Advertising Scam / Universal Adcom / Hometown Productions

I’m a sucker.

In January, “Hometown Productions” called and offered us an ad on a city map, to be distributed from all of the local hotels/motels as well as our local Chamber of Commerce. The first run, they said, was 3000 maps and if those were depleted, they’d print another 3000 and send them out. They claimed that the Chamber was receiving the maps for free, as well as a portion of the sales proceeds. Here’s what it says on their website:

I bought 2 “spots” on the map, asked for the specs, built the ad, and emailed it in. I paid in advance to take advantage of the pre-pay discount.

A couple of months later, “Universal Ad” (aka Universal AdCom) contacted me and introduced themselves as “working with the Baker County Sheriff’s Office” in producing a magnet to be distributed through the Sheriff’s office as well as distributed to the Elementary and Middle schools. The magent would list all of the important phone numbers including the Police, Poison Control, etc., and over 5000 would be printed. They offered Paizano’s exclusivity on the magnet, and I bought 2 “spots”. Here’s the listing on their website:

Again, I built the ad per their specifications and emailed the camera-ready copy to their graphics department. Again, I pre-paid.

About a month later, a box arrived in the mail with copies of the map that I had agreed to do. The ad was awful. They had cut and pasted my camera-ready ad into a horizontal space, and it was blurry and set up completely wrong. I was pissed, but figured that there was nothing that I could do and to just keep my mouth shut.

Another few weeks passed, and I was sent another box with samples of the magnet that I had agreed to do. Again, it was awful – as if they had taken my camera-ready ad and used scissors to cut out my logo, fonts, etc. and fit it to a space that they needed to fill. And again, I chalked it up to a lesson learned to NOT do advertising with outifts outside of town.

Then, it became more apparent that I was a victim of a slick and slimy scam.

I received an email from our Chamber announcing that they were partnering with only ONE map company, and Hometown Productions was not it. I called Hometown Productions, and they admitted that the Baker City Chamber had decided to NOT partner with them.

A week or so later, I was delivering pizzas to the Sheriff’s Department when I saw a stack of the magnets. I was floored to see that the Sheriff’s Department was distributing magnets WITHOUT our ad on it.

The top magnet is what the Sheriff’s Office had / the bottom magnet is what I was sent:

I asked the Sheriff’s rep about it, and she had no idea what I was talking about; that they had received a box of magnets and left them on the counter for people to pick up. I asked if they were distributing them to the schools… Not as far as she knew of, she replied.

I called Universal AdCom and was told that I had been told that there were going to be two printings of the magnet, and that HALF of the production would have my ad, albeit “improvised” to fit the space that I had been told was available.

Slimy icky scam artists. I have been suckered.

Today, “Debra” from “Baker County” called me in regards to a magnet. She said that she just needed to verify our hours, and make the change on our ad for the next magnet that was being distributed by our Chamber. Debi is the person that I normally talk to at the Chamber, so hearing the name “Debra” put me on guard.

Sure enough, I asked if she was calling FROM the Chamber, or WITH Universal Ad….

Here’s the scam:

They get suckers like me to buy an ad, then call a few months later saying that they’re producing more maps/magnets and need to update the ad. The advertiser gives new info (typically hours of operation or a website added), and then a “3rd Party VERIFIER” gets on the line to verify the information you’ve given is WHAT YOU WANT CHANGED ON THE NEW AD without letting you know that you will be CHARGED for the second run. Your credit card is charged, and you’re left out to dry because you AGREED that you WANTED the change.

Universal AdCom is known by a plethora of different names:

Scam artists…. every one.

Here are some links in regards to other small businesses that have been duped:

Fraud Company targets Cedar Park Chamber

Chamber Warns of Phone Scammers

Universal Ad CON

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101 Responses to Advertising Scam / Universal Adcom / Hometown Productions

    • Gary says:

      In early Feb. 2010, I recieved a call from Hometown saying I had done bussiness with them before. Not recalling having done so, I requested they fax me the artwork from the previous ad. In late Feb. I recieved an Invoice from Hometown before I had the artwork. In early March I recieved the fax, the artwork was unacceptable and didn’t have my logo, and said “By previous agreement (which I didn’t) cancellations or size changes at this time are not acceptable.”
      It turns out I had done some ad business with Fanfare Sports for some T-shirts for my local school. When called to tell Hometown I wasn’t paying for such crap, they said I had authorized it by giving my birthdate, which I never gave Hometown, but may have given Fanfare. Now, in October I receive a “final notice” to pay or they will send it to a collection agency and report it to “all credit bureau’s”.

      • LOL says:

        UNIVERSAL AD COM IS IN ARLINGTON THE PRICES ARE ACTUALLY 249.50 299.50 AND 399.50 ANYTHING AFTER THAT THEY ARE TRYING TO MEET THERE NUMBERS THEY INFORM ALL EMPLOYEES NOT TO HAVE ANY CUATOMERS GOOGLE THE COMPANY BECAUSE ITS A SCAM..

    • Bernadette says:

      I just want to thank you for sharing your experience, I received the same call earlier and after googling their name I found this. YOU just saved me $309.

      • Heather Thornton says:

        They just called me and said they wanted to put my information on middle school cups for football games for $300. Every website they gave me to confirm their identity…fanfaresm.com/universalad.com woudn’t pull up as they kept telling me they had it right in front of them. I asked them to email me the information and he offered to give me their tax id on the invoice they sent to me. I did a google search with them still on the phone I found this information and politely declined. The phone number they called from was 309-373-2054 and said their names were Nate and Tony. No thanks!

  1. Denise says:

    I received a phone call today (3/18/09) from a Jake at Hometown Productions. When I told him I was not interested, he hung up the phone very abruptly. I taught that was very unprofessional and rude. I decided to look them up on the web and came across your story. Thanks!

