411.ca Review – A review for advertisers from a former advertiser

I normally like to write articles that help people start and grow their small business. I hate to leave negative reviews because I have worked in many service positions in the past. I know how unreasonable customers can be, and sometimes they leave negative reviews that are not really deserved.

I took some time to cool down, and after thinking it through I feel that publishing my own experience with 411.ca as an advertiser might save some business owners some time and money. Of course, I am sure not every advertiser’s experience is the same…  so good or bad, please share with me your 411.ca review (From Advertisers) so I can get an idea if this is an isolated incident.

411.ca Review

The Offer:

I received a cold call from a sales person form 411.ca. I was fairly skeptical that this was a real opportunity to generate some sales, however the fact that some of my competition was already advertising on their web site was intriguing enough for me to take their promotional rate which was buy 1 month at full rate, receive the next two months at half price. I made sure to clarify with the sales person that this would not be something that would automatically renew. He told me it would not automatically renew… the contract is for only 90 days, and that someone would contact me to discuss a new contract once this one was about to expire. I also asked if there were any additional/hidden fees I should be aware of, and he said there wasn’t.

The Term:

Billing went as expected… almost immediately I realized this wasn’t the place for me to advertise. I somehow threw aside common sense… after all, why would someone go to 411.ca to search for a business, let alone a web designer? Most people would probably just use Google for that… or perhaps Kijiji in my area. In any event, I knew I would cancel once the time to renew came up.

Going Downhill:

Sure enough, after the 90 days I did not receive a follow up and noticed they charged me full monthly rate ($67.80 for me) on the renewal date. Of course, as soon as I noticed (February 25th, 2012) I called to cancel. Their phone line went to a voicemail where I left a detailed message on how I would like to cancel my services and request a refund.

Monday February 27th 1:59 PM – After not receiving a reply from an agent, I decided I should follow up. I again reached their answering machine and left a detailed message about the situation and asked for someone to call me.

Monday February 27th 7:05 PM – After not receiving a call back, I decided perhaps email was a better route. I emailed their billing department to request the cancellation.

Wednesday February 29th 2:16 PM – After not receiving a call or email back, I decided to call yet again. My message again I feel was detailed and friendly, though I certainly emphasized the fact I had called and received no reply yet.

Wednesday February 29th 4:31 PM – I decided I should send an email to their help department. Perhaps this department was more generic and someone would reply.

Rock Bottom: Friday March 2nd

I decided to call again on Friday March 2nd, a full week after my first attempt to contact 411.ca customer service. Finally, I reach a young man. I explain to him how I was not told that the contract would automatically renew, and that this isn’t what I wanted/all I wanted to do was cancel my ad and request a refund for this extra month.  He puts me on hold to look into things. He comes back and offers advice on how to improve my listing, but I tell him I just really want to cancel. He offers some promotional rates and offers to put my site in another category for free, to which I replied that I just wanted to cancel. He asked if there was any way I would continue to advertise with 411… like even if he offered me the ad for free. I explained to him I just wanted to cancel.

Finally, he agrees to cancel the ad, but tells me I would still have to pay for 1 month after this, due to their 30 day cancellation policy. I explain to him that I specifically asked about cancellation fees during the sales call and the salesperson told me that there were no additional fees. He asked if I received the welcome package which clearly explains this policy. Of course, I did not receive this… I realize mail gets lost sometimes, but what’s really going on here? I did receive a receipt for my first payment so I know they have my address down correctly. Basically he is telling me that it is in the contract, and he sees no notes on my account from the sales person telling him that I was told otherwise.

Now I start getting a bit aggressive and annoyed in my tone, which believe you me I don’t take lightly as somebody who has worked in call centers before. While he stuck to the “company policy” line for a few more minutes, he finally agreed to waive the upcoming fee as a courtesy, but said I would not receive a refund for the extra month I was billed. Again, he is sticking to the fact it is policy and that they did send these details in the mail, so there is nothing that can be done. I try to ask him person to person if he thinks it is right that I should have to pay this fee even though I was told by another company representative that this would not happen AND that I did not receive any documentation to inform me of this policy. When he explained that is the reason why he waived the future billing but still couldn’t do anything about the previous charge, I started to realize this was going nowhere… after insisting there must be something that can be done or someone else I can speak to, he offers to let me speak to a manager but insists he doubts they can do anything.

Finally I reached the manager… after explaining the situation to her, she agrees to refund the previous fee. She asks for some final feedback to why I am cancelling and I explain to her that while the initial reason was the fact I didn’t feel I was getting the full value I was hoping for out of the service, the fact that it has taken me one week, multiple phone calls & emails which were never replied to in order to reach them, that this was not the type of company I wanted to do business with.

