Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Be Aware / Beware of SOME Fee-Based Services - SOME Are Fraudulent!!!


About a month ago, a small business owner attended our “10 Steps to Doing Business with Government Agencies” and was shocked to find out that all the government registries, certifications, and bid notifications were available at no cost.  See, just three months prior, he paid a company $5,700 that claimed:

·       They would get him registered with all the government agency registries where buyers search for small businesses

·       They would get him all his certifications

·       They had “exclusive” access to opportunities that they would forward to him

·       They offer business development in the areas of federal contracting

·       And much more

Immediately following our training, he scheduled an appointment to meet one-on-one with our government contracting specialist to get the facts.

That meeting occurred just the other day and we are appalled that any company would act in such an unethical manner, preying on and taking advantage of a small business owner.  The first step we took was to review what had already been done and found several discrepancies in just the first hour of our appointment.  Among these findings, we uncovered:
  • An email account was set up for the small business (unknowingly) through one of the free services like Hotmail, Google, Etc. and uses that when registering with the various government agencies such as SAM (System for Award Management), BidSync, etc. so the small business doesn’t have access to their own accounts and doesn’t receive any notifications unless sent from this company which, by the way, are FREE. 

·       Paper “certifications” were issued that look official but in actuality are fake.  They are “certifications” simply drafted from a computer and printed out.  There are NO paper certifications for the federal market, most of the certifications that are recognized by the federal market are self-certifying (excluding 8a and HubZone).  Again, all these certifications are FREE.  For more details on fake certifications, check out our other blog: http://www.northsandiegosbdc.com/2013/10/beware-of-fake-certifications.html

·       There are a number of fee-based services that claim that they have "exclusive" access to government bids; there is NO "exclusive" access to government bids as all publically bid opportunities must be publicized somewhere for FREE.  In this particular case, once again, an account was established using a fake email and incorrectly profiled the small business.  Fortunately, we were able to contact the bid management companies to explain what had happened, changed the email to the correct email, and updated the profile for accuracy.  Many of these registries have now implemented quality assurance methods to flag any business registration that appears to have been created by one of these fee-based services and flagging that account as "inactive" so the small business doesn't get anything.  Once again, all these registries and certifications are FREE.

We could go on and on about the erroneous items we uncovered in just one two hour appointment but the moral of this blog is:

·       No one can guarantee you government contract awards

·       The registries and certifications for government contracts are FREE

·       The services offered by fee-based services can be inaccurate, incomplete, and not always in your best interest - Be sure you do your homework

·       The SBDC and other resources out there can help you do ALL of this for FREE

We have put together a plan of action for this small business now that includes:

·       Requesting at least a partial refund of the $5,700 that he paid

·       Removing this companies’ information from the registry profiles and replacing that information with the correct information

·       Updating, completing, and fixing the current registries

·       Obtaining the “real” actual certifications

·       Assisting this small business in government contracting – local, state, and federal

All of this and more for FREE!!!  Please, don’t pay for any service without getting guidance and advice from a trusted source that has your best interest in mind like the Small Business Development Center (SBDC).

In closing, we're not saying that ALL of these fee-based services are fraudulent.  We are simply saying before you pay, do your research.

To schedule an appointment to meet with a professional consultant at no cost, please call 760-795-8740 or email us at centerinfo@miracosta.edu

 
This article was brought to you by Cheryl A Brown, small business owner and specialist consultant with the North San Diego SBDC. ©2013 Cheryl Brown

 

 

 

2 comments:

  1. Said company also claims that they have a "80%" closing rate in landing the contracts for their "clients". Their actual rate in landing the contracts is less than 50%. There are companies who give up their $5,000-$6,000 who have not landed one government contract.

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  2. Before you invest time, effort and cash into developing and launching a replacement new brand, it's necessary to grasp that your complete isn't already in use or registered by others within the countries you're trying to trade. thus you would like to conduct a trademark serach company for check this.

    ReplyDelete