Fruitless marketing makes business manager see red over Yellow Pages contract

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Like every business, Dr. Gregory Stiver's South Kansas City dental office tries to keep expenses under control.

When his wife, Ginger Stiver, took over the business side of the office in November, she became alarmed by the $5,000 monthly bill for online marketing paid to, more commonly known as Yellow Pages.

"I realized that through their online marketing we had zero new patients through those marketing dollars," Ginger Stiver said.

Plus Stiver said Yellow Pages had promised the office a unique website for that monthly fee, but when Stiver compared her company's website to other customers, she found three dentists with nearly identical websites within a 20-mile radius.

She complained and changed the website, but refused to let her out of the contract, showing her a report outlining the hundreds of phone calls her business had received since it began using

But Stiver noted that many of the calls only lasted a few seconds and some were from out-of-state numbers. Plus, she insisted, that not one call resulted in new customers.

"Any other business if I am unhappy with your services I should have the right to fire you," Stiver said." If you come into this dental office and you are unhappy with the care we give you, you walk out the door that day."

But not According to the contract, Stiver has missed the 10-day cancellation period. Stiver's business isn't the only one complaining. Consumer complaint forums on the Internet have dozens of reports from other unhappy business owners, some of whom also claimed they were misled by

In 2009, Yellow Pages was sued by more unhappy customers. That case was dismissed four years later with each side agreeing to pay its own costs. FOX 4 Problem Solvers spoke to two advertising experts who say most internet marketing companies don't require a year-long contract. They said the YP contract appears to be a holdover from when Yellow Pages marketing meant your would appear in the Yellow Pages book.

The internet has changed how companies are marketed and now Ginger Stevens wants Yellow Pages to change as well.

A spokeswoman for said it was disappointed to hear that Dr. Stiver's office was disappointed with its services and sent this statement agreeing to solve the problem:

"YP's top priority is to help small businesses grow and, in fact, that is what we've been doing with Dr. Stiver. We're disappointed that we will not continue to work with this valued customer, but we will honor his request and make an exception to our marketing agreement."

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  • WhySoSerious

    We have been paying to be included in the actual paper phone book for over 40 years and this week one of my employees pointed out that we were not in the book. Yellow pages has a new lawsuit to deal with!

  • Cile

    this story only has one side.. there’s no way can screw everyone and stay in business…people have too much time to hate and complain often omitting important information..

  • Beth Cook

    There are always 3 sides to every complaint and i know for a fact is a VERY ethical company thats gives companies and small businesses more than ample opportunity to make changes and cancel advertising within guidelines of course. Many businesses chose to not return phone calls over and over…Dont Dentist charge for missed appointments HMMMMMM?

    • Bob

      Actually, they aren’t ethical. If their advertising worked, people wouldn’t be looking to get out of their contracts. And not all dental offices charge for missed visits. YP is a terrible company.

  • George Grechka

    Do not use, promises you the world and more new business then you can possibly handle. In reality they plug in your business information in premade predesigned program that they use with all your competition and have you sign a 2 to 5 year contract. Instead of spending your money on advertising, spends it on attorneys to enforce their contracts which result in 0 new business. As a challenge, try to find at least one happy satisfied customer with proven results with so much new business that they have to turn it down. Good Luck

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