Advertising Mistake In Yellow Pages Has Local Business Seeing Red
Posted April 23, 2002
RALEIGH — Burnt Studios
designs cool calendars, brochures and Web sites, but you will not find the company's Web site in their
Eric Allen and Tiffany Willard, owners of Burnt Studios, agreed to pay BellSouth $204 a month for three ads, two in the phone book and one on the Internet.
The ads include their Internet address. The problem is, the address appeared incorrectly.
BellSouth left out a "t", making it "Burn Studios" instead of "Burnt Studios."
One missing letter sends people to the wrong site. And, when your business is graphics and Web design, it looks bad, Willard says.
"It's embarassing and humiliating to us. It's just damaging our good reputation that we've built up. It hurts," says Willard.
Willard and Allen asked BellSouth for a full refund, but the company would only agree to give them about 25 percent off each month.
The couple does not feel that is enough.
"We would have never agreed to put in a three-quarters correct ad in the yellow pages period," Allen says. "There's no way we would have done that, so why should we have to pay for three quarters that are correct?"
They called Five on Your Side, and we called BellSouth.
The company agreed not to charge the couple at all.
A spokesman says "different variables" determine how much money is refunded for an error.
He apologized for the couple's "frustration."
The owners are satisfied.
"What we contracted for is not what we got, and they need to absorb all costs," says Willard.
BellSouth also planned to create a link from the wrong Web address that appeared in the ad to the right one, but that site was already registered to someone else.