If you're reading this article, then you've already been exposed to countless marketing campaigns today attempting to sell you one thing or another. You may have found your interest peaked at the prospect of losing weight while you sleep or learning the secrets to obtaining financial freedom. You've probably found yourself thinking if a stay at home mom can earn six figures while in her pajamas without missing a soccer mom beat, that you should be able to do the same. But, if you're like most people – myself included – an inner voice always seems to question the validity of these products even though we truly want to believe they'll deliver the desired results. The question is when should we take a risk and when should we run?
Just because you're never heard of a company or product before doesn't make doing business with them a bad decision. New companies and products enter the marketplace on a daily basis through various channels. And while lack of name and product recognition can be a mental obstacle, there are ways to determine a product or company's legitimacy before making an investment.
Here's what you should consider:
If the claims sound too good to be true they probably are. Look for product statements that indicate reasonable results can be expected with a disclaimer that results can vary.
Cost Versus Risk
Many times consumers are forced to enroll in an auto ship program in order to received preferential pricing or higher ticket items are made to appear more affordable by being broken up in to several "easy payments." While many reputable companies use these same techniques to gain business, there's a greater risk when the promoter or product is one you're unfamiliar with. In this case, the decision might be made based on your financial situation. If spending $ 39.95 on a something isn't going to affect your ability to pay bills and put food on the table, you may consider taking the risk. But on the other hand, while committing to three easy payments of $ 99.99 may not be uncomfortable, it's still a lot of money to spend on a product that may not deliver.
Money Back Guarantee
To protect yourself, it's best to do business with companies that offer a money back guarantee. A money back guarantee gives you peace of mind that if you're not satisfied, the company will refund any money you've paid. This often requires return of the product. And make sure that you read the fine print to determine if there are any restrictions to be aware of.
One of the best ways to determine a product or company's reliability is by reviewing what other consumers or experts have to say about them. Reviews and testimonials may be located on the product's website or independent websites across the internet. Keep in mind that reviews and testimonials are not always what they should be and people with their own agenda can write positive or negative reviews to fulfill their purpose. Also, even with the best of companies and products there are going to be customer service issues that may produce a disgruntled customer. At times it could be that the product doesn't produce results for some end users while it does for others. Based on all of this, it's best to look for an overall positive or negative trend rather than to use a single instance as a basis for your decision.
Unbiased Third Party Information
The Better Business Bureau is a resource you can use to obtain insight about business practices of companies you're considering doing business with. You can request information about an online business directly from their site and they'll immediately display any information they have on record. Some businesses are accredited members and since the BBB maintains high standards for membership, an accredited business is a good sign. However, not being accredited is not necessarily a red flag either as there may be unmet requirements of membership that have nothing to do with a company's reputation. More important than whether the company is accredited or not are the number of consumer disputes reported over a specified period of time and whether they were resolved. Just like with consumer reviews, you should look for an overall positive or negative trend while still keeping in mind that high sales volume and customer base will normally equate to a higher level of BBB activity.
Trying to decide whether to purchase products marketed through the internet can be challenging but in considering factors such as product claims, cost versus risk, money back guarantees, reviews and third-party information you can at least try to make your decision an informed one.