BBB® warns of deceptive advertising pitches in northwest Florida


Pensacola, Fla. (Nov. 16, 2012) – BBB|Northwest Florida thanks BBB Accredited Business Ballinger Publishing for alerting them to a business soliciting locally with a questionable sales pitch.

River City Publishing, located in Peoria, IL, caught the attention of the BBB Serving the Heart of Illinois; they recently warned chambers of commerce and small business owners that the company “claims to offer advertising in visitor guides, business directories and relocation guides that are voluntarily distributed through local civic organizations, such as chambers of commerce.” However, a review of a business directory guide published in Peoria County found numerous businesses who claim they did not place an ad and were unaware of the company or the publication. Other businesses indicated that the company did not create the ad but copied it from other sources.

Locally, the Perdido Key Area Chamber of Commerce has warned its members that while River City Publishing is soliciting for advertising in a visitor’s guide, the company is in no way affiliated with the chamber.

River City Publishing currently has two unresolved complaints and BBB|Illinois indicates that other complaints are pending awaiting the company’s response. River City Publishing maintains their sales practices and products are not misleading.

This type of publishing is a growing, serious threat for business, including legitimate publishers whose work has benefited local businesses for many years.

Your BBB urges both chambers of commerce and small business owners to use caution when being solicited by individuals selling advertising space.

  • Check past publications and contact local businesses who have already worked with the business in question.
  • Find out exactly what kind of exposure your ad will receive and make sure it’s worth the price. Often times, businesses will shell out big bucks for a small advertisement on a no-name online directory or a poorly circulated flyer.
  • If the company claims to be affiliated with an organization or a school, independently confirm with the organization or school that they have partnered with the advertiser.
  • Consider implementing a purchase order system to make sure you’re only paying for legitimate expenses and to avoid paying fraudulent invoices for advertising that was never purchased.
  • As always, get a BBB Business Review to research a business’ track record in the marketplace.

For additional information and advice you can trust, start with bbb.org.

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On November 19, 2012, posted in: News, Press Release by
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