Internet made it easy for consumers to make the right decision when they are shopping around for a new product, service, insurance carrier, school for their children – you name it. If you are about to part with a substantial sum of money, you might as well go online and read some consumer reviews to make sure you’ll get your money worth with this particular product or service you plan on paying for. But as you type a certain brand in Google search, Google kindly provides you with suggestions of things relevant to your query: that’s when a scary word “scam” might come up and raise alert. Who will ignore this kind of a red flag? Becoming a victim of fraud or scam is the last thing you need – life is stressful enough as it is…
The truth is, not everything deemed as direct scam is really scam. Well-established and legitimate brands that have been in business for years can be labeled scammy by a few angry customers because they were dissatisfied with the service, price, or quality. Internet made it easy to provide or get information, but it also made it very convenient to complain. Ripoffreport.com and ConsumerAffairs.com are just two out of hundreds of sites that offer you a chance to vent, express your frustration, and warn your fellow-consumers to stay away from the fraudulent company. And some claims made are really outrageous: you should certainly get wary if the same issue was encountered by a high number of customers who purchased the same product or service; or when money was paid but no service received; or when a bait-and-switch approach was used. But it’s important to differentiate true scam from perceived – there will always be customers who are simply hard to please, ready to write their negative feedback for a 15 minute delay in service or similar minor issues.
Think of a well-known brand and search for it in Google – but for experiment’s sake add “scam” right after the brand. And immediately you will see a bunch of results full of negative reviews claiming that this brand is the biggest scam on earth. Geico has it, New York Life Insurance has it, State Farm Insurance has it, Dell has it, Direct Buy Scam…. It seems like there isn’t a single brand left for which Google would fail to produce some angry consumer reviews in search results. Because that’s in the human nature: if we get an exceptional product or service, we take it for granted (how many of us take the time to go to the review-type of sites to write about our positive experience?), but if our expectations weren’t met, we make sure to do everything to hurt the company that we believe has hurt us.
Don’t ignore bad reviews all together, but always take them with a grain of salt. Think of thousands of happy satisfied customers who are certainly are out there, else the company would be out of business. Ask questions – is Geico right for me? Will I save money with Direct Buy? Is this the insurance policy I am looking for offered at such a good rate by State Farm? Do not hesitate to bug your sales agent or customer service representative – always inquire about hidden rates, or ask for the terms and conditions to be given to you in a written form before shopping for life insurance or any other financial services. No company is 100% perfect – there will always be slip ups, but they shouldn’t be labeled immediately as “scam” or “rip off”. As long as the ratio of positive vs. negative experience remains reasonable, the company deserves to be in business and service your needs.