WALSENBURG — At the October 7, 2014 meeting the Walsenburg City Council approved participation in an advertising promotion with Universal AdCom, (UAC) of Arlington, Texas, via a letter of endorsement/ distribution.
The letter is to serve as a ‘limited’ authorization for Universal AdCom to use the City of Walsenburg in the presentation of the upcoming edition of the ‘Community Guide’ magnet project for Huerfano County, Colorado.
The council passed the letter of endorsement/distribution agreement request on a 7-0 vote following the motion by council member Cathy Pineda and a second by council member Nick Vigil.
While the letter does not commit any city funds, it did present a tacit ‘endorsement’ of the ad project by the City of Walsenburg.
While city administration and council dealt with the issue as a routine matter, Spanish
Peaks Library Director Monica Birrer, on Monday, Oct. 13, did a bit of background checking when she was contacted by the company.
Birrer told the Huerfano World Journal, “I just had a call from Universal AdCom asking me to have the library agree to hand out free magnets with local phone numbers and local advertising. It sounded like a great idea to me, and apparently local businesses are advertising with them.” Birrer continued ”Being ever the skeptic, I thought I should look them up before I signed my name.”
In checking the BBB website, information posted there says complaints to the BBB in this reporting period have been filed against UAC, D&L Map Service, Hometown Productions, Premier Map, Premier Impressions, and Fanfare Sports Marketing. The website indicated 253 complaints closed by the BBB regarding this company and its affiliates in the past three years. Seventy one of the complaints have been closed by the BBB in the past 12-months.
Walsenburg City Administrator David Johnston was made aware of the BBB report this past Monday by the HWJ. On Tuesday, the Huerfano World Journal received an email from Johnston that said, “Based on the information received yesterday, the City will not be endorsing the advertising magnets. It will, however, allow its information to be published under the agreement that explicitly denies endorsement by the City.”
The website said, ”Complaints allege the company billed for orders not placed; misrepresented its affiliation with a school, chamber of commerce, or other civic organizations; made harassing and deceptive sales calls; non-receipt of product and poor quality product; and refusal to remove from calling lists.” The website also says,”It should be mentioned that the majority of complaints to the BBB, report multiple complaint issues. For example, a customer may complain they received a bill for an order not placed, the product received was poor quality, and the business refuses to remove them from the solicitation call list.” That type of entry would be listed as three complaints.
To see the full BBB report, go to www.bbb.org/fort-worth/business-reviews/advertising-specialties/universal-adcom-in-arlington-tx-235959203.
The website reports, “In the current three-year reporting window, the BBB has received numerous complaints from consumers reporting the company has billed them for orders not placed. A few customers reported being billed for multiple orders not placed. When customers contact the company to dispute the charges, company representatives state an order was placed and cite a date of birth or mother’s maiden name as “Proof” that an employee of the business placed the order. Although some customers admit providing personal identifiers, other consumers deny ever providing identifying information to the company. When customers insist no orders were placed, company employees indicate the company will make negative reports to credit bureaus and take collection and legal action. Many clients that paid money for orders not placed to avoid collection action received additional bills for subsequent orders not placed.”
The BBB website also said, “Several customers allege receiving sales calls but did not place an order with the company. However, after receiving the sales call, the customer received the “Order Confirmation” sheet.”
Universal AdCom requests customers with complaints or concerns directly contact Lola at (817) 633-3300.
In their summary of this business and its affiliates, the BBB said on its website, “Complaints against the company include billing for orders not placed, misrepresenting its affiliation with civic organizations, deceptive sales calls, non-receipt of products, and poor quality products. To date, the company has not eliminated the underlying causes of customer complaints.”