Wednesday, January 12, 2011

One of the growing problems consumers face is the number of sites appearing all over the Internet with such surreal titles as RIP ME OFF.COM; GET EVEN.COM; SCAMS R US.COM; and so on. These sites provide disgruntled consumers a venue to vent frustrations, often not related to the vendor mentioned, and demonize the company of their fancy. These sites are not endorsed by any NGO or governmental organization and they'll post any negative information the poster provides. These sites permit “complaints” to be posted under pseudonyms (an anonymous call sign) without proof or substantiation of many slanderous claims. Even the author of WikiLeaks has substantiated his claims.

The simple solution is to check with legitimate sources that provide the merchant an opportunity to defend their service or business. When referencing a service or business that has derogatory information submitted to one of these “hit” sites, discuss the situation with the vendor. Unfortunately, many times a vendor has no idea of the problem referenced and cannot discuss it as they don’t know the source of the complaint. The other disadvantage is some providers are bound by confidentiality rules and regulations, such as Doctors, Lawyers, Clergy, and Accountants. Nevertheless, if you desire to purchase the product or service, ASK and demand some general discussion of the type of complaint.

There are multiple scams and outright rip-offs with which we all have to contend. Seniors are primary targets as they usually have acquired assets, maintain excellent credit, and are generally more trusting than our younger citizens.

Bottom line: Do your own due diligence. For larger purchases such as homes and automobiles, run the “deal” by your financial advisor, not your local barber or bartender (no slander intended), and/or attorney. Both CPAs and Attorneys are State licensed and have boards with whom to check.

Just as you have to question those who tell you the product or service is better than the discovery of fire; you may also discount some negative and unsubstantiated information posted unless that company has been barred from business or licensing or is listed on a government, BBB, or web site.

Our goal at is to keep you safe from those who want to unfairly separate you from your money.

Stay tuned for further articles designed to protect seniors.

Fred Claridge, A.K.

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