Ray Parker is not gay, but Auckland Yellow Pages users could mistakenly be thinking his fitness centre is for homosexuals.
The Papakura gym owner - and district councillor - is fuming after someone placed an advertisement in the 2007 Yellow Pages for "Ray Parkers (Gay Lesbian) Homosexual Fitness Centre", complete with false telephone number.
The bogus advertisement also appears in White Pages listings.
Mr Parker was alerted to the advertisement a month ago and says his friends, staff and gym members have been joking about it.
But he is concerned the ad has sleazy connotations that could deter people from signing on with the 1000-member centre.
Ray's Gym attracts about 15 new members a week, but he says the centre needs to lose only about three or four recruits a week before it fails to break even.
He is not sure if the ad is someone's idea of a joke or an attempt to harm Ray's Gym, a brand he is looking to expand after spending six years building the Papakura business.
He says he has a couple of suspects in mind, but is amazed anyone would have spent the $2700 plus GST to place the ad.
"It's a lot of money for someone who doesn't like me. If they don't like me, they sure don't like me."
Mr Parker has hired a lawyer and is negotiating with Yellow Pages Group to find the perpetrator. But whoever placed the ad requested confidentiality, which means Mr Parker has had to fight his way through the Privacy Act to glean information.
"We will take whoever it is down. He thinks he is smart, but he is a dickhead."
Yellow Pages is now a stand-alone company after splitting from Telecom. Spokeswoman Wendy Rayman said yesterday Yellow Pages had more than 200,000 business customers and such malicious advertisements were rare.
The company told Mr Parker the name of the person who placed the advertisement, but a check revealed it to be false.
Ms Rayman said Yellow Pages' "Privacy Act team" was now working with Mr Parker.
Sunday, April 29, 2007
This is a curious one...
A gymnasium owner in Papakura has discovered that some very kind soul has paid close to $3,000 on his behalf for an advertisement in the Yellow Pages. He has no idea who is the benefactor, but he would very much like to find out.