For the last year my wife’s small-but-growing, word-of-mouth based business has been listed with YellowPages.com. The Networking Group my wife was a member of included in their ranks a sales rep who pushed that this would be an outstanding way to expand her business. That they could setup an online coupon with my wife’s listing and people could just print it and walk in with it. All the typical sales rhetoric.
My wife felt that the momentum of her business (which was doing OK) could use a boost and decided to invest in advertising with YellowPages.com as an attempt to expand and grow her business. Contracts were signed, paperwork was filed, paperwork was turned in for the online coupon, and charges to my wife’s business card started piling up.
And as a result my wife’s business was listed on YellowPages.com.
Now, in the past year there certainly was an increase in traffic to my wife’s website. I have a statistics collection system running on her web server. And she got probably an additional 3-10 referrals via YellowPages to her website each month.
However, because of the lackluster and incompetent effort on the part of the sales rep we worked with (who’s now a district sales manager) my wife’s legitimate health care practice was listed along side escort services.
As a result those YellowPages.com referrals resulted in two calls. Those two calls resulted in requests typical of what escort services would provide (even tho for legal reasons they say they do not).
Pan forward a year… My wife, near the end of our contract, lo-and-behold gets a call from a new Yellowpages.com rep!! And he wants talk about renewal options for another year. My wife informs him that is not going happen. He goes into the usual rhetoric that sales reps right now are trying to use in the face of our current recession; ‘Well, with this recession going on it will be impossible for your business to survive without us!’. When she explains the lack of the online coupon, the lascivious phone calls, it’s at this point in time he’s willing to get the listing re-categorized but only in the face of certain discontinuation of a contract. When my wife asks about the online coupon he says; “Well, you needed to turn in the paperwork for that”. My wife said; “I turned in the paperwork for that [to the previous rep] when I signed up for service and paid all this money!” He replies; “Oh, well then there’s nothing I can do about that. Sorry.”
He tries every angle and pressure tactic he can think of and even offers a meager discount for the following year worth of service. Even though she didn’t get what she paid for to begin with.
At this point, if YellowPages.com wants my wife’s listing for another year, they can pony up a year’s worth of free service. They simply didn’t do their job and actually possibly did *damage* to my wife’s business considering it looks like it’s a damn prostitution service.
If you’re with YellowPages.com and you’re reading this, you and your company suck. Big time.