  2. Dianne says:

    They have been calling me bugging me to pay a 400 invoice, I tried their website Ithought they were legitamite, WRONG!! No such website, the phone just rings, If they call back I’m gonna tell them off, Money is so tight now days, I hate scam artists, Thank you for this website, Kept me from being taken in (again) I live in one of the worst economic regions (MICHIGAN). I need every dime.
    Thank you again

  3. Krystal says:

    Thank you so much for posting this. I just got a call from Hometown Production and while on the phone I pulled up this post. I will not be taking part in their little scam thanks to your post. You have just saved my family’s struggling business a few dollars.

  4. Angelica says:

    you guys are so lame …. your frekin retarded firsat of all to prevent all these problems just say no ….. stupid !!!!! its a company like any otheres… your dumb for thinking posting this site will make a difference you people are rideculous !!! michigan please theyrve been doing it for years i would no i live there !

    • keeneye says:

      rolling around laughing at your comment. I could delete it (it IS my blog, and I have all of the power Mwah ha ha aha ha) but…. ****** * * * * * * * ^^^ Please see the above comment if you have any questions as to the intelligence of Hometown Productions / Universal Ad / AdCom / Fanfare / Mirror Map / Universal Adcom / Premier Impressions / Premier Maps / Prime Time Advertising / Scoreboard Productions / Universal Ad Com / All States Media Inc. / Mirror Map Co. / too tired to type in all of the companies that they go by….. I just hope that no one else gets SCAMMED by Universal Ad.

      • Jen says:

        Is “theyrve” even a word? Talk about lame… LOL. Hang in there Kina. Thanks for NOT deleting that one, so that I could have a laugh too!

        • Debbie says:

          I just got off the phone with a guy from Home Town Productions! What a jerk. Thanks for the info, I wasn’t going to do an ad with them anyway, but it’s nice to have other people weighing in on these scammers! And to Angellica you are so friggin retarded Why don’t you go back to school an learn how to spell, then maybe you’ll have enough common sense to know that these posts really do help!

  5. Elaine says:

    I was also scammed by these same people. Today I was called and told I had not paid a 2nd invoice for a 2nd map! The 1st was not updated with current info, which I had previously called about. I immediately said that I had not authorized a 2nd map ad. I was lied to and would not pay it. The rep said perhaps I was being billed for a reprint. I said it wasn’t my fault they messed up! I requested to speak with a supervisor and was never allowed to but supposedly a supervisor looked and said the 2 invoices were too close in date and they would delete the 2nd one. I’m going to spread this invo everywhere I can!

    • Hispanicraven says:

      Well, I was stupid enough to try to work for these people. I did not make the cut because I could not be scandalous enough for them on the phones. Granted I was only allowed two weeks on the phone to talk people to place ads on this map. At first I thought that is was a cool place to work for , but the more phone calls I made, and the more I talked with people that had placed ads before, the more my eyes opened up to the type of company that I was working for. Everything that was said on here is true, I know first hand now. I will never try this kind of work again. I am truly sorry for everybody that I asked to do so, and of course, since I was not rude or pushy enough I never got anybody on the map. I am glad now!!! Sorry that this is happening especially with the way the economy is right now. This company has made millions doing this.

      • kim riggle says:

        I just want to say my husband thinks I’m crazy for saying this company is a scam. This is not the first time we got scammed by someone and hopefully after my husband learns he got scammed again maybe he’ll learn. We just hung up from the company and they said they billed us for the second time for the maps because of an update. We haven’t received the maps but they sure got our money for them. They said it will take 6 to 8 weeks to get our maps. Ha what a joke. I only hope people will wise up and stop people from getting their credit card information. Anyone can say they are from a company and lie about it just to get their money.

  6. jenn says:

    My husband and I have a siding & window business in Emmett, Idaho. With the times being what they are, jobs so hard to come by, when Hometown Productions called he thought he would give them a chance. The “complimentary” maps came in the mail yesterday and the ad looked so cheesy with all the mistakes. It wasn’t until I tried to reach someone about it that I found out this was a scam. Along with your writings I found lots of other reportings on this outfit. I am a firm believer of “what goes around comes around / Karma”. This “company”, if you can call it that, is taking advantage of desperate business owner’s, people trying to do what ever they can with money they don’t have trying to save their business. I honestly believe the day will come when they get what they deserve. I might add I am doing what I can by calling all the other advertisers and giving them the heads-up. What I am doing probably won’t make much of a difference, but it makes me feel better.

    And as for Angelica, wow, you seem to be very passionate about all the criticism of Hometown Productions. I am assuming that either you work for them or are connected somehow with someone that does. In any case, honey, if I were you, before submitting your opinions online I would at least make sure you knew how to spell all those big words you used. Just a thawt…

    • Corina says:

      I agree with you completely…but my lord “thawt”..it just makes the whole sentence before it sound retarded.

  7. Kevin says:

    Just got a call today 10/15/09 from Hometown Productions and they wanted my authorization to be added to a map for the city at no costs, I told them sure, then he mentioned their are no costs for the map, but a production fee of $400 to place the ad, I said no thanks and hung up!

    • not stupid says:

      OMG! That is rich. I once had a rep call a customer and on answering the phone, the rep asked her what her address was to send this invoice to and the lady gave it to her, and then the rep said that the invoice for 499.50 would arrive within ten days and hung up.
      Fortunately, the company did not approve the sale.
      Look, this is telemarketing at it’s worst.
      there is NO good intentions here, and since leaving there, I have seen how that company and thier presence in Central Illinois has blackened the eyes of reputable marketing companies.
      They are very rich at the top. gazillionares, all at the expense of (mostly) small business owners.
      On the flip side. they also do have some great, satisfied customers. That always blew my mind.

