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BBB Warns Businesses, Consumers About Vanity Awards

The BBB is warning consumers and businesses about St. Louis Award Program, a vanity award sales firm linked to US Commerce Association.

Businesses like to win awards, especially if the award recognizes them for providing an excellent service or product. An array of award certificates and trophies can help a company win the confidence of its consumers.

But some awards are little more than a scheme to sell plaques and trophies. And a business who falls for the pitch may actually undermine its credibility with consumers as well as being out the price of the award.

The Better Business Bureau has warned businesses previously about US Commerce Association, a Los Angeles-based firm that targets companies nationwide for sales of the awards. Recently, the BBB learned that a company with apparent ties to US Commerce Association was selling "best of St. Louis awards" under a different name, St. Louis Award Program from a website called awardprogram.org. The company is selling similar awards in other cities, such as a "best of Boca Raton" award or "best of Minneapolis" award.

Today's BBB release explains the scheme.

The BBB also has some tips for companies to consider if they are approached about winning an award they didn't apply for:

  • Learn everything you can about who is giving the award. If it is coming from a mystery company, chances are they simply want your money. 
  • If you didn’t apply for an award or the group cannot tell you how you were nominated, chances are the award is not legitimate.
  • Most legitimate awards do not come with costs for the recipient.  If there is a cost, scrutinize it even more closely.
  • Ask specific questions about how your company or organization was chosen for an award and find out how many similar awards are given each year.
  • Check BBB Business Reviews by going to www.bbb.org or by calling 314-645-3300.

Get more consumer tips and BBB news by following the BBB on Facebook or Twitter or by visiting our website.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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