AUSTIN (KXAN) - For many people, the Better Business Bureau seal is a sign that a company is trustworthy. But one Austin consumer learned that's not always the case.
When Jeanne Glorioso needed carpets cleaned in her in her Northwest Austin home, she turned to a business she had used once before: Masters Carpet Cleaning.
"I went to look them up online, found their number, saw they were a BBB-accredited business and gave them a call," Glorioso said.
The BBB logo on the business' website helped her decide to hire the company, and Glorioso said they did a good job cleaning her carpet, but the workers charged her a higher price than Masters quoted her. The manager had a quick solution.
"Just void the check and ail another," Glorioso said.
The manager gave her a Pflugerville address for the check, but when Glorioso checked her account, she noticed that the original check already had been cashed shortly after the job was finished. She called again, and the manager promised to send a check for the difference. But the check never arrived.
Glorioso did not think that was the kind of action a BBB-accredited business would do, and she was right. Masters displayed the BBB logo on its website, even though the company was not an accredited member.
"We certainly recommend to people to do their research," said Gabriel Perales of the BBB. "Go on to our website at bbb.org and really check out the company's business reviews so you can have a feel for their history."
Glorioso checked the BBB website after she ran into trouble and realized the company not only had lost its accreditation, it now had an "F" rating from the Better Business Bureau.
"So my mistake was two mistakes," Glorioso said. "I believed what i saw on their website, and i didn't go check it out first."
The BBB reports that it had not received a response to requests to have masters remove the BBB seal from its site. We called the number on the masters website and after several tries, spoke to a man who said he was the manager. He said the company went out of business earlier this year after a death in the family, but he said Masters is contracting out to other companies to handle customers who call for service.
The manager claimed Masters has no control over its website, and that he could not remove the BBB seal. Since that time, the company's site has been removed from the web. Bottom line? it's easy for a business to post the seal, but it's up to consumers to make sure it's real.
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