3OYS: Valley business questions solicitation resembling invoice

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- From trucks scooping up mulch to customers ordering supplies, it was a typical day at A & A Materials in Scottsdale.

"We’re a sand and rock business, and we deliver landscape rock," said Linda Adams, one of the owners.

Adams does her best to keep track of all paperwork that comes and goes out of the office.

"I go to the post office, I pick up the mail, I go through the invoices, and decide what's going to be paid, when it's going to be paid, and things like that," she said.

But recently, Adams came across an invoice from a California-based business called National Telecompany that looked pretty authentic. The document suggests that her company owes them $775.

"Well, it's like it has a previous balance. ... They're thinking that you've purchased this before, possibly, because why would they have previous balance, and a payment and then this?" she asked pointing to the total amount. "It just appears as a legitimate invoice."

However, the document is no invoice at all. On the back in tiny print, National Telecompany writes, "This is a solicitation for an order of goods or service ... and is not a bill."
Adams says that's certainly not what this looks like.

According to National Telecompany's website, they offer telephone maintenance service. Adams says the solicitation is misleading and wonders if other businesses are sending in money in a haste to get their bills in the mail.

"They’re invoicing. Instead of explaining what they are, they project it as an invoice to be paid," she said.

3 On Your Side tried contacting National Telecompany about their solicitations. They sent us a brief statement explaining what kind of service they offer, but they avoided talking about why their advertisements resemble unpaid bills.

Adams says she's glad she gave the advertisement a second look because if she hadn't, her company would have written a check for something it doesn't want. She said it could have easily been overlooked.

"In fact, I showed it to one of my girls that pays some of the bills. She says, 'I would've looked at it and thought, yeah, I would pay that bill,' " Adams said.