Pulse Pilates started in Elisa Buxbaum's Raleigh home. The business grew so much that she now has her own studio in north Raleigh. While at the studio she said she got a call about an advertising opportunity in a magazine.
"Tiger Woods was going to be in there talking about how he does Pilates and they were going to have one Pilates studio in the area with their ad next to the article. And he thought of me because we live right near North Ridge and we're only five minutes away," Elisa said.
Being close to the country club, she thought the ad could spark new business. After some back and forth with the salesperson, the price dropped from $750 to $550 if Elisa paid and closed the deal that day. She gave him her debit card information over the phone and was excited about the advertising opportunity.
But her excitement quickly faded.
"I started thinking about my past advertisement and how I never paid before I've seen the ad," Elisa said.
She said she called North Ridge Country Club and they told her they had never heard of the magazine.
When she Googled Executive Publishing, she found the company in Maryland and called them. She was told that she did not buy an ad from them, as they are a publisher's rep firm, but they have gotten similar complaints.
Elisa finally got a receipt from who she paid the $550 to for the ad. If you look closely at the receipt, the company is Executive Publishing1, based out of Florida. If you head to their website, you don't see Executive Publishing1, but they claim to have a publication called Travel and Leisure Direct.
Elisa said she called and called Executive Publishing1 trying to get her money back. She said it took many calls and threats of contacting police, but eventually she got her $550 back.
She has some advice for others who get a call about an advertising opportunity.
"My thought was I should have had him come to the studio, show me the magazine, given him payment in person instead of doing things over the phone," she said.
When I reached out to Executive Publishing1, the salesman said he just tries to sell ads to a list of vendors in the Triangle area and had no idea if the publication was distributed here.
He then transferred me to someone else who said they haven't printed anything yet in this region as they need to sell the ads first. Once they do their publication, there will be a direct mailing.
When I called Executive Publishing in Maryland, a rep said they're very familiar with this company who they say is pretending to be them. In fact, she tells me they have spent thousands of dollars in lawsuits and cease and desist orders, but Executive Publishing1 ignores all of it.