Idearc Media
Deceptive Yellow Pages practices

Here is a letter I wrote yesterday to Kathleen Perrow at Idearc Media:

Dear Kathleen Perrow,

I have not heard from you in a few weeks, so I must conclude that Idearc has decided they will not send me a letter confirming my cancellation of next years directory. I know that there have been several conversations confirming the cancellation, and an email from you confirming it, but the fact that Idearc refuses to send me a confirming letter requires me to write this. While you have been seemingly forthright in your communication with me, other actions by Idearc are highly questionable and lead me to question the company's motives. I will write a more detailed letter to you and others, but for now here are some of the highlights.

In early May, 2009 I called Idearc to cancel advertising in your Lake Arrowhead directory. I did this because the year before the contract had been renewed without my knowledge (more on that later ***). No one returned my call. I called again a few days later, and again no one returned my call. I called again on May 12 at 9:20am PDT and was told that no sales rep was assigned to me, and that's why no one had called me back. They said someone would call me back. I told them to cancel everything and if they want to renew something to call me back.

Given Idearc's track record, I called back on May 18 to 800-555-4833 and spoke to Graciela. She indicated there was no record that I had ever cancelled. I expressed my extreme displeasure and she said she would handle it right then. She obtained my permission to record the conversation and I cancelled. She gave me a Cancellation confirmation number of C05109A4454. One would have thought that would be the end of it.

On August 3 I received an Advertising Agreement notifying me that I would be paying $227.70 per month for advertising in the new book. I immediately called to protest, and spoke to Clare, employee #25662. She referred me to you and you indicated the contract had in fact been cancelled by Graciela, although you said she didn't cancel until July 28. That's baffling since my conversation with her had been over two months before that.

I appreciate you sending me an email confirming the cancellation, and the fact that you followed up with me several times, but I am baffled why a simple confirming letter could not be sent.

*** I have been advertising in various Yellow Pages, Phone Books, etc. in multiple locations for over 20 years. In each case, the process is pretty straight-forward. I get a call or letter a few months before the book closes to discuss upcoming advertising and rates. This happens every year. When I didn't receive any contact from Idearc, I assume it was because it had split off from Verizon and was now on some different calendar cycle. When I finally inquired myself, I was told the book had closed and that I had been automatically renewed. When I complained, I was told that the previous contract (multi-page, fine print) contained a provision that if I didn't officially cancel, I would be automatically renewed. Nice. That's when I decided I was done with your company, and calendared a phone call to cancel the following May.

You were kind enough to escalate my complaint about "forced renewal" to a higher level. On August 28 I received a call from Craig Violett. Mr. Violett explained there would be no rebate or remuneration because the original contract contained a clause saying that I had read and understood everything in that contract. The entire multi-page, fine print Standard legalese contract. Typical.

It's clear from the way this has been handled that your company is in the business of making it extremely difficult for people to cancel. I wonder if that was part of Idearc's business model when you broke off from Verizon? Make sure everyone renews for at least one year and then by making it very difficult to cancel in the following year, keep enough subscribers to make money on the purchase.

Offender: Idearc Media
Country: USA   State: Texas   City: Dallas

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