Consumer Action

June 9, 2010

Checking Better Business Bureau Reports. What to Look For.

A member of a networking site where I sometimes post asked if there were any good internet companies offering mailing lists, e-mail list, etc.  At the time of the question, I had knowledge of two companies:  Data Depot (www.datadepot.biz) and Info Group, Inc. (www.infogroup.com).  As I have mentioned many times, datadepot.biz is not accredited with the BBB and has an F rating.  Info Group, Inc. is accredited with the BBB and has an A+ rating.

What does this mean?  According to the BBB website, “If a business has been accredited by BBB, it means BBB has determined that the business meets BBB accreditation standards, which include a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints.  BBB Accredited Businesses pay a fee for accreditation review/monitoring and for support of BBB services to the public.

BBB accreditation does not mean that the business’ products or services have been evaluated or endorsed by BBB, or that BBB has made a determination as to the business’ product quality or competency in performing services.

Businesses are under no obligation to seek BBB accreditation, and some businesses are not accredited because they have not sought BBB accreditation.

Ratings are determined by a number of factors including how complaints are handled by the company.  The BBB website states, “BBB assigns grades from A to F with pluses and minuses. A+ is the highest grade and F is the lowest. The grade represents BBB’s degree of confidence that the business is operating in a trustworthy manner and will make a good faith effort to resolve any customer concerns filled with BBB.

Here is a partial list of companies offering these services along with their BBB rating and accreditation status. 

  • Info Group, Inc. (www.infogroup.com).  Accredited with the BBB and has an A+ rating.  Approximately 37 complaints closed by the BBB over the past 3 years with 10 of those in the past year.
  • LeadsPlease.com (www.leadsplease.com).  Accredited with the BBB and has an A+ rating.  This company has not had any consumer complaints in the past 3 years.
  • Constant Contact, Inc. (www.constantcontact.com).  Accredited with the BBB and has an A+ rating.  This company has had 19 complaints over the past 3 years with 4 of those occurring in the past 12 months.
  • List Giant (www.listgiant.com).  This is a Gold Coast Partners business.  Gold Coast Partners is not accredited with the BBB and has a D rating.  This company has 1 complaint over the past 3 years that was unanswered by the company.  Also operates under the name Universal Lists.
  • Data Depot (www.datadepot.biz).  Data Depot is not accredited with the BBB and has an F rating.  DataDepot.biz has had 56 complaints closed by the BBB in the past 3 years with 50 of those ocurring in the past year.  Company is also known as In Touch Media, LLC and operates additional websites www.b2bdata.org and www.email-list.com

Each of the respective BBB sites provides additional information about these companies.  It is a good place to start your research before giving any company, especially on the internet, your money.

BBB reports provide a great starting point to determine what type of company you may be dealing with. 

Hope this helps at least one consumer avoid a bad mistake such as the one I made when I stupidly engaged DataDepot.biz to provide mailing lists.

Let me know if you know of any other company that deserves mention, whether good or bad.

Thanks.

Clark

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May 17, 2010

Is There A Difference Between Internet Companies Offering Mailing Lists?

Filed under: Consumer Advocacy,Data Depot,E-mail Lists — Clark @ 7:07 pm

You’ve seen the very poor reviews and ratings for Datadepot.biz.  Are all internet companies offering mailing lists and e-mail lists as bad as Datadepot.biz?  We’ve looked at one of the other companies out there and found that the answer is, no, they are not all the same.

Datadepot.biz has an F rating with the BBB with over 50 complaints (most in the past year) and is not accredited with the BBB. 

Compare that to one of their competitors – InfoGroup, Inc. – another company offering similar services.  InfoGroup, Inc. has 37 complaints in the past 3 years, holds an A+ rating and is accredited with the BBB.

Not hard to determine which company is the better choice.  We recommend InfoGroup, Inc. and advise customers to stay away from Datadepot.biz.

Shop wisely.

Your Consumer Action Advocate.

April 7, 2010

Don’t Give Up the Fight

If you have been ripped off or experience really bad customer service such as my well-documented troubles with DataDepot.biz and feel there is nothing you can do…don’t quit.  There are many things you can do.

Perhaps you feel filing complaints is a waste of time and, in the short term, it may be.  You may not get the resolution you want but, if you quit the fight while there are still options available, you have done exactly what companies such as the F-rated DataDepot want you to do. 

Filing complaints at the very least creates a record that law enforcement agencies utilize.  This record also provides information to consumers who are checking out the company before doing business with it.  Your time filing the complaints and documented the company’s poor customer service or scams is going to help someone else avoid that company and, in time, may end up helping to bring government action against that company.

Here are things you should do whenever you have been the victim of a poor company:

  • Save all e-mails, letters, etc. related to your complaint.  This is crucial for supporting your facts.
  • File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau serving the area where the company is located.  This may or may not motivate the company to do the right thing but it creates a public record and impacts the company’s rating with the BBB.
  • File a complaint with the County Attorney General’s office where the company is located.
  • File a complaint with the State’s Attorney General’s office where the company is located.
  • File a complaint with the FTC.
  • File a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Center.
  • Tell your story on every blog, forum and site you can find (do an internet search for “complaints” and you’ll find a long list of places).
  • Share your posts using the “share this blog” or “share this post” button available on most sites.  You can then publish your post on Stumble, Digg, etc.

