Residential Direct Marketing sells advertising space in directories printed on refrigerator magnets, which it claims on its website are distributed to luxury apartment complexes around the nation, as well as offering a fundraising vehicle for schools.
Better Business Bureau (BBB) serving Central, Coastal, Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin reports that the company has a pattern of disputes alleging consumers purchased advertisements which the company failed to deliver in a timely manner. Complainants are seeking for delivery of products or a refund.
Residential Direct Marketing, which maintains a website at http://www.rdm-sa.com/, did not respond to BBB attempts to address the pattern in complaints. BBB also attempted to contact the business by phone, but got a busy signal from the advertised number and did not receive a reply from the owner after leaving a message.
As of March 4, 2014, BBB has received 40 complaints about Residential Direct Marketing. The company has failed to respond to 11 complaints and failed to resolve five complaints. The company resolved some complaints by promising to deliver the product consumers paid for, giving refunds or free ad space.
William Ochse of San Antonio, Texas, said he purchased close to $700 worth of advertising through Residential Direct Marketing that was never distributed to a school in fall 2013 as promised.
“I was approached last spring with a direct marketing call,” Ochse said. “I was sold advertising space on calendars that would be distributed as part of a fundraiser. They supposedly had a contract with the schools. I thought it was an opportunity to advertise my business and do something for the community. They told me the calendar would be produced the following fall. I paid close to $700. I made multiple phone calls and sent emails. Since June or July, I’ve heard nothing.”
Homer Escobar, of Austin, Texas, said he purchased $758.95 worth of advertisements in a magnetic directory that was to be distributed at two apartment complexes. He said the product was not delivered and the company quit returning his calls and messages.
“I bought it in April 2013. In May, I approved the ad. In July, they contacted me again for approval and I submitted it again. I kept calling for the next few weeks, through August, September and October. They finally responded in mid-December. They never responded a second time. I have not been able to get a response as to when the directory will be delivered. I have contacted an attorney.”
BBB offers the following advice for people looking to purchase advertising in directories to be distributed to school organizations or apartments:
- Check the company’s story. Verify with the apartment complex, school or organization that they do indeed have an agreement with the company to distribute the directory.
- Get it in writing. Ask how many will be distributed, where they will be distributed and when.
- Pay with a credit card. Under federal law, charges made on a credit card can be disputed up to 60 days after the purchase.
- Keep documentation of your order. After completing the online order process, there should be a final confirmation page or an email confirmation. Print and save any receipts for future reference.
- Do your research. Check the company’s BBB Business Review at bbb.org before making a purchase to see its BBB rating, complaint history and any advertising-related issues.