Monday, June 19, 2017

Plan Your Next Move

May was National Moving Month. Though we are a few weeks late, it kicks off the busiest time of year for Americans changing residences. Moving is stressful enough without having to worry about unlicensed movers and dishonest scammers trying to take advantage of us. To help combat the stress of moving, BBB is here to offer these tips to help find a trustworthy moving company.

  • Get at least three In-Home estimates. Written, in-home estimates will help you make an informed buying decision. Show the mover everything that needs to be moved. If someone says they can only give you an estimate over the phone, they might be trying to scam you. Also, keep in mind that the lowest estimate can sometimes be an unrealistic low-ball offer which can cost you more in the end.
  • Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about anything you don’t understand. If the moving company isn’t willing to answer your questions, you might want to look for another mover.
  • Get all agreements in writing. Read every document carefully before signing. Get copies of all documents you signed. If anything in the agreement  is unclear ask for clarification of seek legal advice.
  • Protect your possessions. Make sure that your mover provides full-value protection insurance for any lost or damaged possessions. Note that insurance is by the pound, so expensive items such as a flat-panel television may need additional replacement cost coverage in case they are damaged in transit.
  • Take your valuables with you. Cash, coins, jewelry, photographs and important papers should be taken with you or shipped separately using a shipping service with tracking numbers and insurance.
  • Do your research. Research a company at bbb.org/cleveland to read Customer Reviews or Request-A-Quote from a trustworthy mover. More tips and information on how to choose a mover and plan your move are available at AMSA's consumer Web site, www.moving.org; and the U.S. Department of Transportation's site, www.protectyourmove.gov.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

BBB offers these tips for World Elder Abuse Day

Today is World Elder Abuse Day (June 15, 2017). This year’s theme is, “Understanding and Ending Financial Exploitation of Older People.” Financial scams often go unreported and they can be devastating to many older adults, leaving them in a very vulnerable position.

In honor of World Elder Abuse Day, Better Business Bureau Serving Greater Cleveland (BBB) would like to highlight common financial fraud that targets our growing population of older adults.

Telemarketing Fraud - If you receive a suspicious phone calls using these or similar lines, hang up the phone to avoid becoming a victim of fraud.

Image result for older person on phoneYou receive a phone call from someone claiming to represent the IRS. You are told you owe back taxes that must be paid immediately, or you will be arrested. Someone calls posing as your grandchild. The phony grandchild will claim to be out of town and in trouble, urging you to send money ASAP. You receive a call that you have won a financial prize, but you are required to send an advance payment of a fee to collect the winnings.

BBB Says - Don’t do business with an unfamiliar company. Legitimate companies won’t pressure/intimidate you to make a snap decision. Research a company at bbb.org/cleveland.  Don’t pay for a “free prize.” If a caller tells you the payment is for taxes, he or she is violating federal law. Never send/wire money (including gift cards) or give out personal information such as credit card numbers, bank account numbers, dates of birth, or social security numbers to anyone you don’t know. Avoid “act now” or “no-risk” opportunities.

Investment Schemes - Many older adults look for ways to supplement their income in their retirement. Investment scammers lure you into their schemes through the internet, postcards, phone calls, spam emails, social media, luncheons, and investment newsletters to talk you into some supposedly great investment opportunity that offers big returns .Regardless of the specifics, you are offered what sounds like a great opportunity but the extra income never materializes.

Black Calculator Near Ballpoint Pen on White Printed PaperBBB Says - Know who you are dealing with and research any investment before committing any money. Beware of anyone who suggests putting your money into something you do not understand or who urges that you leave everything in his or her hands. Watch for red flags like: guarantees, unregistered products, overly consistent returns, complex strategies, missing documentation, account discrepancies or a pushy salesperson.

Phony Debt Collectors - You receive a call  from someone claiming to work on behalf of a loan company. They claim to be collecting overdue payments taken out by your family member or significant other. If you say you do not owe a debt, the caller threatens that you
or a loved one will be arrested and/or face other consequences.


