Seniors and Family Caregivers Beware of False Advertising Lies
by Barbara Mascio
Don't believe everything you read. An 'implied' truth here, an 'embellishment' there, all told to quickly relay, of all things, credibility and trust. An ethical business understands the value of trust. Trust, once broken between vendor and consumer, is rarely repaired.
Affiliations with national programs or associations are of value to any business, in particular health and elder care. The consumer (seniors and family caregivers) often times feel greater confidence hiring a service that has been endorsed by the BBB, AARP, the Alzheimer's Association, Senior Approved Services, and so forth.
Verifying the claims of association can be difficult but not impossible. Most accrediting organizations have a web site and contact phone or email address. Contact those organizations that appear to be 'endorsing' the business in question and simply ask, "Is (name of business) a business in good standing with your organization?"
If, for instance you see the logo on a web site that features the 'BBB On Line' logo, go to http://www.bbbonline.org and type in the business name. If in fact there is no record or listing, then please report the illegal use of the BBB logo by emailing [email protected]
Logos and the symbolic graphics of companies on the Internet are especially easy to steal, copy and paste, on to another web site. With the millions, perhaps billions, of web sites on the Internet, it's virtually impossible for these accrediting associations to police.
Senior Approved Services, LLC is a company that promises seniors and family caregivers that any Certified Senior Approved Service is a safe, reliable service to contract with. In fact, Senior Approved Services literally recommends and endorses these businesses, a rarity in this day of liability and litigation commonplace. Its authentic logo will link to http://www.qualityeldercare.com/certified.html for an explanation, or it will include the toll free number (877-620-6448) so that the consumer can call and verify the business's history of care.
However, a quick search on google recently revealed several cases where a company's web site displayed the logo - implying that it was indeed a Certified Senior Approved Service. Space here prohibits listing all of the handyman, personal response system, homecare, assisted living, and nursing homes found to illegally feature the logo, such as found on http://www.servicesspecialist.com/SeniorServices.html This particular web site has a disconnected phone number and no physical address.
The remainder of the web sites (under threat of a law suit) removed the logo and the registered domain owner of Service Specialist is being tracked down. Mascio (founder of Senior Approved Services) encourages all consumers to verify any business featuring the Senior Approved Certification by calling the toll free number.
When interviewing a service, prior to trusting them with your loved ones, ask about each associated graphic they've elected to use. When you see something like 'As seen in Newsweek' - ask for a copy of the article. If there is no existing article, you've just discovered one lie. Do you suppose it's the only lie?
'As seen in Newsweek' or any national well-known magazine or paper might just mean the business purchased an advertisement. Expensive, yes. Does it mean it makes the business more credible? No.
Making implications that AARP endorses the business is also common. AARP has developed a reputation amongst many seniors as being the trusted voice of the senior. AARP sells advertisement space to businesses. If a business claims it's endorsed by AARP, ask to read the endorsement, or ask to speak with the AARP's representative that provided said endorsement. Chances are, you will find the business in another lie.
You see on web sites the logos of The American Heart Association, United Way, The Alzheimer's' Association and so forth. Perhaps this business has reciprocated a link with these organizations; perhaps it purchased ad space or made a donation to these organizations. Maybe these organizations have purchased ad space from the business in question. It doesn't, in other words, mean necessarily that these organizations 'endorse the use' of said business.
What a shame that the old adage 'Buyer Beware' must be used when referring to elder care services. Purchasing a used car has more safeguards then knowing which company to trust with your loved ones.
About the Author
Barbara is the founder of Senior Approved Services and actively advocates for the rights of seniors and their families.
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