‘Your Yellow Book’|is a Scam, FTC Says


     OKLAHOMA CITY (CN) – Despite two cease-and-desist orders, Your Yellow Book defrauded businesses of “hundreds of thousands of dollars” through phony billing for Internet listings they didn’t order or want, the FTC claims in court.
     The Federal Trade Commission sued Oklahoma City-based Your Yellow Book and its officers Brandi Michelle Law, Dustin R. Law and Robert Ray Law in Federal Court.
     “Defendants’ scheme generated more than 160 consumer complaints to the FTC and the Better Business Bureau of Central Oklahoma and caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in consumer losses,” the complaint states.
     Using the (nonparty) Yellow Pages’ well-known image of two “walking fingers,” the defendants send mail or faxes small businesses, doctors’ offices, retirement homes and Christian schools. The documents look like invoices and list an annual cost of approximately $487.
     “Typically, defendants’ documents state that YYB provides listings to ‘millions of businesses throughout the United States to increase their Internet exposure.’ The documents also ask consumers to ‘verify’ or ‘update’ their ‘current listing information’ in their ‘actual listing’ in YYB’s Internet business-directory,” the complaint states.
     The defendants follow up the mailings with unsolicited phone calls that claim the victim had agreed to pay for the listings, the FTC says. It claims that many victims pay because they believe the demands, or think that that someone else in their businesses authorized the listings.
     “In numerous instances, consumers ignore or otherwise refuse to pay defendants’ invoices because the business-directory listing was never ordered or authorized by anyone in the consumer’s organization,” the complaint states. “In many of those instances, defendants continue to make multiple collection calls to the consumers. In other instances, defendants tell consumers that they will have to pay a cancellation fee to cancel their listings.”
     Your Yellow Book blew off two cease-and-desist orders from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service “false billing promotion” practices, the FTC says in the complaint. The first order, issued Aug. 3, 2011, was signed by defendant Brandie Law. The second order, issued March 15, 2012, was signed by defendant Robert Law. “Despite receiving these two cease-and-desist orders, YYB continues to engage in these illegal activities,” the complaint states.
     Your Yellow Book did not respond to a request for comment Monday.
     In a statement posted on its website, the company claims that it “has been mistaken for another company that uses what we consider illegal and un-business like practices.”
     The FTC seeks disgorgement, an injunction, and punitive damages for violations of the FTC Act.

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