  8. Tom says:

    I was called and told they over billed me. instead of a refund they gave me a county 60 miles away for another add witch I can not use. What a ripoff!?

    • Tom says:

      In October I told them not once, but three different times that I wanted them to cancel all adds that they were trying to bill me on 1 was for Van Zandt County 2 was for Rusk County 3 was for Cherokee County. They lied about the cancellation and told me they only show one cancellation for Rusk County. I told them I have an Invoice they sent for Van Zandt.

  9. robin says:

    Same story. Unordered product, false invoicing. LIES LIES LIES.

    Except now Universal Adcom has turned us over to their collection agency “The Law Office” of McBeth & Associates ALSO based out of Arlington TX, which is actually a COLLECTION AGENCY.

    THIS COMPANY MUST BE STOPPED!!! Does anyone have any information on an organized group against these guys?? Something Legal? Im going to place a call today to the Attorney Generals Office and the BBB. Please help with any information on an organized group taking action against these people/this company. Thank you.

    • Bizong says:

      Robyn, I was just “let go” from Universal Adcom today in Peoria, Il and everything you people are saying is true. The place is a scam job rip off factory with zero morals. I heard countless lies being told by sales reps, and by the trainers themselves. I basically stopped making any sales there due to the fact I couldn’t in good conscience lie to hard working American people that are all ready in financial trouble. What needs to be down is that the government needs to implement a “business to business” do-not-call list. I was told by countless people that they were on the “do not call list”. Sad but true, this only pertains to businesses calling residential numbers, not other businesses.

      • deeez nuts says:

        u dont work there for a reason jackass. you sucked at your job and they fired you and now ur upset n wanna talk trash? get real.you couldnt cut it and they canned ur dumbass, if u were one of the top reps n gettin $1000 + a week u wouldnt say anything..i dont know who ur tryin to impress or lie to but i know knowthe truth, u didnt quit because u have good morals, your pathetic. u call this company a scam but u couldnt even keep the damn job. ha! WHAT A JOKE!

        • Legal Aide says:

          Learn how to spell and get a REAL JOB! If you had an education higher than 2nd grade, you wouldn’t have to work for scam artists:)

      • Corina says:

        I agree. I recently got let go from the location over in Arlington, Tx & I only worked there for about a month. I do believe that yes the product does work well for some small business types but there are some many other variables that I didn’t have any control over.

    • Fiona says:

      I have just received a collection notice too from UAC Collections, also based in TX, on behalf of Hometown Productions. I kept notes & copies of everything I faxed back and received from them. I composed a letter stating that this debt was bogus & paperwork to prove it. Also told them if they contacted us again, I’d report them to the FTC & the BBB for their questionable business practices. I also included a few google pages listing Hometown Production Scams from top to bottom! We’ll see what happens. It’s B.S. that we have to spend our hard earned money on special postage (registered confirmation) & waste our time for these scum sucking jerks!

  10. joe preis says:

    I too am scammed by these idiots! They do a shitty job with the ads. The name of my company is git-r-done Handyman Service. They printed the add saying, GIT-R-Done and my phone number. Who would ever call? the add said handyman nowhere! not only that, I never seen an area map until they sent my box. Same as the magnets, They are only sent to the people buying them. Someone needs to shut them down! They are still trying to collect their 309 from me, but i say fuck them ass holes right in their moms face. bitch ass scammers taking all our money and let 5 year olds or retards do the work.

  11. not stupid says:

    I used to work for Hometown Productions. I was one of their top sales reps.
    You people are right and wrong at the same time.
    First, Distribution is set up by the sales people by getting signed agreements with entities like Chambers, CVB’s, etc.
    Those are supposed to be produced on demand by the office selling that product.

    however, you are right about their practices. Once you buy an ad, you are in their system. You’re considered a “rippie.” (Repeat).
    Those rippies, in any sales are gold, because those pare people who have bought before.
    Now, Universal AdCom does not tolerate people who lie, however, they hire anyone off the street and when people can’t sell legitimately, they start to shortcut by telling clients that they’re WITH the Chamber, etc.
    Here’s the biggest problem. Once AdCom get’s your money or your approval to do an ad, they will fight like the dog to not pay refund it or cancel an order under any circumstances.

    Here’s the biggest lie: The Maps, et al, are good for a year.
    WRONG, and this was my #1 problem with them; As you’ve seen, they’ll call you every 3-4 months to buy another ad. And their training program, a week long, teaches these “sales people” just how to get you to say yes.

    Don’t take me as a disgruntled ex-employee. Like I said, I was one of their top sales people, and I made my money off of Rippies, so I know.
    The reason I left is because they treat the sales people worse than the customers. Especially the ones that sell the most. We cost them more, because of our bigger commissions.

    • disgruntled says:

      Well I AM a disgruntled ex-employee!!! I worked at the one at 2 News Plaza, Peoria, Il. for all you people who want to write them and tell them how awful they are!!! Look, this guy writes that they don’t condone lying….whatever! They told us exactly what to say and how to say it during training! He says that they fire those who can’t sell “legitimately”…that made me laugh. It’s not legit in any way! As soon as I found out that it was all BS I quit! They lie to people to get money from them, they don’t care about customer satisfaction or they’d give refunds, and they offer shitty products….sounds like a scam to me! Maybe you’re just trying to justify the guilt you feel for enjoying your take home pay which you received from ripping innocent, hard working business people off. Stop trying to sugercoat it. The fact is, they lied to me about false products, customers, and company policy. Then, they have you lie to others to get them paid. That is called a scam, sorry. These people have every right to be upset! And for the moron who said that this site won’t help anyone…..obviously it has. Read the posts!

