According to the Cherokee Chamber of Commerce, Cherokee businesses are continuing to get telephone calls soliciting advertising for community guides, emergency magnets, and/or maps.
The callers are falsely claiming to be working on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce and/or Cherokee Emergency Services, or Sheriff''s Department.
Chamber Director Julie Hering Kent is emphasizing that the Cherokee Chamber of Commerce has NOT authorized anyone to sell advertising or to print these items on the Chamber's behalf.
According to Hering Kent, the companies that are soliciting in Cherokee are the Premier Map Company and Premier Impressions. Both are subsidiaries of Universal AdCom which is headquartered in Arlington, Texas. The Better Business Bureau has given these companies an "F" rating based on their customer complaints and alleged fraudulent sales tactics.
"I would encourage everyone to read the report regarding these companies at the Better Business Bureau website," said Hering Kent.
"If you would like to make a complaint to the company you may contact Lola at (817) 633-3300."
Universal AdCom has solicited advertising at exorbitant prices and printed Emergency Magnets in Cherokee in the past and will give the magnets to the Chamber, Library, or other nonprofits to distribute, but they have never been authorized by the Chamber to do so, nor does the Chamber receive any benefit from the company.
"Upon reading the BBB site, one tactic the company uses is to have these nonprofit organizations sign a 'distribution agreement' which they will then leverage as 'permission' to sell additional advertising," explained Hering Kent. "Conveniently, the Chamber was contacted the day after businesses started getting phone calls to 'renew' our distribution agreement. We did NOT sign any such agreement with them.
"Considering their deceptive sales techniques and ratings from the Better Business Bureau, I would caution any business about doing business with them at this time. And remember, please do not share your credit card information, birthdates, or social security numbers with anyone over the phone, as these sales people have requested."
Hering Kent reminds that If and when the Chamber moves forward with printing new maps, community guides, etc., the Chamber membership will be notified and provided with information about who may be making those contacts.
If you've been contacted by such fraudulent callers, contact the Chamber at 225-6414.