This Friday’s Home Business Article Is To Protect You From Scams Online.
“I am going to report you to the Better Business Bureau ,” is almost a cliche for a customer who feels he or she has just been taken advantage of by a company.
I have found, however, that behind the illusion of protection, the BBB has a dirty little secret. Okay, it’s not so little, it’s a giant secret, but it is pretty dirty.
I reported a company who owed me a lot of money for online advertising. I had ran their ads for their product, which I believed in, and had recommended thousands of people to them. When it came time to pay me for recommending their product, and giving them hundreds of sales, the check never came.
They offered a never ending story of excuses, including one that the check was in the mail and that it took two months for them to get it back and that they were sending a new one. No payment to me was ever made.
So after several months of dealing with this company, I filed a claim with the BBB.
I received an email from the BBB that the company had disputed my claim and that if I wished I could submit a rebuttal. Otherwise the case was resolved in the BBB eyes.
What? It turns out, that any company that simply makes a rebuttal to a claim will automatically find the claim dismissed, unless the filer of the claim takes it further. I found that a bit ridiculous, but no where near as ridiculous as what happened next.
So I did indeed file a rebuttal because the company was not telling the truth in their response to my claim. They simply made up a story about trying to pay me and being unable to. Hello, I am still here, at the same house I bought 5 years ago. Funny how all my other mail manages to find me!
The response I got from the BBB floored me. They stated that they were sorry but the company had stood by their rebuttal. The BBB also stated that they could not force this or any company to resolve a dispute, but only worked to try and get a resolution that could be agreed upon by all.
So in essence here, the BBB is absolutely worthless to anyone who is dealing with a company who is dishonest. Period. End of story.
But if the company refused to work with the consumer, then there was nothing further that could be done. The BBB said that they would create a file for this company and include the complaint.
The funniest part about all of this, is that who exactly is going to see this file that the BBB keeps on them? Only other people who find themselves being scammed by the same company. I guess this is nice for them, so that they will not feel alone.
Worse yet, after a company scams enough people, they can simply change their DBA (doing business as) name, and then they have a clean file. They don’t even have to change their bank account information or order new checks, they simply fill out a form and have a new DBA name.
Why utilize the BBB if they can do nothing but contact the company and make them aware of your complaint? I think I did a good enough job at that myself. Considering that I had to provide the companies address and/or phone number in order to file the claim, it would seem obvious that I already know how to contact them. So what purpose does the BBB serve?
So whatever you do, do not think a clean report at the BBB means anything and know upfront that if you have a problem, the BBB is absolutely powerless to help you.
The best advise I can give you is to research any company you intend to deal with online. Make sure they have a long track record and a clean track record. If you can’t find anything out about the company, don’t deal with them.
The company that ripped me off has changed their name three times, as far as I can track, the actual number could be much, much higher.