Friday, May 20, 2016


This post was written by Kip Morse, your BBB Serving Central Ohio's President and CEO.

Sometimes I am put in interesting positions with businesses on weekends, particularly tree trimmers. While I don’t care to “Secret Shop” folks, I struggle with telling them early on who I represent and risk them thinking I am name dropping or telling on them later. I never want to be thought of as sneaky. Of course, I could always not mention my affiliation, but in some cases, it is a teaching moment. And during this one afternoon, I had just that.
Tree trimmers were in the neighborhood.  Yes, the same companies that we warn consumers about “being in the neighborhood” and could “give you a real good deal”.  Our main concern with these situations are based on scams, and the tree trimmers trying to take advantage of consumers by doing poor work and collecting money without a contract and recourse for resolution.
In this case, the company had great equipment and had been working for days in our neighborhood with area houses.  I had many of my own tree issues I wanted resolved, but I was not going to connect with a company that I did first seek out or research through your BBB.

Well, as I am washing my car in the driveway, I see the tree trimmer approaching.  And sure enough, he goes on to tell me about the many issues I have, and the services he can provide to me.  I added a few more items into the mix and was interested to see if I could get it all accomplished for a good, fair price.  I was just curious, I remind you….
Well, when he came back with $2100 for the job, I said “Thanks, but no thanks,” because it was a lot more than I would be spending to get this work done. He came down to $1800 and then started selling. I responded with “No, no really, it’s okay.”

He came down to $1200 and continued to sell with: “Since we are here with the equipment, I will give you a deal.”  I think he finally got to $1000 and I started asking if he was Accredited with BBB?  He stammered a little and shared some issues he had with BBB in the past that were all taken care of, most of which concerned credit card use, etc. I again asked if he was Accredited and he said “Well, we have a good rating.”  

“But are you Accredited?” I asked. He said he was not sure.
I said I would give him the job once I checked to see if he has a good rating with BBB.  Guess what?  He had a D rating, was not even eligible for Accreditation, and I had to tell him he lost my business.  I shared with him that he should take care of those issues with BBB.  (Still not telling him where I work.)  He said, “Yeah, you’re right, but I would do a great job for ya.”
As he was leaving the neighborhood, he stopped by again and asked if I was sure. At that time, I explained that I was with BBB and I would help him connect with the Dayton BBB to get the issues resolved to improve his rating. I also told him I hope he understands the importance.  He said he would like to, and that it makes sense professionally.  I thanked him for being honest with me on the rating issues as he left.
I later told my daughter the story and she said, “Dad, have you noticed the shirt you have on?”  I looked to see that it was my BBB tee-shirt that says on the back, “Don’t get scammed.”  I wonder if he saw that as I was walking away?

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