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searching for company online

How to Check Out a Company Online

Brand Development | Posted on Mar 27, 2012 | Last updated on August 4, 2023

You are getting ready to do business with someone new. Are they reputable or are they a scammer? Nobody wants to get scammed and lose money. You don’t want to just pick a name off the web; you want to be able to find out if they are reliable, read reviews and complaints. Here are some things to look for and resources that you can use.

How did you hear about them? Did you find them on the web? Did a friend tell you about them? Did you receive a spam email (bad)? Did you receive an unsolicited call even though you are on the “do not call” list (even worse)?

Look at their website: Is it complete and polished? Read the fine print including the terms of service, privacy policy and contact information. Read their “about us” page. Do they publish their phone numbers, physical address (not just a PO Box)?

How long have they been in business? Look at their website’s about-us page. Check how long they have had their website by looking up the “Whois” information on their domain. Go to the Secretary of State website for the state they are located in and look up their corporate name.

Check for reviews and complaints. There are a large number of social review and complaint sites that you can use to see what others are saying about this company. Here are some resources you can use.

  1. Google Search: Do a Google search for the company name + complaints. See what comes up.
  2. Search BBB Business Reviews.  Businesses must be in business over one year to join. Research complaints and how (or if) they were resolved.
  3. Angies List.  Reviews and ratings for service providers.
  4. Check with state and local consumer agencies.  Check with your state attorney general’s office and state and local consumer protection offices to see if they have a record of complaints about the company.
  5. Contractor’s License. Most states require contractors to be licensed. Verify licensing with your Local State License Board. Most allow for online researching.
  6. Google Places or Google Maps pages allow people to submit reviews. Search for the company name and city and the map listing normally comes up on the right hand side of the search results page.
  7. Review websites: Check Yelp, Ripoff Report  or Complaints Board for reviews or complaints.
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DaBina Donley

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