Sharing information about homework has to be done before buying Ads with an online company

ATTENTION  FELLOW BUSINESSES AND ENTREPRENEURS:

BEWARE OF UNFAIR BUSINESSES PRACTICES WITH WHOM YOU DEAL WITH. PLEASE DO YOUR “DUE DILIGENCE”.

Here’s my story:  please discern for yourself !!!

BUSINESSES !!!  BEWARE OF UNFAIR BUSINESSES PRACTICES WITH WHOM YOU DEAL WITH. PLEASE DO YOUR “DUE DILIGENCE”.

I made a big mistake dealing with this company called YELP. I fell into their deceptive and misrepresented sales tactics because of trust… Boy, was I wrong about them only after I got my credit card charged without my full knowledge and consent.

A summary of my mistake (w/o due diligence / was not aware of yelp unfair business practices well) was very similar to the review below found on the San Francisco Better Business Bureau’ssite (where there are more than 2,000 (about 1400 complaints, and about 690 negative reviews out of 708 total ones – – 690/708 = 0.9746  or  97.46% negative reviews):

 

“Yelp.com 11/3/2015

Kathrine R.

Negative -1 1

Review�I recently opted to sign up with Yelp’s $100 advertising credit. To use the credit, I was required to put in my card information. I didn’t think much of this since most businesses now days need this information. I wrongly assumed that at the end of the $100 credit, the ad (or whatever it was, I still have no idea what exactly I was paying for.) would discontinue. Two months pass, and I look on my card to find that Yelp has charged a total of $136.00 over two months. After sending them a message disputing this and asking for my money back, I was told in detail that the service I had signed up for was “Self Service” advertising. That if I had wanted Yelp to not charge me, I should have known to stop the ad. I see now that Yelp preys on people with this credit system and hopes that they forget or don’t realize that they need to manually turn off the ad, which is exactly what happened to me. The only clarification of their system came AFTER they had taken my money. They said that it was all in the Terms and Service agreement, however, upon looking it up for myself, there is nothing talking about the Self Service ad system. Not only that, but there is no way for me to delete my card off of their system. Despite repeatedly asking to have it removed, it is still up there. I absolutely do not recommend this business to anyone. There are far better ways to advertise your own business than dealing with the shadiness that Yelp has presented.”

 

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Only after Yelp charged my credit card without my full knowledge and consent, they told me that I signed up over the phone with the sales person in a hurry for a “self service” advertising plan and was charged “PER CLICK” (almost $2 per click in April and then over $2 per click in May !!!) after the free advertising money ran out = that was not I understood at the time of signing up. If I was informed about this plan and was given the chance to read everything prior to signing up, I would not have signed up at all.

Here’s my complaint to yelp:

From: Joseph Hallabay [winwindeals4all@yahoo.com]
Sent: 5/17/2018 7:12 PM
To: 
customersuccess@yelp.com
Subject: Re: Message from Yelp Customer Success
Please stop charging my credit card and credit me
of the amount charged :  $395.82
I was mislead to believe that I was going to be informed
of the depleted $500 free advertising and then I could
make a decision as to continue with the ads or not.  
Everything was done in a rush… as at the time I was
speaking with Mickie, we were a bit busy…
I did not get any phone call nor email message and 
yelp ads (w/ the free $500) did not get anyone to call
our salon anyway.
I hope your company understands my situation and 
give me the credit immediately.
Thank you.
Joseph
PS:  I found that your company has so many complaints
from the SF BBB.  Here’s the page of negative reviews
(about 99% of them ; i.e. about 699 over 708 reviews)
Going through negative reviews, one can see that many more got tricked into yelp’s trap of the online ad plan and got charged without their full knowledge and consent.
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    Examples would be:
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Yelp.com 5/7/2018
eugene p.

Negative -1 1
 
Review
A representative contacted our clinic and offered a $300 promotion to sign up for an advertising on yelp.***. She told us to add our credit card to the account, but explain that it wouldn’t be charged until we use up the $300. We agreed only for a trial with a budget of $300. The representative promised to work on and improve our yelp page. One month later our card was charged $900.00 and the company refused to issue a refund.
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5/3/2018 
Tornubari N.

Negative -1 1
 
Review
I signed up for a $300 promotion for ads with Yelp which was very misleading. They charged my bank account over $400 before the ad campaign even reached $300. Mind you, I have used promotional ads with other companies before such as Facebook which offered a promotion for $30 worth of free ads and it was very straight forward and to the point. Yelp on the other hand was misleading and when I contacted them they refused to refund my money. Very unprofessional and I will not be using Yelp ever again. BEWARE!
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5/4/2018 
Planet Hummus

Negative -1 1
 
Review
This the worst company to do business with !!!! be very careful and do not believe anything they say, to make me sign up with them they told me it was a month to month and it was not a contract which of course was a big lie ! After only one week of signing up with them i have to pay $700 to break the contract which is unheard off ! they do whatever they want whenever they want and there is nothing you can do about it ! they even took of 17 reviews out of 23 reviews to leave us with only 5 and when i complained they did not give me any explanation, it is a software and the decision was made. who do they think they are ??????
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 5/4/2018 
Nicole M.