      • Bizong says:

        Exactly! When I found out about the maps not being produce and circulated for a year I was pissed. I had lied to I don’t know how many countless people. Another rep finally told me that they try to sign people up every 3-4 months, I was pissed. He even turn to Tonya the head manager or whatever she is and said ” He just found out about the maps being out for 3-4 months!”.I looked at her with a disgusted look on my face and she just kinda half grinned and walked away without saying anything. That’s when I knew this place was total bullshit. Needless to say I was “let go” the next day. As for firing people for lying, BULLSHIT! They know what is going on. The only people who get fired from that place are people who don’t make sales. Hell the only way TO make money is to lie your ass off. I sat across from top producers that just spewed shit from their mouths all day long.

  12. terry peters says:

    I was scammed in a differtne way.They called on my phone and it sounded really good. Every resident was to get one of these magnets with my business and phone number. I was to make two payments, one then and another in one month. The next day I looked at my bank account and they had taken boyh payments the same day. I called the bank and there was another pending for the next day. Had to change card numbers.

  13. J. Smith says:

    For three years I have let them know that their Madison & Carroll County maps are incorrect. They have not been updated since 911 addressing took place. Each year they promise they will get this corrected but they never do. They have the city airport out in the county!!!!

  14. Joyce says:

    I am secretary for a small Lutheran church in southern Utah. A year ago a box of maps from Premiere showed up without anyone authorizing them. These were of such poor quality, many sites and addresses either missing or incorrect, we wouldn’t have bought them to begin with. We returned all the maps and now have received a notice from an attorney threatening further action. I’m too nice of a church lady to tell them where they can put their maps and threats.

  15. Kevin G Fetner says:

    I run a fencing business. Both times I was called (once by Premier Map and the other by Scoreboard Productions), I was hard at it outside and on a business cellphone. Premier blatantly lied and said they were “County Map” and making the map for our Chamber of Commerce and county. I paid on three installment, eventually got a box of maps and of course, they are trash and NOT The Chamber of Commerce Map. Scoreboard Productions called and a female who identified herself as a “local mom” and supporter of our local middle school. She said she was raising money for “our” basketball team. My business was to be on a “sports T-shirt” which I was to get in a month. Never got the “T-shirt”, but instead got four cheap, plastic cups. Again, I paid in installments. OK, so we’re talking about $600 total and that’s money hard earned the honest way, in difference to how this company makes their money; scams. I’ve been able to recover about $300, provisionally so far, the rest is lost. I was only able to recover the last 60 days of payments, but it’s still in the dispute process. There should be a class-action lawsuit against this company??

  16. the other side says:

    I did work for this company for a year…Now first of all all of these comlaints seem like legitimate complaints and problems I have seen when i was employed by them BUT what you businesses dont know IT IS thE GREEDY sales reps that area LIEING not the business when a rep is caught lieing”mis repping” they are suspended or terminated. The Business does get signed contracts/distribution agreements from city offices chambers etc.. if the sales reps followed the script they were given there wouldnt be so much confusion. THe sales people lie to make a sale they get a commission off of not the business…Think about it what business would PROMOTE and PUSH for cusstomer dis-satisfaction. Every business owner has had a dishonerable employee the business does try to correct the problems. The magnets are Great exposure and the program does work when it is DONE correctly with honesty.

    • disgruntled says:

      This is completely untrue! They PUSH for you to get them paid! They only fire someone who isn’t selling within 2 weeks or if they get CAUGHT lying…is anyone catching this? They will allow salespeople to say just about anything, if they’re good at it. This guy acts like it’s just one or two bad apples but it’s entire floors of them! Every one of them wants a good paycheck…I used to get paid 6-800.00 per wk. + com. What about you??? They KNOW they mislead people and so do you and so do these ex customers!!! If you enjoy lying to people why aren’t you still there??? Your post shows me that you weren’t that good at it anyway!

  17. J. Keith Carroll says:

    If you recognise the name it’s on the magnet you showed here. I was billed for an order I didn’t place, I also have been to the sherriff’s office to complain. I have been turned into collections, it’s costing me a fortune in raised interest rates.i have complained to the states attorney general in both texas and oregon. I want some thing done!

    Keith

  18. Russ Detzler says:

    I also was contacted, in December 2009, by sales representative(David) from Universal Adcom aka Hometown Productions. I also was offered an ad on a county map for my business. A proof was to be mailed to me for my approval. I never received the proof.

    On January 4th 2010, I was contacted again by representative (Suzy) from Hometown Productions informing me that I was being invoiced for $307.00. FOR WHAT???

    When I went back and reviewed my phone log both calls had been blocked. Why would a reputable company be blocking their phone number, unless they have something to hide!

    I called Adcom Corporate Offices @ 817-633-3300 and the receptionist refused to transfer me or give out CEO’s name. She did give me a Customer Service phone number 1-800-778-6308. Lisa Humble is the Corporate Manager, but of course she wasn’t available. Will let you know the outcome when I speak with Lisa.

    BUYER BEWARE THIS COMPANY IS RUNNING A PHONE SCAM.
    Group action law suit needs to be filed!

    • robin says:

      Something has to be done. These criminals have profited long enough from good, harworking people.
      Count me in on the group action lawsuit Russ.
      Robin

  19. well I just got burned by this company. I didn’t think to look at the maps and see how useless they are until I read this website. I would love stop this scam with a group action suit. Count me in!

  20. Pissed says:

    AdCom just got us too. At first, I was conned into thinking this was a good advertising oppurtunity by saying that the community guides go out to all the new residents through the Chamber of Commerce. Lies… They were actually magnets, that don’t go out to anyone unless they are handed out. We had a coupon put on it to get a free dish of custard, seriously-who puts a coupon on a magnet for a restaurant. We are out $400 dollars that they refuse to give back, even though I called and tried to cancel the order before they printed it. We got the useless magnets and the bill since I had foolishly already given them my CC#. How do we spread the word about this disgusting company?

