For Immediate Release – March 15, 2010 -
When BBB president, David Weiss, arrived at his office this morning, he was greeted with this e-mail:
“ Congratulations Cleveland Bbb (sic) ,
The Small Business Commerce Association (SBCA) is pleased to announce that Cleveland Bbb (sic) has been selected for the 2009 Best of Business Award in the Better Business Bureau category.”
The message went on to say that the SBCA “..selection committee chooses the award winners from nominees based off information taken from monthly surveys administered by the SBCA, a review of consumer rankings, and other consumer reports.”
Call us skeptics – but we weren’t ready to congratulate ourselves. After all, being awarded the best BBB in Cleveland isn’t such an honor when you are the ONLY BBB in Cleveland.
Our award came complete with a press release which we were given “…non-exclusive, revocable, license to use, copy, publish, stream, publicly display, reformat, excerpt, and distribute.” As if that wasn’t enough, we could also get an attractive plaque and/or “faceted” award to display – at a purchase price of $157.97.
SBCA is one of many business vanity offers that routinely contact companies with claims of being chosen for some sort of honor. These offers prey on a business' desire to look good and typically require “winners” to purchase their award products. Some vanity offers select multiple businesses to receive the same award within the same category and the categories can also be so specific that only a few businesses would qualify for the award.
BBB advises the following when checking the validity of an award:
· Get a BBB Reliability Report at www.cleveland.bbb.org on the business or organization distributing the award.
· Look at the title and category of the award. If you don't recognize the award or it seems like an overly specific category that only a small number of businesses could receive, it might be a vanity award.
· Check to see if there are any fees associated with winning the award. If there is a fee for winning or for receiving a certificate or plaque it could be a scam.
· If the announcement for the award leads to a Web site, do not enter any personal information on that site unless you are positive of the award’s validity.
· Ask questions. Businesses and organizations that offer legitimate awards will usually be willing to provide detailed information on why a specific company received the award.
“Maybe we are dreamers, but we think our chances of winning the Best Better Business Bureau in Cleveland award for 2010 are pretty good,” joked Weiss.