Negative -1 1
 
Review
I was contacted by a representative from Yelp who told me about all the wonderful things they could do to help me out as a new business owner for only $14.99/month, so I happily complied to quickly e-sign a long contract while the representative was waiting for me to complete in order to get my new ad campaign online as fast as possible. When my first bill arrived, I was horribly shocked at a $600 bank charge. What dishonest business practice. I would never recommend this company for advertising.
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5/2/2018
BC

Negative -1 1
 
Review
YELP: How do they get away with it? Because they are a big and established business? BEWARE: FREE money offered by YELP is a FRAUD!!! I was given $300 “FREE” advertising and was told that I would not be billed if I cancelled by campaign before it reaching $300 which I did (I cancelled it when I have ~$100 left) but then found that out of nowhere that my account was billed. No email or notification but my credit card was just charged. When I called the billing department to find out more, they transferred me to the account manager who not even able to clearly explain why I was billed. I see MANY other reports of the same complaint and I hope something is being done to address this so others don’t fall victim to this!
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5/1/2018
Jennifer P.

Negative -1 1
 
Review
I would strongly encourage people to avoid using Yelp for anything. Ever. I signed up for $300 worth of free advertising. I stupidly entered my card thinking I would have at least three months to decide if the advertising was worth it. A month and half later they charged me nearly $300 for nothing. I received no warning that my free advertising had expired and not one of my new cleints came from Yelp. It is a huge scam. To top it off, they refuse to remove my businessfrom their site. How can this even be legal? I will never use Yelp again for anything.
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So far, I have filed complaints with the local TV Station KHON2 News, the SF BBB, the FTC.   I am woking also with the San Francisco Attorney General office’s Consumer Protection Unit.    This web link was also sent to Rep. Colleen Hanabusa and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

The complaint below is to the local TV station:

RE: Yelp, Inc.’s deceitful and misrepresented advertising sales / it’s like MOB rule that needs to be known to hawaii businesses.

Aloha:

As a business in Hawaii, I was contacted many times by Yelp’s sales personnel about advertising on Yelp and I normally declined their offers due to the fact that I’ve been around for the 14th year in Kailua (having a clientele already and thanks to the “WORD OF MOUTH” advertising, we have been able to survive – – and just like any normal business, one can use more business).

In early April, I was contacted by Hannah Correll from Yelp and she offered me $500 of free advertising and I had to ask her to call back in a couple of hours because I was busy. When she called back (with my mind looking for the $500 of free advertising…), she rushed me and kind of forcefully signing me up (through clicking on Yelp’s site) at the ad plan she recommended without giving me the details of it. There was no real transparency from her to what I was getting into.

I asked her to let me know when the free $500 got depleted so I could make a decision to continue with the plan…. she said “no problem”… basically it was a RUSH process and I was not allowed to have time to read anything before or during the signing up to that plan (it wasn’t explained to me well at all except I believe I was mesmerized by her in completing the sign up process and because my preoccupation to get those free $500 of free advertising and forgot all about asking her the details of the ad plan she signed me up for). Looking back, I was LURED AND TRICKED into this TRAP that Yelp’s Hannah was setting me to fall into and I was not the only one. Many more can be found at the San Francisco Better Business Bureau page.9 (see link after a few paragraphs below)

On May 17th, I got an email message from my credit card company saying that I could review the statement, and to my big and shocking surprise, I was charged almost $400 !!!

There was no phone call nor any message from Yelp to let me know of the depleted free advertising money at all.

Well, I tried to contact Yelp, I couldn’t get through at all on the same day. So, I sent some email messages to the sales folks at Yelp asking for the refund. I also called my credit card company and put the amount charged on “DISPUTE” and asked them to “block” any further charges from Yelp – – considered to me as “unauthorized” / “not with my full consent” and “knowledge”.

Finally, I got a reply from Yelp’s personnel (Murphy Haugland is her name) denying the refund and telling me now about the plan (cost per click – – over $2 ) that I knew nothing about. I also went to the San Francisco Better Business Bureau site and found over 2,000 combined COMPLAINTS (1,403) and REVIEWS (689 in all with 673 NEGATIVE ones).

