When buying something online, it can sometimes be difficult to determine whether the selling company is a legitimate one. After all, it’s fairly easy to scam someone on the internet.
And that’s why you’re here. You’re wondering how to see if a business is legit. Fortunately, we have some tips for you.
Here is how to use company reviews and site checkers to check if a company is legit.
Read Company Reviews
Our first piece of advice is to read company reviews. These are reviews that are written by past customers and they can tell you a great deal about a specific company’s legitimacy.
You can find company reviews on a number of websites, some of the most popular being Google, Facebook, and Yelp. Depending on the type of company you’re talking about, there might be specialty review sites available as well. For instance, law firms are often rated on Avvo.com.
In any case, once you find company reviews for your prospective company, there are some things you’ll want to think about. These will help you determine whether the company is, indeed, legitimate.
Assess the Number of Reviews
Generally speaking, a company with a lot of reviews is, indeed, a legitimate company. Conversely, a company with only a few reviews might have gotten said reviews from the owners of the company itself. In other words, the owners might be posting reviews to make an illegitimate business look legitimate.
Just be mindful of this when browsing. A company with dozens or hundreds of customer reviews is much more likely to be legitimate than is a company with less than 10 customer reviews, for example.
Determine Whether the Review Was Written by an Actual Customer
As was just noted, not all customer reviews are written by actual customers. Some are written by the owners of the company, friends of the owners, or even by people that the owners paid for the specific purpose of getting more positive reviews.
So, when reading through customer reviews, stop and consider whether they’re written by legitimate customers. Legitimate customers will typically be more specific in their remarks. They might even bring up details about their experience with the company.
Fake reviews, on the other hand, will often be very general. They might say something to the effect of “This place is awesome”. They might even read like advertisements.
Be wary of any reviews that come across as unnatural. To learn more about this, check out these Net Reputation reviews.
Weigh Potential Biases
Another thing to look out for in customer reviews is bias. Remember: just because a review says something doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true. In fact, oftentimes, reviews are left by customers who are specifically angry at the company; these reviews can give you a false perception of the company.
In short, don’t let one angry review or one glowing review sway your opinion. Take all of the reviews into consideration and try to determine what the consensus is.
Search for the Company’s License
Another thing you should do is search for the company’s license. Generally speaking, in order for a company to do business legally, it needs to be licensed with its respective state.
Now, how can you determine whether a specific company has a license? Your best bet is to use the state’s license lookup tool. So, if you’re in, say, Montana, you would use this tool.
Type the name of the business into the tool and see what pops up. In most cases, if a license exists, the company is, indeed, legitimate.
See Whether the Company’s Owner Is a Real Person
Next, you should see whether the company’s owner is a real person. Of course, to do this, you first have to determine who the company’s owner is. There are a number of ways you can go about finding this out.
If the company has a website, it should hopefully have the owner’s name listed. If it doesn’t, you’re going to have to do a little searching.
Go to Google and type in the company’s name followed by the word “LinkedIn”. This should return you a list of LinkedIn members who work at the company, one of whom is hopefully the owner.
If that doesn’t work, look up the company’s website domain on the WHOIS database. This database will show you who registered the domain (it might just be the owner of the business).
Apart from that, you’re going to have to do some sleuthing. Google until you find an answer. If you never find an answer, you should move on to a different company entirely.
Locate a Legitimate Number and Address
Whether it’s a brick-and-mortar business, an online business, or otherwise, it should have an address and phone number associated with it. If it doesn’t, you can’t really take it seriously.
The most reputable companies include their addresses and phone numbers on their respective websites. Note, though, that not all companies do this.
If you’re having trouble finding a specific company’s address and phone number, you’re going to have to explore through search engines. With any luck, you’ll eventually find this information.
Once you have this information in hand, make a call and use Google maps to determine whether it’s all legitimate.
Company Reviews and Site Checkers Can Tell You a Lot
If you’re wondering how to check if a company is legit, make ample use of company reviews and site checkers. These will help you get a good feel for each company, allowing you to make the most informed decision possible.
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