Why is posting to complaint sites and blogs important?  When someone does an internet search for the company, they will also see the complaint sites referencing the company.

Again, your efforts may not result in the desired outcome for your specific situation; however, you will help steer others away from that company by taking the time to tell your story.  Remember, always stick to the facts that you can support and remain professional.  These points are keys to your credibility.

Finally, depending on how much time you are willing to spend, post messages inviting others who have had problems with the same company to contact you.  You may find enough people to begin a class-action suit.

I encourage everyone who has experienced scams, poor customer service or otherwise just bad business dealings to take the time to make your story heard.  If we consumers fail to act, these bad companies will continue to escape accountability. 

Good luck.

– Clark

November 19, 2009

Call on Congress to Stop Reductions in Medicare Physician Reimbursements

Filed under: Congress,Consumer Advocacy — Clark @ 12:23 am
Tags:

ACOI Advocacy Alert

Without congressional intervention, physicians will see a 21.2 percent reduction in Medicare physician reimbursements beginning January 1, 2010.  The House of Representatives is scheduled to consider the “Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act of 2009” (H.R. 3961) on Thursday, November 19.

This important legislation would prevent the reductions slated for January 1 and repeal the current Medicare physician payment formula.  H.R. 3961 would establish a new payment formula, eliminate the debt created by years of temporary “patches,” and reduce the likelihood of future steep cuts to physician reimbursements under the Medicare program.

Ask your US Representative to vote “Yes” on the “Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act of 2009” (H.R. 3961) in support of physicians and Medicare beneficiaries.  Dial 1-877-262-9400 from any touch-tone phone and follow the instructions to be connected to your US Representative.

Thank you for your assistance!

November 18, 2009

Consumer Action – Virus Warning

Filed under: Consumer Advocacy,Virus Warning — Clark @ 7:26 pm
Tags:

I received this e-mail this morning so I wanted to pass along to our readers/participants.  While Snopes does not show any activity with this virus since about March 2009, it is very likely to re-surface with the upcoming holidays.  UPS, FedEx and DHL all posted warnings to help alert customers.  Their respective warnings and examples of the fraudulant e-mails may be found by clicking the link below to the Snopes site.

Please pass this along to everyone you know.  Thanks.

The virus circulating is:

 The UPS/FedEx/DHL Delivery Failure.

You will receive an email from UPS/Fed Ex Service along with a packet number.  It will say that they were unable to deliver a package sent to you on such-and-such a date.  It then asks you to print out the invoice copy attached.  DO NOT TRY TO PRINT THIS.

IT LAUNCHES THE VIRUS!

Pass this warning on to all your PC operators At work and home.

Snopes confirms that it is real.

http://www.snopes.com/computer/virus/ups.asp

November 17, 2009

Consumer Action – Data Depot

Filed under: Consumer Advocacy,Data Depot — Clark @ 4:15 am

Several months ago, I purchased a mailing list from Data Depot – big mistake as it turned out – they just took my money and never provided the promised information. 

Their website listed the data elements they promised and it appeared to be just what I needed.  Once I received the mailing list, I found that they had not included the City – certainly an important element in a mailing list don’t you think?  I contacted them several times before finally receiving a response that there must be something wrong with my computer.  Absurd – it was a data file downloaded from an FTP site.  Didn’t require any programs to run or anything.  I contacted them several more times and they simply refused to respond and they refused to provide a refund.

I then filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau – what a waste of time.  I’ve come to the conclusion after this and a previous encounter with the BBB that it is not worth the effort and time.  Data Depot responded that they don’t guarantee the accuracy of the data and I agreed to that when I purchased the mailing list.  True, I do understand that they cannot possibly guarantee the accuracy of the data as addresses change fequently in some cases; however, I did not agree to purchase a mailing list totally missing a promissed data element (city).

I then filed a complaint with the State of Florida Division of Consumer Affairs.  Data Depot simply refused to respond to them and they closed the file with no action. 

The company’s particulars:  Data Depot (www.datadepot.biz), 6822 22nd Avenue North, Suite 284, St. Petersburg, FL, 33710 USA, Toll Free: 800-555-DATA (3282), E-mail: info@datadepot.biz

Fellow consumer advocates, is this the kind of company with whom you would want to do business?  Please let Data Depot know what you think about their behavior.

November 16, 2009

Consumer Action is Now Here for You

Welcome to the Consumer Action Blog.  The purpose of this site is to provide a place for consumers to voice their legitimate, factual complaints about businesses (including government) that just don’t act right.  Please read the terms and conditions before getting involved.  This is a call to action, not just a gripe site!!  Together, we can make a positive difference in our country so, please join me in our push to return sanity and decency to our business world.

To post your problem/conflict and seek Consumer Action help, first read the terms and conditions then post a comment with your complaint/issue.  The administrator will review your post and either approve it, return it with modifications or questions or deny/delete it.

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