BBB Says - If you think that a caller may be a fake, ask for his name, company, street address, and telephone number. Then, confirm that the collection agency is real. You should also ask the debt collector to provide official “validation notice” of the debt. Debt collectors are required by law to provide the information in writing.

Monday, June 12, 2017

How to Stop Annoying and Unwanted Calls

cable, call, communication

Are you tired of getting bombarded with unwanted calls? Better Business Bureau Serving Greater Cleveland offers these tips to limit your calls:

  1. Sign up for Do Not Call Registry

Register your home or mobile phone for the Do Not Call Registry for FREE at donotcall.gov or by calling 1-888-382-1222. If you received an unwanted call after your number is on the National Registry for 31 days, report it to the FTC.

  1. Hang up on illegal sales calls
If your number is on the Do Not Call Registry, and are getting sales or illegal robocalls, don’t press buttons to be taken off the call list or talk to a live person. Doing so will most likely lead to more unwanted calls. Just hang up.

  1. Purchase a Call Blocker

Call blocking allows you to block incoming calls from specific telephone numbers. You can purchase a device that connects with your landline. These devices blacklist calls, meaning they automatically block call from coming through based on its preloaded database of spam number. Some devices offer a blacklist and a whitelist option. Consumers can manually program the phone to recognize and accept a certain number of known "safe" numbers.
  1. Sign up for free Nomorobo

Nomorobo (winner of FTC Robocall Challenge) is a free service that intercepts calls after the first ring and blocks those on a FTC assisted blacklist. If the call is legitimate the call goes through. If it’s an illegal robocall, the call is intercepted and hung up. Not all phone carries support simultaneous ringing, to see if your phone supports Nomorobo visit www.nomorobo.com. Sign up by entering your phone carrier and email address. The website will provide you step-by-step instructions based on your carrier.


  1. Do NOT Answer Calls from anyone you do not know

Don’t rely solely on caller ID alone. Scammers will spoof (manipulate) the phone number to make it look like they are calling from a number in your area, the IRS, Washington DC, Police, etc. Do NOT answer calls from anyone you do not know.


BBB does not endorse or recommend certain services, products or businesses.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Utilizing Customer Reviews for Your Small Business

Small business owners engage in a variety of marketing techniques to help promote their small business. But, one source of marketing that often gets overlooked is the customers. A customer letting others know about their experience can have a big impact on a business. 88% of consumers claim that reviews impact their buying decision. Using Customer Reviews are not only a free source of advertising, but can create a positive image for potential new customers.

Timing is everything
 

Don’t be afraid to ask for Customer Reviews. If you don’t ask, your chances are slim to none of getting a positive review. If a customer has a bad experience, they will set out to write a bad review. A customer with a good experience may simply let you know in person or over the phone. Be direct! Take the opportunity to ask your customer to share his/her experience in an online review.

How to Ask for a Customer Review


It takes people several times to hear/see something before they remember it - let alone take action. Make it easy for customers to leave you a review by encouraging them to read/leave reviews about your business throughout your interaction. Train staff to tell potential customers to read reviews about your business before making a purchasing decision, as well as asking for review at the end of service. Make is part of your employee’s daily interaction with customers.Create visual customer review content that engages customers including emails, email signatures, stickers, postcards, signs, and social media posts.

Solutions are important 


Each and every customer review, good or bad, deserves a response. Though it may be hard to not take a negative review personally, remember this is business. You want to respond to customer reviews in a timely, genuine, and professional manner. If you have a positive review, a simple “thank you” can show your appreciation. If you do have a negative review, make an honest effort to resolve the issue. We all make mistakes; potential customers like to see both sides and how a business responds.  

BBB makes it easier for consumers to leave reviews about a business. To learn more visit: bbb.org/cleveland/reviews