BBB Warns Small Business Owners of Solicitations from Local Ad Company
The Better Business Bureau serving Greater Iowa, Quad Cities and Siouxland Region is warning local Chambers and small business owners of a company selling advertising space on magnetized city guides. The company, Communities Unlimited LLC located in Davenport, IA is charging businesses advertising space on local city guides that are purportedly distributed throughout the community. The company is using unsuspecting Chambers of Commerce or obtaining their member rosters to distribute price information on to local businesses. When the promised advertizing never materializes or is of poor quality or never distributed, small business owners find themselves out funds from $300 to $1,300.
Communities Unlimited’s legal name is Ossian Enterprises LLC. The company also does business as Ads Sports and American Publishing. They have been soliciting high school athletic departments and Chambers of Commerce throughout the country from Florida to Nevada peddling the same scam. Ossian Enterprises has an “F” rating with the BBB, which is the lowest rating possible. The majority of complaints allege that the product is never received. Their “mockup ad” pictured below, as part of their sales pitch, has been attached to an email stating that 5,000 guides will be distributed to local families.
The Better Business Bureau is urging both Chambers and small business owners to use caution when being solicited by individuals selling advertising space. BBB President Chris Coleman states, “Be vigilant of magnetized city guides and high school posters due to the recent proliferation we’ve seen not only in Iowa, but throughout small towns across America, all of which seem to originate from one single source. However, use equal caution when confronted with opportunities to advertise on placemats, internet sites or from companies claiming to be from the Yellow Pages.”
Check past publications and contact local businesses who have already done business with the company in question. Find out exactly what kind of exposure your ad will receive and make sure it’s worth the price. Often times, companies will shell out big bucks for a small advertisement on a no name online directory or a poorly circulated flyer. As always, check with your BBB for valuable information and advice.