How to check out a company BEFORE you give them your money:



The best way to make sure that you don't get ripped off by a company is to do a little research before signing any contract or parting with any of your hard earned cash.   The Internet makes this incredibly quick, easy and free.   You can even do it on your IPhone or other smart phone device while you're at a store or with a contractor.

Your two most valuable tools will be Government Agencies, such as the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).  Various government agencies including: The Department of Consumer Affairs, Department of Education, Department of Health, Insurance Department, Banking Department and Department of Motor Vehichles licenses, regulates and/or supervises all types of buinesses and professions in New York.   They will often even help you resolve disputes with a business or professional.   Before giving money to any business, check their licensing status and see if there are special rules they have to follow.   Even if a business is licensed by a government agency, still check them our through the Better Business Bureau.

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Protecting yourself with the Better Business Bureau:

The Better Business Bureau has been around for almost 100 years.   It has a huge database of local and national companies including a history of complaints and how the company has dealt with complaints, and is accessible even for companies that are not members.   You should always use both the DCA and BBB before deciding to use a business and in resolving any dispute.

The Better Business Bureau helps you to quickly decide if your should deal with a business by either:
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Searching for BBB accredited businesses:

A business which goes to the trouble and expense of being accredited by the Better Business Bureau is likely to give you honest service and respond to complaints fairly.   If you're looking for products or services, but don't have a particular business in mind, you can use the BBB directory of accredited businesses to find a trustworthy business.
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Checking out a specific business.

A great thing about the BBB is that a business does not have to register with them to have a rating or even to participate in their complaint and resolution process.   If anyone has filed a complaint against a business with the BBB, the BBB is likely to have valuable information on that business.   Use the following steps to see if a business you are thinking of using has a BBB rating.
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How to review a business rating and history.

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