  21. kathy says:

    Rec’d a call from this company offering to print magnets with our business name. Told rep to send sample then we would decide. Never received sample but did receive invoice for $258; incidentally our company name was not even spelled correctly. I called and was transferred to a customer service rep who was rude and unprofessional, but of course would NOT give me his name, his supervisors name or even the name of the company he represented. He insists that the next communication I get will be from their attorney if we do not pay the invoice for the mystery magnets. Has anyone succeeded in their fight against this scam company?

  22. Julie Ruspoli says:

    We received a phone call from Universal AdCom to purchase an ad space on magnets. We authorized this ad and when we received the invoice we mailed payment the same day. A couple weeks later we received a phone call from Premier Impressions for another magnet. We told the sales person we did not want to order additional magnets. A couple weeks later we received an invoice from Premier. We wrote a note on the invoice stating that we did not authorize the sale and mailed it the same day. Since September 2009 we have received several phone calls harrassing us for payment of the second magnet. Now they are threatening to take us to court. I advised the lady that we are not paying for magnets we did not authorize and I would welcome a court date. She told me their company policy requires us to call and cancel an order even if we did not authorize it! I told her by law I do not have to cancel by their company policy’s for somethng I turned down when first offered the product. I am reporting this to the BBB and our local authorities. Also, some of the local county phone numbers are wrong and the second ad was different from what we authorized on the first magnets.

  23. Little Bear says:

    I worked for them years ago. Their sales reps (@ 1st) are told that what they are telling the customers are true. My closing line for the emergency magnets was “If we just save one childs life would’nt it all be worth it. It’s only $299.50 Can I count on your support!” I sold a lot! When I found out the real deal they were paying me so much it was hard to quit. But the horrible feeling in my stomach that I had everyday won. I quit and left the great pay. Please check you Credit Card bills that you used to purchase the ad monthly as they have been known to double and quad. bill. EVEN YEARS DOWN THE LINE. If you dispute it you will win they will not fight. Takes to much time for them when they can just call the next guy and get him. I have attached a link so you can see what the President of the company has been up to.

    http://www.myfoxdfw.com/dpp/news/031210-cops%3A-dad-passes-out-with-daughter%2C-drugs-in-car

  24. Mary says:

    class action lawsuit? count me in

  25. Pingback: The Original Scumbags « Pizza Professional with OCD

  26. I want to thank you for this blog. It is extremely helpful to me. I am in the position of begining to sell such advertising on paper placemats to be distributed in restaurants. However, I do not want to be associated with any company who is scamming. I know of Universal Adcom being rather successful at what they do, but I wasn’t really sure how they are since I’ve never seen any of their products out in the public. I hope if and when our company grows, people such as yourself will not put us in the same category as them. Thanks to this blog, I now know I will need to show our customers exactly what they will be recieving and where it will be distributed. I will also of course, have all our customers sign our agreement before anything is printed or charged. I don’t believe any of you are in my area, (the Quad Cities) but if things go well, and we can put ourselves in a better category than Universal Adcom, you should hear from us at some point in time.

    • robin says:

      Nobody wants your crappy placemats.

      • Sherrie Dilly says:

        Well Robin, it appears as if you are incorrect. Things are going rather well for us at this point in time. But once again, I must thank all of those who have been posting on this blog. I have used many of your comments as examples of what NOT to do. Thus far, our company has made sure we are upfront and honest with our clients. And it has worked rather well.

  27. Tom says:

    I had put up with those idiots a months ago. I told them to cancel the service. Today I got a call that started by telling me that they were with the city and county maps. I told him I was not interested and hung up. I get a call a few seconds later saying A H I am with the BBB.I asked what BBB he then hung up. I consider that a threat.

  28. Mandi says:

    I was just scammed by Universal Adcom. If you choose to do a class action lawsuit, count me in!

  29. Kathy says:

    I was another “almost” victim of the Hometown Productions Map Scam. I was also told that they were working with the Chamber of Commerce, and all the community schools. I was told that every child would take home a copy of the map. I initially agreed and gave them my credit card information, but had a weird feeling in my gut. I check online and found out that this company was just a scam. I immediately called back to cancel my order. Initially they acted like there wasn’t anything they could do. I demanded to talk to the supervisor, and they said I would have to call the home base. I called the home base and was on hold for 20 minutes. When I finally got to talk to the person in charge, she said “no problem” and told me they would cancel it, and said that my credit card information had been shredded. One week later I got a bill from Hometown Productions, and checked with my credit card company..they had not “shredded” my information as I was told, but had charged $339.50 to my account. I was mad! I called back Hometown productions and was told I was a liar, that I couldn’t have cancelled the order, because I would have been given a cancellation number…(FYI,this scam artist’s name is Sondra). I told them that I had taped the conversation about my cancelling the ad, and that if my credit card wasn’t credited immediately I would start legal proceedings. After much arguing, they gave me a cancellation number, and a month later the charge was taken off my bill. Believe me, I will be checking every monthly statement to make sure no further charges are added! This company should be put out of business ASAP! I too would definitely be part of a group action suit!!!

  30. Tom says:

    I’m another ex-employee who’s glad to be rid of that place. I worked in typesetting, and while I recognized some of my handiwork in those magnets, rest assured I did NOT do that pizza ad. These people care more about quantity more than quality, and you’re expected to do a high amount of ads each day. I couldn’t meet that quota and got fired, because I actually cared about how the ads appeared and didn’t want my ads to look like crap.

  31. Darren Gray says:

    I worked for this company out of Peoria, IL. I was excited to start a new position and I knew I could make some decent money. In training we were told that these maps would come out once a year, I knew the maps sucked, but figured I could still sell advertising space, that’s what was important. Imagine my surprise when 3 months after I started there I got a list of sales leads that included the businesses I had just sold a few months before.