She offered me a free month of service as a goodwill gesture but I just wanted to cut ties with 411.ca at this point, so I acknowledged that the offer was appreciated, but I would just like to cancel.

I should note that she told me the refund would take around 4 weeks to apply, but she would try to expedite that. I should hope so! 4 weeks to apply a refund? Is this the 80s?

I’ll be sure to update when/if I receive a refund and if any further charges are applied.

Bottom Line:

While I appreciate other people may have a better experience than me, I have to recommend you avoid advertising with 411.ca – I doubt 411.ca is a scam, but certainly there is little value advertising in their online directory, and my experience is that they don’t communicate billing properly and their customer service is brutal, as far as taking one week to reach someone goes.

Again, I hope you will share your experiences so I can see if this is an isolated incident or if this is common practice for this company.

 

A Note From Derrick:

If you received value out of this article, I strongly suggest you read the following article as well: Churn & Burn SEO – Why Cheap SEO Sucks. If you are looking to get exposure for your small business, you need to avoid cheap search engine optimization services. I strongly believe you will find it to be a waste of money, and this article outlines why I feel this way.

About The Author

Derrick

At LOWD Media, we specialize in supporting entrepreneurs. We understand inspired entrepreneurs and business minded individuals. We then use this understanding to learn about your business and help you create a look and feel for your business – your brand identity. Our business startup packages provide everything you need to begin marketing your business effectively and at an affordable price. Once you begin marketing and growing your business, we strive to support you and grow with you. Long term success for your business means long term success for our business. Let your brand be heard loud and clear with LOWD.

210 Comments

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  • Sha

    Reply Reply September 14, 2016

    I have a contract with 411 but I want to cancel it because it couldn’t help me in marketing.
    Unfortunately, they do NOT answer my Emails and calls and just grab their money automatically from my account.
    It’s too bad in Canada and honestly they are destroying the online marketing and public trust to it.

  • Stephan

    Reply Reply August 30, 2016

    Sadly, this is a situation I run into very often. As a marketing consultant, I have worked with some of the top marketing firms in the Country. The ONLY way this listing will help you is by given more visibility through Google, Yahoo and Bing. That being said, you can recieve this ‘boost’ simply by taking advantage of the free listing option. Also, they are IN NO WAY affiliated with Google and purchasing a premium listing will never help increase visibility through google search results.

  • Alex

    Reply Reply August 18, 2016

    Fellow small business owners, 411.ca is probably the worst company I have ever dealt with. I received a cold call from them and although I was skeptical, I was also looking for online marketing opportunities. I decided to give them a shot and started advertising with them.

    They charged me 125.00 + tax for my ad on 411.ca and for 2 week I didn’t get any visits to my site from 411.ca. I sent them an email to cancel the service and there was no responds (just like other reviewers of 411.ca).

    After a few days, I called them and got a hold of someone in customer services on my first try. I told her that I wanted to cancel my ads and she told me that I need to give it more time to see any results. I then told her that I don’t see any results from my Google Analytics and I would like to cancel. She then continues to tell me that only they can see the results and she can tell me how many people searched for “web design” in the last 30 days.

    As a website designer (or any small business), I don’t care about how many searched for “web design” on 411.ca, my key performance indicator is if they visited my website as a result of my advertising on 411.ca. She then told me that you need a special code to see the visit from 411.ca or else you will only see visits from Google. That didn’t make any sense to me. I asked a few more times to cancel and she told me that it is company policy to give them a 30 day notice. They will essentially charge me another month of service that didn’t return any results at all. I started demanding for the Manager and the representative finally got the manager on the phone.

    Trying to be patient, I explained my situation to the manager and he told me I need to spend more time with 411.ca to see any results. He also mentioned that they don’t track how many people come to my site as a result of 411.ca’s advertisement, instead they track how many people search “web design” and visits to your 411.ca directory page. I explained to him that I don’t care who searched “web design” on 411.ca and who visited my directory page, my main concern is if anyone visited my website. I asked him if they only track statistics that make them look good instead of the what the main concern of their customers. He basically said that that he as not ability to see who is visiting my website from 411.ca.

    I demanded a refund and cancellation. He replied that he will not give me a refund and there is a 30 notice required for a cancellation. He explained to me that they are compliant with the 10 days buyer’s remorse (the law). After an exhausting conversation with both the manager and the representative, he finally agree to send me a confirmation that I am canceling the service. I will have to pay again for another 30 days of advertising due to their 30 notice policy.

    Ultimately, this service returned no results, had the worst customer service experience and will let anyone who is looking to do any online marketing know about my experience so then they can steer clear of 411.ca. Worst company ever!

  • Mac

    Reply Reply August 11, 2016

    We have also suffered a similar issue with 411.ca. The Spa was approached by 411.ca with the promises of exposure etc on 411.ca.

    We quickly realized this was not getting the exposure we where sold on and tried to cancel.

