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Who can you trust?

Who can you trust?
By Stephen Brust

I have been perplexed the last few days, after meeting with one of our new clients.  They told me a salesman called on them, prior to calling us to help with advertising, securing a domain name and hosting for a website he would build for them. After taking their check and having them sign a contract, he disappeared into the night never to be found again.

I did some research for them and came up with no record with the Secretary of the State and three complaints with the Better Business Bureau and the BBB saying they could not locate the business.

Finally the address for the company was a condo that had been empty and for sale for some time.

The puzzling thing is I cannot seem to understand why there are people or companies in our community that willfully and fraudulently sell services they don’t plan on providing.  Theft by deception is the legal term I believe. 

So this article is about doing your due diligence in hiring companies to do work for your business.  

In making decisions for your business it is paramount that you do your research.  Yes that is right, don’t just start out writing checks and signing contracts.  Here are some simple no-nonsense things to do first.

First if they are cold calling you, then you want to avoid signing anything that day.  Take their information and tell them you will get back with them.  Go to the Secretary of the State website ( to see if they are registered. .Then check the Better Business Bureau ( to see if there have been any complaints. Last but not least just Google them and see what comes up.  

Scenario number 2 you found them and want a meeting to hear what they can do for you.  You still do all of the above, just have all of it done prior to the meeting. Do the exact same research. Remember don’t open the door and allow someone into your business that is not trustworthy.

Ask around. Referrals are the number one way to help ensure finding trustworthy people or companies.

After looking at the contract, I pointed out a couple of red flags.  These could be seen on business cards or any flyers/brochures too.  

Red flags 

1) Email address is a @aol, @gmail, @yahoo, etc, etc.  Corporations have websites and their email is usually branded with their companies name, i.e. vs.

2) Do they have a website? How are they going to build you a website when they don’t have one themselves? Or, are they offering to put your ad in their publication but they don’t have samples of their publication to show you. Okay these aren’t deal stoppers but reason to be cautious.  Keep your pen and checkbook in your pocket.

I know these seem very obvious, but we are missing them everyday.  The sad thing is there are people out there who are working hard, very hard on how to scam you and steal your money.  Don’t let them do it, and don’t because you won’t take the time to research them before letting them sit at your table to eat with you.

Last month I talked about positioning yourselves around trustworthy people as you try to be one of those trustworthy people.  When you need a service, check within your circle of trust first.  No I am not saying there isn’t someone outside that circle who can’t help you.  But what did your mother tell you? Don’t talk to strangers.  Find out about them first. I can still hear her saying that as I type now. 

And yes be one of those trusted people and businesses in the community, help drive away the rotten tomatoes.

Well I hope this article will get somebody to stop and ask questions and do some research before jumping headlong into a deal or commitment before fully understanding with who and what they are getting involved with first.

Looks like that is it for this segment of Things You Should Know. 

Thank you, and if we can help you with any of your website or marketing needs, then please contact us at:

Stephen Brust
Webkat Design, llc