    Not only is this company all about ripping people off, but at least 50% of my coworkers spent their breaks getting high in their cars.

  32. Mr. Pibb says:

    Went through the same shenanigans a couple of years ago with “Fanfare Sports Marketing” (one of their many business names). Thinking it was a local high school calling (they never mentioned “Fanfare”), I agreed to purchase t-shirts with my business name advertised on them…supposedly to support the school.

    Received their $400 invoice a few days later…thinking it would have come from the school, but not the case…school not even mentioned on the invoice. Followed up with the school (my nephew goes there) and they’d never heard of “Fanfare.” Tried to call them, but couldn’t get through…received more invoices, and finally a nasty collection letter from their “attorney.”. Reported them to the Better Business Bureau (Texas), and they resolved the matter for me in quick order.

    Total jerks.

  33. Dan says:

    I was also scammed a year ago. They called up as Fanfar Sports and sid the local high school was raising money for the basketball team. Little did I know this was propbably not true. The person I was co-ordinating the ad with did a crappy job at arranging my ad. They also arranged everything wrong. The cost was around $300. I just got a call today from an “UNKNOWN NUMBER”. The guy asked for Ray…and said that he had spoken to someone last week and was told to call back today. Little did the guy know that my business only has one number and I am the only person who answers the phone. BIg Fat LIES! Sadly, i get a call from these people every few months with a great new offer. I refuse and request to be taken off their contact list.. clearly that has not occured. When someone sues these people, I want it on the action!

  34. Alanna says:

    I have also been duped by these guys. I did this for one year with them and then cancelled the next time they called to “update” my ad. I told them we were no longer interested in continuing since the response was so dismal and the quality of work was shoddy. They ran it again anyways with an ad that is completely out of date and now they have sent us to collections for failure to pay. I am still trying to sort everything out but no one returns calls.

    • KeenEye says:

      Alanna – I believe that they are listed in the BBB directory as a fraudulent company. I would recommend sending a letter with an explanation to all 3 credit bureaus with a copy of their BBB ranking and your details so that your credit isn’t ruined. I think that Hometown Productions / Universal AdCom believes that if they send you threatening letters of collections that you’re too busy to retaliate and will just pay the bill to avoid lousy credit. We all know how many hours we have to put in to run our own business – having to deal with a few hundred dollars may sometimes be enough to pay to avoid the headache. If they continue to do this to thousands of businesses, they’ll make a fortune (which they have). They will NEVER return calls; you’ll need to take action yourself.

  35. Dusty says:

    Has anyone heard if Jim Gildenblatt went to trial for the Marh 12th incident? Is he going to get jail time since both were felonies? Or did he pay his way out of it?

  36. Gary says:

    In early Feb. 2010, I recieved a call saying I had previously done bussiness with their company, Hometown Productions, and they wanted to know if I would verify information in advertising in a newcommers map, saying it would be distributed to realtors for new home buyers. Not recalling having previously ordered any ad from them I requested a copy of the ad be faxed to me. In late Feb. I received an invoice, in early March they faxed me the artwork proof which stated “By previous agreement (which I did not) cancellations or size changes at this time are not acceptable.” The artwork didn’t even include my logo. In calling customer care they recited to me my birthdate as proof I had agreed to placement of the ad. It turns out that I had previously done an ad with Fanfare Sports, for T-shirts for my local school, I may have given them my birthdate. Now they are threatning to turn me into a collection agency and report me to “all the credit bureau’s”.

  37. Kevin says:

    These people almost scammed me! Call saying they r sensing out the maps to local business and local chambers. They never do such a thing!! They try real hard to get u to pay over the phone! I do not pay anyone over the phone! So they did not get any money out of me, though they keep calling and sending invoices. They were supposed to send a proof in the mail, never received one. I did receive a invoice for somthing I never approved. They do send a box of maps with your miss spelled business name on them and a map of my town from 80’s. The next invoice will be sent back with a letter from my lawyer! Good luck out there!!!

  38. JD says:

    Be on the look they are now working as “totes to go”. Offering “free” canvas totes to go “go green”.

  39. I received a call from their latest scam “Totes to Go” (add that to the list) saying that they were associated with a local community center and would be distributing reusable, environmentally friendly totes to families visiting the center.

    It sounded really sketchy so I pushed for more info and the guy admitted their were an ad firm and not really with the community center. They wanted $400 for an ad spot and said they were trying to get just 4 businesses to participate. But then indicated that they were only going to print 300 bags.

    I told him I wasn’t interested in “experimental marketing” and he got really fishy and basically said they just needed credit card info to get the ball rolling – though I had just told him I wasn’t interested.

    Anyway, add Totes to Go to your business’ no go list!

    • KeenEye says:

      Scam artists. The last call I received I asked the girl on the phone, “How can you sleep at night knowing you’re stealing from small business owners? Please. Go find a job that isn’t working for a bunch of theiving con artists. You deserve better!”

      Totes to Go is on my list. Thank you!

  40. Pingback: Businesses Beware: National Ad Scammers at it Again! « Jason & Molly

  41. josh says:

    I am a recovering addict(been clean 2 yrs)I was hired by universal ad com at the height of my addiction.I was pretty honest with my supervisor about my problem and he made feel pretty comfortable about it telling me he was a addict and an ex con also.Being desperate for money I figured out very quickly how to make very good money there and they had no problem with it since the more I sold they also got a commision from.I got so good at it infact they offered me a coaching possition training new employees. I took it for I while because I was offered more hourly and a commision of what my trainees sold.I quickly went back to the phone though because relying on other people for my commision was to up and down.I was pulling in about $1000 a week and only working about 3 to 4 days a week.The real truth is they do tell you not to lie but as I learned and taught my trainees there is a lot of grey areas and if you word it right its not lieing.(so I thought).After about a year there I entered a rehab and got straight and thought about all the people I cheated.It wasnt right and neither was I.Unfortunatly the world is full of evil people and I was one of them

  42. lw says:

    We have recieved many scamming calls regarding maps from hometown productions-the call every cple months and try speaking to different staff members to et authorization. they called again and i asked them to take us off of their list and not call anymore the representative then proceeded to call me retarded and humg up the phone! now thats professional.

