The February 2010 meeting of the IFMA Tulsa chapter featured Rick Brinkley, President & CEO of the Tulsa Better Business Bureau. A record attendance of sixty-three showed up for the program. Included in that total were fifteen students from the OSU Facility Management & Design program and nine guests.
Here are some of the highlights from Rick's presentation:
The Tulsa BBB received 76,000 TOB's (Types of Business) inquiries in 2009. For an example, a TOB inquiry might be for a list of roofers.
Rick suggested property managers and business owners Google their address when they returned to their office, as out-of-state companies will set up web sites or send out information with a Tulsa business address when in reality, they are not located at that address. Rick said that he was once on the phone with a representative of a company claiming to have an office in Tulsa and that he was standing in front of the office where they were supposedly located. He told the guy on the phone that he was standing in the hallway in front of the guy's office and the guy said, "Don't you see me standing at our door waving? You must be in the wrong place." Rick's point was that these people will never admit to being caught in a lie and will continue to perpetuate whatever fraud they are involved in.
Rick talked about the power of the internet and how things have changed over the years in regards to what is important to consumers. Rick said that people are more concerned with other people's opinions (which can be found on the internet) versus being concerned with customer service or price. Using his IPhone, Rick shared an AP he had where he could bring up reviews of different restaurants and used a review of Knotty Pine Bar-be-que to demonstrate what's important to people when they write reviews on the internet. This customer was complaining about the seating, not the price of the food or the customer service.
Rick emphasized that the Better Business Bureau is not a consumer rights group. They are a 3rd party.
A variety of scams were discussed. Rick pointed out that advance fare loans are illegal where you have to pay money up front for fees to get a loan. He talked about scams where people will take another company's logo and put it on letterhead (like Wal-Mart) and make you think Wal-Mart is somehow a part of the offer/scam. Rick shared a scam he set up as a valet company at a restaurant. They were at a restaurant that was of the type that would typically not have valet service. Yet when he and his team went up to people as they pulled into the restaurant and offered to take their keys and park their car, every single person they encountered gave their keys to the bogus valet. Rick said if you hear that little voice inside of your head questioning something, you should listen.
Rick's last scam that he shared had to do with a fake diploma and resume' he submitted for his 3 year old son. He was amazed by the number of companies ready to interview his child for a job. If they had checked out the information on the resume', they would have known that the information was all a lie.
Thanks to Program Chair, Mark Cohlmia for another great program. Mark gave out several door prizes at the end of the meeting. The lucky winner's of $25.00 gift certificates to local restaurants were Bill Stickler and Ross Phippen.