Meet the Staff of the Better Business Bureau of Kansas City

Author: Cherie Reese

This is a fine group of people dedicated to helping businesses and consumers. I’m proud to introduce our hard working staff! In the months to come, we will be spotlighting our team to let you know more about who they are, and what they do for the Better Business Bureau of Kansas City.

BBB of KC Staff

Front from left to right, seated front row:
Dustin Johnson, Director of Accreditation;
Cherie Reese, Vice President;
David Buckley, President & CEO;
Jennifer McGlothen, Community Relations & Charity Review.

Back row left to right:
Paul Nelson, Complaints Specialist;
John Sparks, Complaint Specialist, & Mediator;
Aaron Reese, Media Contact & Communications;
Kim Hale, BBB Sales and Retention;
Debbie Ellis, BBB Sales and Retention;
Jessica White, Operations Director;
Nikolas Reese, Customer Reviews & Complaint Specialist;
Astrid Rios, Complaint Specialist.

5 Things You Should Do When Hiring a Contractor

Author: Dustin Johnson

For the past couple of months, I’ve spent just about every weekend doing some type of home improvement or maintenance work to my home and yard. I’m either mowing, trimming trees and bushes, planting flowers, fixing the landscaping, replacing wood rot, painting, staining, installing hardwood floors and the list goes on.

Now my wife wants to remodel two of our bathrooms as she already has new vanities, faucets, tile and paint all picked out and ready to go. She says, “we’ve got out of town guests next month so it needs to get done before they arrive!” Ugh, when does it end? After working at the office all week, aren’t my weekends meant to be more relaxing, especially now, since my wife and I are empty nesters?

I’m not getting any younger and my lower back aches for days after working around the house all weekend. I think it’s time to hire some of this stuff out and start enjoying some more free time pain-free!

Here are 5 things you should do when hiring a contractor.

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The College Conundrum: One Parent’s Journey

Author: Jennifer McGlothen

UniversityWhen I was preparing to go to college, I picked a few schools based on what I thought I wanted to do and where I thought I wanted to be. No campus tours, no interviews. I applied and was accepted. I chose Drake University. My parents had planned financially, accepted my choice and that was it. That was more years ago than I care to admit, but going through the process with my daughter was a bit more complex.  I’m not even sure of all the reasons why, but a few stand out.

Helicopter Parents

First, the college counseling staff at her high school held a meeting in her junior year to begin to outline what happens when and what we parents needed to know.  One clear message I got was about not being a “helicopter parent”. I thought it was a little too late to expect a parent that typically hovers to back off now that their child is ready for college. Besides that, there was a lot to take in about the nuances of admissions, test scores, essays, need-based aid, merit aid, visits and the timing of it all. It was overwhelming, but knowing how my daughter is pretty independent and stays on top of things, I decided there was no need for anxiety. I just let her get in the driver’s seat.

Career Direction

Second, some kids are very clear about their career direction, others are not.  My daughter fell into the latter category for the most part. I was okay with that, remembering how I changed my major as a sophomore and how career goals for me were more a process of discovery, learning what I did and didn’t like with each job I had. But now it seemed that college was way too expensive to not know what you want to do, so I began to understand why some students choose to take a gap year or attend community college for a couple years.

My child was not remotely interested in these choices.  The option of moving away from home for the quintessential college experience was what she wanted. Deciding on this huge educational investment with an eighteen-year-old, with quite a variety of interests and talents began to be somewhat of a conundrum.

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Here’s How To Protect Yourself From Door-to-Door Salespeople

Author: Aaron Reese

No SolicitingAs the weather has warmed, you may have noticed more door-to-door solicitors in your area. You’ve probably had more fliers attached to your screen doors or pamphlets stuffed in your mailboxes. It happens every year. And, of course, with more solicitors coming door-to-door, the risk of coming into contact with scams increases.

The BBB has recently been receiving word of more aggressive tactics by magazine sales companies and charity solicitors, so now is probably a good time for a refresher in what to do when confronted by door-to-door salespeople.

You can find hundreds of articles about how to protect yourselves from door-to-door solicitors, but some of them probably go a little too far in how they portray salespeople. Many articles advise that homeowners should never talk to salespeople. That’s certainly an effective way to avoid door-to-door fraud, but I think it goes a little too far. Most businesses are just trying to find some new customers and door-to-door is one way to do that. I prefer to treat these visits like any other type of advertising… most are fine; some lie. Prepare yourselves for the liars.

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What is Substantiation and why is it important to businesses?

By Aaron Reese

The BBB does this thing called “Ad-review.” If we spot a potentially misleading advertisement, we ask the advertiser to prove what they claim. We’ve found that most businesses are not familiar with the nuances of advertising law and frequently don’t even know they’ve done anything wrong before we contact them. They’re just trying to bring attention to their business.

FTCThe BBB challenges ads because we want to make sure businesses don’t accidentally get themselves in trouble. The FTC or Attorney General’s office may not have time to deal with every misleading advertising claim, but customers who feel misled because of an ad have the time and the will.

Luckily, the easiest way to avoid most potential problems is also the easiest. Businesses should have prior substantiation for any claim they put in an ad. If businesses need more motivation to have prior substantiation, they should also know it’s the law.

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What Is The Council of Better Business Bureaus and Why Does It Exist?

By Cherie Reese

The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization or hub for the local, independent BBBs in the United States, Canada and Mexico, as well as home to its national and international programs on dispute resolution, advertising review, and industry self-regulation.

Council of BBBs

Mission: To be the leader in advancing marketplace trust

How is this done?

  • Setting standards for marketplace trust
  • Encouraging and supporting best practices by engaging with and educating consumers and businesses
  • Celebrating marketplace role models
  • Calling out and addressing substandard marketplace behavior
  • Creating a community of trustworthy businesses and charities

You may ask, what does the local BBB do if the Council does this?

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I Spied A Scam

By John Sparks

John SparksOur office receives countless calls about scams. We do our best to let our members know about things to watch out for. Did you know about BBB’s Scam Tracker?  BBB launched Scam Tracker  in 2015 to provide consumers across North America with a place to report scams and fraud, and to warn others of malicious or suspicious activities.

Here’s an example of a recent scam I got to experience with one of our members:

Scammer:  Ok, we’ll be happy to send you your money as soon as we receive your payment for the processing fee, ma’am.

Consumer:  And where do you need me to wire the money? What’s the location?

Scammer:  Sure, we just need that money sent by Western Union wire transfer to the Walmart in (insert name of an average town in Texas).

Hold on, maybe I should back up.

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