I recently was asked to research a company here in the UK as to if they were trustworthy or not. Since we provide debt advice, this bit of research was based strictly on credit and debt. Which leads as you will see, to a major part of researching if a company is good to use or not.
But the first question to ask yourself….did you contact the company in question, or did they contact you???
This is a huge question to ask yourself. If out of the blue you are contacted regarding a service, you have to ask yourself how did they get your details and why are they contacting you.
This may not be a bad thing. You may have provided your details to one company and they were passed on to another. But ask how they got your details and are contacting you.
A good example is requesting life or other insurance quotes via a broker, or someone who deals with multiple insurance companies. You may find that you are contacted by a few insurers as they have your details. Fair enough and legit.
While not a definitive way to research if a company is trustworthy, here are a few good ways to research a company and inquire further.
Do a web search for not just the company name, although do that as well, but do a search for their service or product.
Do they rank on the first page of the search, are they even there at all.
This can tell you how popular they may be, and also look to see if the company comes up under “ads”. This means they paid to rank and be on search. This in itself is not bad at all. It means they paid for an ad, which can be a good thing.
Look at Their Web Site
Once you locate and are reviewing their website, there are a couple of things to look for and look at:
Is the grammar and context of the website correct. In some instances, websites may read awkwardly, which can be a sign that the company’s based and first language is not English. And as well see in a bit, if you try to pass yourself off as an English firm, you better know the language.
This in itself may not be a bad thing, but again, if you have an address on your website that states the UK, you need to be sure the site reads well.
Another red flag is that the company may not be based in the UK, which is fine, but spelling errors are not good. Hopefully, no one finds any on this website 🙂
That does not mean that a company is not trustworthy if they spell cheque as check or colour as color. It means they may not be based in the UK.
Another red flag in addition to spelling and grammar. I have written and worked on websites for 15 years, multiple eyes review, and check for typos.
Google Maps – Their Address
Use Google Maps to look up their address. I researched one company recently and the address was a residential terrace house.
Maybe the company works out of someone’s home, who knows.
There also are business parks where companies just have a post drop, no physical office.
Their Phone Number(s)
Ring the company up, speak to someone, ask questions, get a feel for what the person is saying. How knowledgeable are they in the service they provide?
Do you get passed around? Does the number sound like it is being transferred?
I always ask someone I speaking to where they are based. Sometimes for security reasons, and if they are working from home, they cannot say.
Listen closely when you phone, you can get good at knowing if a call is being transferred to an outside line, or to another country. VOIP lines are what most companies use.
You can also compare phone numbers and addresses, such as 0151 is Liverpool, 020 is London, 0161 is Manchester.
This bit of research is a biggie, check the company out via Companies House.
There is a wealth of information on companies here, and while it will not tell you if they provide a good service, it does provide good information.
Trust Pilot is a bit of a double-edged sword, it can be good, and it can be not so good.
You can search businesses and read reviews, and the company itself may have a link to its Trust Pilot reviews. But there can be fake reviews. I know Trust Pilot sorts these out, but they do occur.
But it is another way to research a company to see if they are legitimate.
Licensed or Registered
Many businesses, especially if in any loan, lending, or credit capacity, are regulated in some form. Lenders and credit companies are regulated via the FCA or Financial Conduct Authority.
If you are planning on dealing with a lender or getting credit, that company must display their registration details on their website.
You can use this to do more research on the company.
Again, this does not reflect the service the company may provide, good or bad, but you know they are a legitimate firm.
Yes, it does take a bit of time to research a company, but in the end, it will lessen the impact of making a poor decision.
And keep in mind, if you read bad reviews or complaints about a company, has the company responded to that complaint? If they have and addressed it, that can be a good sign, they take their business seriously.
A reviewer may have had a bad experience, or the reviewer may just be angry about something.
If you need to check out a company in America, this link will help.