Here’s the link to the SF BBB page:

https://www.bbb.org/greater-san-francisco/business-reviews/internet-service/yelp-com-in-san-francisco-ca-193927/reviews-and-complaints?section=complaints

Reading the above link’s reviews and complaints, I found out that many businesses fell into the same trap that was set up for me (free $$ advertising money then charge their credit cards…) and many shared that Yelp was using deceptive sales practices and misrepresented their sales of advertising plans. An example among many more of “negative reviews” that businesses fell into this deceitful trap would be:

 

 

Yelp.com 5/9/2018

Technology Coaching Small Business

Negative – – Review�Yelp made me and my small business feel ripped off in the East Bay Area in California. They offered a $300 coupon toward an ad campaign. When I signed up with my credit card, they continued to charge and rack up charges to my credit card for 1.5 months, without sending any notification and any emails. I found out after racking up $500+ dollars in charges. They refused to refund me. Oh, worst of all, I got a grand total of ZERO calls from all the “ad clicks.” Who knows if that was just a robot/computer racking up the “clicks.” I have no idea. Very very upset.

 

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To my knowledge and amazement, I found out that Yelp also hid away some of my clients’ reviews on Yelp – – they were not posted at all – – what right does Yelp have to not post them???   To my clients and myself, all reviews from anyone at all should be posted !!! Why hide them?

According to this informational video link below, Yelp is a “SCAM” !!!! Hiding away reviews!!!

 

More on Yelp being a scam and fraud:

https://tinyurl.com/y9nqwrom

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From the SF BBB page, here’s a review that was not posted at all:

Yelp.com 5/16/2018

Christa M.

Negative -1 1 Review�

I’ve tried posting a review for a general contractor we did business with and my review has been taken down completely (not just moved to the not recommended section) three times now. I get a generic email stating that “it appears I may have a conflict of interest.” I’ve re-worded my review several times and each time it is still removed. No one at Yelp will help in this matter. I believe because my review is negative they are purposely removing it, because I’ve seen several other 1 star reviews removed from this same page. What is the point of Yelp if we cant even post a truthful review of our experience??

 

Well, I hope you can tell this story on air to Hawaii businesses so they can be careful when dealing with Yelp and avoid being charged / ripped off. They also should be aware of complaints and reviews to Yelp at the San Francisco Better Business Bureau – – Yelp is not BBB accredited per the SF BBB page above !!!

I will also file a complaint and negative review on the SF BBB site and a complaint on the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) page asap (its page is at: https://www.ftc.gov/contact ).

In my last message to Yelp on May 18th, 2018, below was what I said to Hannah Correll, another sales person and Murphy in customer service:

“You are a bunch of crooks who cheat businesses by luring / persuading / and tricking them to get that free advertising money then charge their credit cards without their FULL understanding and consent !!!!”

Mahalo nui loa.

Joseph

 

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One can file a complaint here beside the FTC (Federal Trade Commission), the San Francisco BBB, 

District Attorney in San Franciso

County Consumer Protection Offices

San Francisco county :  415-551-9595

https://sfdistrictattorney.org

 

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Take action against yelp bullies

https://yelpcomplaints.wordpress.com

 

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Yelp was ordered to pay a $450,000 civil penalty with a permanent restraining order – – United States of America (plaintiff) vs Yelp Inc (defendant):

https://www.ftc.gov/system/files/documents/cases/140917yelpstip.pdf

 

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RM LAW Announces Class Action Lawsuit Against Yelp Inc.

Jan 23, 2018, 16:45 ET

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/rm-law-announces-class-action-lawsuit-against-yelp-inc-300586956.html

 

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Lawsuit Says Yelp Made Millions Forcing Businesses To Hide Bad Reviews

8/7/14

http://valleywag.gawker.com/lawsuit-says-yelp-made-millions-forcing-businesses-to-p-1617941464

 

 

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Yelp Faces Another LawsuitOver Review Policy

http://fetchrev.com/yelp-faces-another-lawsuit-review-policy/

 

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Class Action lawsuits against yelp info:

https://www.yelp.com/topic/anaheim-class-action-lawsuit-against-yelp

https://www.yelp.com/topic/washington-yelp-class-action-lawsuit-for-shady-business-practices

https://www.yelp.com/topic/los-angeles-more-businesses-join-in-yelp-class-action-lawsuit

 

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Yelp extortion

https://www.facebook.com/YelpExtortion/

 

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Consumer Action – – Complaint form below:

https://complaints.consumer-action.org/forms/english-form/complaint_form/

 

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How to Check If an Online Company Is Legitimate

Include the BBB also of the company’s location:

https://www.sapling.com/4681829/check-online-company-legitimate

 

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Yelp is a ripoff !!!

https://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/yelp/internet/yelp-extorts-businesses-and-not-yelpers-themselves-are-getting-into-the-extortion-busines-563685

 

 

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Yelp is a fraud !!!

https://www.facebook.com/YelpIsAFraud/

 

 

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https://www.foreverbirdstudio.com/blog//my-costly-mistake-with-yelp-offers

 

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