Sheep Guarding Llama 2

Scott's new blog dedicated to, well, blogging! And all things SGL.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Berry Company Slamming Customers

I had to get up and deal with a scam this morning. Just the way I wanted to start my day. Dad got a bill from The Berry Company who run the yellow page racket up here. We have been advertising in the yellow pages for the last several years and have decided that it is a totally ineffectual way to drum up new business. After three or four years of ads we have found that we get more and more calls from people looking to get free service from us and absolutely no serious customers who even understand what it is that we do. Almost everyone that calls is just a kid looking to get free advice or to ask us to fix their computer for free since somehow that is our responsibility even though we have no connection to these people at all, live in a different county and they bought their computer from a competitor of both us and our hardware partners. Anyway, I digress. My recollection of my last dealings with the Berry Company was that we had talked and they were going to send us some paperwork to look over so that we could make sure everything was correct and then we could confirm that we wanted to go ahead with another year of advertising. I remember this pretty clearly because we were in the process of trying to change our company name and never talked to them about it because we were going to do that when we confirmed or didn't confirm. Well no confirmation ever came. We assumed that they had forgotten about us or we had waiting too long and the spots had filled up. We really weren't concerned since we had decided not to do the advertising anyway. That was in June of 2005. Then two weeks or so ago Dad gets a bill for our yellow page ad. Great. This is what is called slamming. Remember when telephone companies used to call you and change your telephone service without your permission. Yeah, same thing here. So I called the Berry Company knowing that under no conditions would they be able to produce a signature.

Well, they had no signature and they had no confirmation from us. They had a voice recording of me agreeing to have a confirmation sent out for me to look over but nothing of me agreeing to service. The Berry customer service woman said that contrary to what I was told it wasn't actually a confirmation letter just a letter than was sent out. The confirmation was the voice recording even though I hadn't agreed to service in the recording. They had "records" of the mail being sent out and she said that they rely on the postal service and there is no confirmation system. The whole thing is a scam. She knew full well that there was no mail ever sent out. She had her lines rehearsed. Obviously this is how they do business at the Berry Company. They knew that if they reported us to a credit reporting agency that it would cost us more to clear the record than it would be to just pay them. This is clear cut extortion. Rochester's own version of the mob. Oh wait, we have one of those. Well, maybe they work together.

So we are stuck paying for a full year of yellow page service that does us absolutely zero good. To make matter far worse we changed our company name this year and they didn't change it in the yellow pages so we are now paying for an ad for a company name that we don't use. And to really rub our faces in it they raised our rates by 22% (their punishment for being a fool for another year.) Well, lesson learned here. No more yellow page ads for us. No more phone calls, no more meetings, no more chance to even talk to us. We don't do print advertising anymore, anywhere. Time to leave the dark ages and time to stop advertising to people who are stuck in them.