    We sent emails and had phone conversations with them – they would not let us cancel (411.ca took advantage of my ladies lack of English language skills as she is ESL English as a second language) and kept billing her even though she clearly told them many time she wanted to cancel.
    You cant cancel via email – you have to call and cancel…excuse me?
    While on the phone they insisted on her paying these piled up monthly bills after she canceled their services after the first month.
    No effort to clear this up and cancel even when requested several times.

    411.ca is a rip off and they prey on small business, make promises that are not real and make it impossible to cancel their services.

    DO NOT USE 411.ca

    Today we got an email from a collection agency that 411.ca has sent their imaginary bill statement to – for $378.00 – even after numerous attempts to cancel / phone conversations where they where very rude and made it impossible to cancel their useless service.

    BE AWARE 411.ca is a scam for billing – all they want is to keep sending bills so they can send you to collections agency – DO NOT USE 411.ca unless you want hassles and a large bill sent to collection agency even after you have tried to cancel many many times.

  • Steve

    Reply Reply July 23, 2016

    Everything you have mentioned is 100% correct. I got a call the other day which I ignored, they called again during this week so this time I answered. After we greeted one another the Sales rep told me that my trade (plumbers) was getting a lot of searches in my area. I asked how much and she said about five thousand searches in my area. My Google analytics said it was 1400. Right away I knew something was wrong. I was offered a package of $120 which I said I will call you back. About 5 minutes later I called in to talk to a different sales representative. I asked how many searches did you get for plumbers and I was told two thousand. Right away I knew they were lying. So I went on Google and typed reviews on 411.ca and now I am here. Funny that the review below your link on Google was a dentist who was lied to about searches too.
    I want to thank you for this review site. You have saved me a huge headache. Just reading all the other reviews here it does seem like this company is crooked.

  • ardit

    Reply Reply July 14, 2016

    So i received a phone call from 411.ca C.P. She says that right now is the busiest month of the year so i should start to advertise with them. she said there is no contract and being too compelling i started to believe what she was saying…
    right after the payment it has passed 17 days i never got a call or email to instruct me what to do.she said i will receive minimum of 4 jobs per month.
    MY OPPINION 411 IS A THIEF WITH LICENSE.
    god protect us from them.

  • Suleman

    Reply Reply June 27, 2016

    Worse experience with the guy name “Joshua”. Very desperate. Will annoy you continuously with the calls every 30mins then threat you to delete your existing free listings. People are busy give them a day or two they will phone you back. yours not that crucial for our business. 411 wont make any impact on your business. Just a directory to have your listing in to increase your presence around the web.

  • Ultro

    Reply Reply June 20, 2016

    They keep charging my visa without my permission. Is there any way we can do group lawsuit?

    • Steve

      Reply Reply July 26, 2016

      Nope. Even though you cancelled we will keep charging your card

  • Tom Miller / Winnipeg

    Reply Reply May 26, 2016

    A friend who is a small contractor asked me for help registering his Winnipeg business with 411 Local Search because he did not have a credit card. 411 was demanding a credit card # before he could complete the application. It was with considerable reluctance that I got involved because I had heard many HORROR STORIES about this type of thing. However, he was a friend in need and so I took the phone and gave the 411 sales person the required details so that the application could be completed and he get back to work on the construction job that he was doing for me. The 411 sales person was told IN NO UNCERTAIN TERMS that this was to be a one time charge and then all credit card data was to be removed from their system. The billing went through on my April stmt., was paid to VISA and my friend reimbursed me in cash. This was supposed to have been the end of the story, however, when I just opened my May VISA stmt. there has been a second charge from 411 for $52.50 which was unauthorized. I just got off the phone with CIBC after being told that since I gave out the information it’s my problem they have “washed their hand of it”. Now I am faced with Derrick’s problem in dealing with a totally unnecessary conflict resolution. Hopefully 411 has learned from the experience with Derrick, if not,then maybe both 411 and CIBC will learn something from the pending fight with Thomas. Then again, some people, and I guess some companies, just “never get it” (until they finally bankrupt). Thank you Derrick for the opportunity provided “to vent”.

  • JAMES SHELDRICK

    Reply Reply May 17, 2016

    I know they used my Kijiji information to get my phone number and then Lauren Maggs called on may 11 to offer me a high number of hits to my ad at 411.ca and she promised that since they are ” partners with Google” my SEO would improve tremendously! I sent her my CC info and things went through fine. I also remember that a “top ad” with Kijiji automatically cancels after 7 days so I naturally assumed that my ad with Lauren Maggs at 411.ca would also automatically delete after 30 days.
    Such is not the case!
    These blockheads are to be avoided.
    I recommend reporting 411.ca to CIRA of which I am also a member.
    Live and learn.
    James

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