Every business whether big or small has an online presence today, which benefits both the business and consumers interested in purchasing something. You can easily locate a business through a quick internet search, which can help you in finding products that are hard to find, identify suppliers, and even saving money. You can also find an expert at a graphic design company or a law firm to provide you the services you need. How can you know if the companies you are looking at are legitimate? or how to check a business is legit?
You can get insights into a company by examining their online presence and checking them out on online business review sites. This will let you know whether they are the right firm to do business with or not.
You should not make the mistake of rushing into things and choose the first one you come across then hope for the best. You should invest time and effort into the process of looking around the website of the firm you are interested in evaluating. Has their site been designed professionally? Is it full of annoying pop-ups and flashing come-ons? Does the site have links to articles concerning the company or reviews from other sites? Can you find case studies of work they have done with other firms?
Are they clear on their product descriptions and pricing? You should trust your intuition and common sense during this process. If you notice that what they offer is ‘too good to be true’, then be very skeptical when approaching them.
Check the internet archive so you will be able to know how long they have had an online presence. If it has been around for a couple of weeks or months, then it is not that reliable. The ones that have been around for years are more reliable.
Who are You Going to Call?
You should have a look at the contact information and ownership of the company. If a company has nothing to hide, they will provide a working phone number, an address, and an “About Us” page providing information on the background of the company and also listing some executives. Maybe a “chat” service allowing you to contact the representative of the company who can answer any questions you might be having. If they don’t provide you with a way of contacting the company, then see it as a red flag and have second thoughts about dealing with them.
Checking with the Better Business Bureau
They have a sizable list of companies, both offline and online, with information about business and complaint history. A company doesn’t have to be a member of BBB for them to appear in the database.
Other sites such as RipOff Report should not be trusted however as they’re a scam and there is very little vetting on listings according to Cormac Reynolds of VelSEOity.com
Searching for Additional Information
Go to a search engine like google then search the name of the company then see the results. You can also add terms like “scam” or review to the search time so you will be able to see customer comments, especially when you are suspecting that the website is illegitimate.
A good company that has an online presence usually has reviews on sites like Yelp or Facebook. Sites such as Ripoff Report will help in identifying companies that customers have had a hard time dealing with.
If you search for the name of the company and the results come back empty, then you are dealing with a website that has been recently created. While this might not be a sign that the company is illegitimate, it should make you more cautious before you decide to do business with the company.