The Contract

You may be under the assumption that Yellow Pages has been granted explicit permission by small businesses to create leads pages, deliver small business websites to customers via proxy servers, and supply alternate phone numbers. This assumption is quite understandable; after all, Yellow Pages is one of Canada's oldest and largest marketing companies, and it would stand to reason that an organization of the size and stature of Yellow Pages would do everything in its power to ensure that customers are aware of exactly what they're purchasing and that it is clearly detailed within the contract itself.

However, this isn't the case with my clients and it may not be the situation in your case if you're a Yellow Pages 360° Solution customer. I've included the relevant portions of the Yellow Pages contract signed by one of my clients below; I recommend that you compare your Yellow Pages contract terms and SEM/SEO related line items to the terms and line items shown below.

Contract Terms and Conditions

The following is a scan of the terms and conditions of a printed contract signed by one of my clients and Yellow Pages. The only alteration made to this scan is the concealment of the contract date and my client's name and telephone number for privacy reasons.

As indicated by the image below, the current online version of the terms and conditions can be found at http://www.yellowpages.ca/terms. This contract was generated in 2013; therefore, there are some differences between the terms posted below and the terms indicated online.

Figure 1: Yellow Pages contract terms and conditions.

Issues with the Terms and Conditions

"Reverse Side" of Contract

In Sections 1 and 8 of the scan of the contract terms, it is indicated that services are to be rendered based on descriptions and information on "the reverse side of this contract". Section 8 of the scan of the contract terms is indicated as Section 11 in the online version:

1. PURCHASE OF ADVERTISING SERVICES

Yellow Pages Group Corp. or one of its affiliates ("YPG") sells to the client, who purchases same, the services described on the reverse side of this contract (the "Advertising Services") for the indicated monthly or lump sum fee (the “Fees”) and pursuant to the current Terms and Conditions (the “Contract”).
11. CLIENT'S WARRANTY

The client warrants that it is authorized to publish the print advertisement under the heading and in the territory indicated on the reverse side of this Contract, and to display the digital advertisement and the Website.

If you look closely at the contract scan above, you'll notice that it indicates that the terms and conditions comprise Page 5 of 5. There are no additional pages or terms, and as such the reverse side of the contract is a blank page. A similar issue exists with the online terms and conditions in that a "reverse side of the contract" cannot exist on terms and conditions displayed on screen.

No Indication of Altered or Alternative Content

There is no indication whatsoever that you as a small business owner will be supplied with an alternative phone number; there is no indication whatsoever that Yellow Pages will generate a leads page on your behalf; nor is there any indication whatsoever that you as a small business owner will see your business website altered by a third party. The only possible place that such an indication could be found is on the reverse side of the contract; however, this has already been shown not to be the case.

Contract Line Items

An example of a contract line item is included below. As is the case with the screen capture above, I have only concealed information that could potentially identify my client for privacy reasons:

Figure 2: Yellow Pages contract line item, indicating "Search Engine Marketing" services at a rate of $500/month.

The contract line item does not indicate that alternative telephone numbers will be supplied, that leads pages will be created, and/or that websites will be altered and presented to users with alternative telephone numbers. "Search Engine Marketing" merely indicates that marketing will take place on search engines.

"Altered Website" Variant »

Last modified: May 3, 2015.

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