iowa businesses that solicitations that
appear much like "Yellow Pages" invoices apparently are being received
by businesses all over Iowa.
"We fear that many
Iowa businesses may automatically pay $187, thinking it is for their standard
Yellow Pages telephone book listing," Miller said. "The mailing is really
a solicitation for an Internet electronic listing called the Yellow Quick
Pages, but it could easily mislead some people," he said.
are from the Yellow Pages Company, 16 Technology, Suite 134, Irvine, California.
Scores of Iowa businesses apparently are receiving the mailing.
"Everyone needs to
remember that the Yellow Pages name and the walking-fingers symbol are
not copyrighted and may be used by anyone," Miller said. "We have seen
phony invoice schemes for years based on that misunderstanding. People
often think they are simply renewing their local yellow page telephone
book ad if they don't look carefully."
Both Miller's office
and U.S. Postal Inspectors in Des Moines have been receiving numerous
copies lately of the Yellow Quick Page mailing out of California. Postal
Inspectors John Skoglund and Linda Jensen in Des Moines urged businesses
to take precautions to avoid questionable "Yellow Page" solicitations:
Remember that the
"Yellow Page" name and walking-fingers symbol are not copyrighted or trade-marked.
Remember that solicitations can be disguised to look like invoices.
Skoglund and Jensen said
they have forwarded copies of the "Yellow Quick Pages" solicitation to Postal
Inspection Service officials in California for review. Postal regulations
specify certain requirements that mailings prominently indicate that a mailing
is "not an invoice" and is in reality a solicitation.
- Study the name
used in the promotion. It may sound similar to your phone book listin
g but be a completely different company.
- Beware that some
promoters will even include a copy of your current yellow page phone
book listing, even though that's not what they are selling.
- Don't place an
ad in any kind of directory if you are not certain about the promoter.
- If you think you've
been misled by a mailing, contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Service
at 515-253-9060 or the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division
Miller said the warning
is part of an ongoing effort by his office to help small businesses avoid
becoming victims of scams or questionable promotions. Businesses may order
a free brochure called "Small Business Alert: Consumer Frauds That Target
Small Businesses and Professional Offices" by writing to the Consumer
Protection Division, Hoover Building, Des Moines, Iowa 50319, or by calling