  43. cindi says:

    PLease give me any updates you have on these people for 2011, my husband used them in 10/2010 and it has been a mess since then. We cant get them to talk or refund money for bad business, all they want to do is offer you another “free offer”. we sure do not want that at all.
    If there is a class action suit please let us know.
    Thank you!

  44. Kathy says:

    I was taken by Hometown Productions 2-11-2011. I kept on telling them I was not interested and was about to hang up the phone when the man on the line informed me the county that I live in had been doing the Chamber of Commerce maps for the past 15 years and they would offer me this very large ad at a discount to pay up front. I did like a dummy feeling the entire time something was not right. They got $209.50 from me and to this day never heard another word from them!!! I have tried to contact them with no success!!! Lets get these frauds!!!!! Someone tell me how and I will. Lets all get together and file on these creeps for taking advantage of all of us. If it were me I would probably be in jail for this type of activity, but they are laughing all the way to the bank!!! This kind of thing still surprises me and I am not happy to know I have been had so what can we do about this? I sure would love to know!!

  45. SA says:

    This post helped save our company money. We did a Google search on the phone number their rep left us, and found all these posts relating to the scam by Hometown Productions aka Universal AdCom.

    I called him back and just said we’re not interested in “renewing” and he asked “Was it the price?”

    “No,” I said, “I looked you up on the internet and you don’t have the best reputation, so I’m not comfortable passing this on [to management for approval].”

    He literally said nothing and I said thank you and hung up.

    I appreciate all the posts here. Thanks.

  46. SA says:

    Also the number was blocked coming in (which is extremely shady for a business) and the callback number was 309-685-8776 and the person calling was Kevin S. They wanted $299.50 for “LA County Multicity Maps.”

  47. Cathy says:

    Hometown Prouctions/Universal Adcom/Premier Map are all the same company scamming businesses. I am a former employee. They condone lying and if you are one of their top reps who lie extremely well by telling the customers they already agreed to the ad and that they have to do it or will get a collection complaint, they love these employees. The managers tell the reps to say the customer gets the ad for a full year when in fact they only get it for prob 2-3 months and then they call again to renew or “go over the ad to make sure its correct” and then get billed for it again. The verifyers who take the payment info which are the credit card numbers of the poor business people are using the card information for their own personal use by writing the numbers down ive witnessed this. I have also witnessed the managers smoking marijuana on company ground. They will “cover” the employee who sells them weed if they missed time. The owners are in Texas and was recently arrested for cocaine possession with his children in the car!! The managers also hire their friends to work in the office and copy company information to sell to other companies and blame it on other reps. The top reps also abuse cocaine in the bathroom and one reps husband sells to the boss and other reps. These people are freaks and full of drama and will stop at nothing to get your credit card number. Their product is crap. Two color maps and two color magnets that dont stick and the distribution is lied to the customer. They only print as many as people buy not what is promised.

  48. Honesty over Everything says:

    I am a former employee of Hometown Productions. However, I didn’t work there for long. In training, this extremely eccentric Josh character teaches everyone the ins and outs of being slick. He is very energetic and at the beginning I really thought I would enjoy doing this work. When I got on the phones I realized what was really going on. Example: None of the maps are in anyway endorsed or sponsored by Chambers of Commerce. We were taught to put the word like in front of that so we “wouldn’t be telling a lie”. Places LIKE the chamber of commerce the police department etc. Another thing they do that I think is horrible: When calling repeat customers they lie to them about the amount they paid for the previous ad so they can jack the price up even higher.But what really made me realize that the company sucks and doesn’t conduct good business is that so many people that I was calling were telling me things such as “I know all about these maps. No thank you. “You guys have called me twenty times already.” “My last ad was a joke.”…………..There are many people working there that make a more than admirable living doing this. But I could never be one of them. I would rather have pride, dignity, and respect than a big fat commission check based on mostly lies and with holdings of the truth.

  49. deeez nuts says:

    ur all a bunch of idiots..i work for the company and have for some time..i deal w the same customers over and over again and they are SATISFIED and even pay MORE for better and bigger ads every time..just cuz ur too stupid to figure this shit out dont blame someone else

  50. breann thomas says:

    attention all business owners only 900 of anything r sent out with this company they lie by pushing the word exposure and one time fee for services that r free buyers beware

  51. kid says:

    I worked for Universal AdCON. I was very good at selling until I realized that they are scam artists that A) Make terrible looking maps and B) Do not distribute them worth a crap (which is probably for the best because their product is so so so inferior to other more legitimate companies). I’m so sorry to anyone who has been a victim of them and, if I ever sold you an ad, I am doubly sorry. I didn’t know what a racket I was involved with. Really, my sales went in the toilet after I realized they were practicing unethical business. I don’t know why they haven’t been shut down by now. They are a terrible, terrible company and they should have been put out of business years ago. I live here in Peoria and instead of being closed, they have a huge building with massive letters announcing their business name. Why has the BBB not taken care of these racketeers? Please someone… destroy them! All of you trying to run legitimate businesses… good luck with your business. I wish nothing but the best for you!

    • MOM says:

      One year later and they are still at it. This time in OH. We are a small town, rather trusting and naive. Our not-for-profit mission thrift shop was one of about 15 that got taken on this scam. I am making it my mission to contact all the other advertisers on the maps and let them know what is going on. Our maps are missing some major roads.
      We are in a large rural tourist community and maps are quite necessary. Needless to say, most of us were tricked out of $200-$300 each. Tomorrow I call the local Chamber of Commerce and then the BBB.
      Pass the word along, Hometown Productions, Premier Maps, and AdCom are scammers.

  52. Kevin says:

    Scoreboard tried to scam me as well, called and asked if I would be on tee shirt for local school told them I would call school to check first, called the school they said they knew nothing about it,
    Scoreboard keeps calling saying I need to pay, I never agreed to do anything, the phone calls keep coming with threats of collection what a joke.

  53. Sharon Adams says:

    i have worked with then for years I am tyring to get it stopped but thet say if have to pay ever 3 months for a year. I have ask them many time to remove me from there list. They will not leave me alone. I would like to see a class action lawsuite

  54. Bob Allen says:

    They are now using Destiny as the name of the publisher of maps that will be part of newcomer packages.

  55. HONEST says:

    Heard about a possible job oppurtunity through this company. Ummm. no!!!!. Ive read every single complaint. Not one positive, not even from deez nuts that tries and justify the companies ethics. “deez nuts” needs to repay everyone he/she has ripped off personally. This will allow a real self assesment of deez nuts actions. I will go on to say if you have been charged on your credit card within the last 90 days, you should be able to go to your bank and make a dispute to the charge and your bank will automatically do a draft back from this company. Then this puts the ball back in their court. Also, they cannot legally file a collection on you as you have signed an affidavid knowing you did not authorize this charge. Send a certified letter showing them the affidavid and any supporting order acknowledgements/sales transactions. If they do not have an order acknowledgement (signed by you), they dont have shit. In the state of Texas that is your legal binding contract. Companies like this make tons of money and can hire the right lawer. So for all the people that want a lawsuit, should do it, if its not already pending!!!!!!!!

  56. ellen says:

    thank you for posting this. they just called my small company asking us to do the maps just like they asked you.

  57. guitarist247 says:

    I worked there in Peoria for two days or so, then a friend forwarded me this blog/arcticle. Needless to say after reading this, I left. I have a conscience, and ethics. I could not sleep knowing that I would be ripping off hard working americans.

  58. Gladson says:

    They’re still doing it in 2013. Just last week one of their reps called me and claimed to be the Coordinator of Events for the City of Douglasville,GA and offered me a biz card size ad on the same magnet for $529. She said that the city recommended us and that my ad will be the only clinic on the magnet and I was thinking ” of all the clinics in this place why are we so special to the city, I don’t even know anyone there in person”. So, I told her (Jamie Rogers is her name) I’ll ask my boss. When she called back I told her that it is a very good deal but our budget cannot support it this year. So, she offered me an instant discount to $300.00. That last call was when I noticed the name “UNVL ADCOM” with a 817 area code on the caller id and I wandered why would an employee of a city in Georgia be calling me from a private company phone with 817 area code? I’m happy I doubted her. My advice is “don’t be in a hurry to agree to something, sleep over it, ask more questions, research the phone call, ask the “sponsor”). I get many offers from 855 numbers and I treat them all with suspicion.

  59. The same thing has happened to me. They are very snicky. They told me today that they had to have a salon on it before they could print next week. I hung up on them. I was only a sucker once with them

  60. Midwest Business Owner says:

    Still out there… now its represented as County Historical Mapping with ‘your city’ on one side, the county on the other and detailed historical information… was offered a 7×3 1/2 ‘back ad’ for 275.00 when it normally goes for 600.00 because they are close to press and don’t have a back ad… hmmm… ‘your city’ meaning our city… right county, we and our business are located in a semi-rural area that is not in the city that was indicated… and when I asked who they were working with on the original order of 3000 being distributed… Historical Society, Downtown Business Association, City, the answer was ‘I don’t really know anything about that, my Corporate takes care of all that’… the Corporate business that wasn’t mentioned when I asked for the company name. This just smells wrong.

  61. Cindy says:

    They may now be working under the name of Word of Mouth Productions Inc out of IL. Email address is hometownmaps2014@gmail.com; phone numbers are 855-580-4781 and 309-966-3186.

  62. Econolodge says:

    They called me in January and ask for maps. I have pain in Advanced and not recieved any maps yet. Is anyone know their phone number? help me please

  63. Steve says:

    Can’t believe we fell for this — paid for the magnets and then they sent another shipment they say was authorized by one of our employees (our son) because he gave them an accurate date of birth! They sent a second shipment and we refused to pay — now they are threatening to report us to the credit bureaus and a collection agency — good luck with that

    • I am working with my credit card company and my banks to put a fraud alert on my accounts. Since I did not receive the merchandise, so, I can stop this. I called the Chamber of Commerce and was told that I should not have been charged at all. They also got the tote bags scam. I called another advertiser on the magnet and they said they were also charged twice.

  64. mandi says:

    Funny thing is I’ve worked with this company a total of 4 times in the past ten years. I never stayed longer then a month Any of the 4 times. They are a scam. They take your ad that you send by email or fax print it out and put it on a paper. They find your ads also online and lie and say their calling to make sure nothing needs to be changed for the upcoming editions. They will lie and say you have done them before when you havent. I will say now if anyone is caught saying they are connected with the Chamber they will get fired. Their sales office sells around $13,000 a day for junkie maps that noone ever looks at. It is a scam. They have you go thru a week training class to basically teach you how to “rebuttal” the business owners and to get them talked into buying. It’s sad and I do feel bad for all the people who get ripped off cause to be honest with you thered sales reps there that prolly make more money a year then some of these business. No joke.

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