On or about the week of April 14th 2010 local and national media outlets have reported, that federal authorities raided and temporarily shut down a company called Bankcard Empire located in Phoenix, Arizona. The allegations made which are mentioned by these reporting and news agencies include some of the following against the company, accusing it of selling various business opportunities and then failing to deliver upon the promises made to its customers.
This relatively small story has unusual significance to the Ripoff Report for one reason Bankcard Empire was a member of our Corporate Advocacy Business Remediation and Customer Satisfaction Program or Corporate Advocacy Program or CAP. As you may know, CAP is a program that is intended to help resolve disputes between companies and their unhappy customers. One of the key components of this program is our requirement that in order to participate, the member company must
make a serious commitment to 100% customer satisfaction, including giving refunds when requested. In addition, the company must
promise to take steps to investigate and correct any existing corporate cultural or operational issues that resulted in the company receiving complaints in the first place. In this way, our program is intended to help protect consumers and also to help companies find new ways to reduce complaints before they even occur.
Our agreement with each Corporate Advocacy Program participant includes written requirements for the company to make these promises and also to keep them, both to Ripoff Report and, more importantly, to the consumers who ultimately decide where to spend their hard-earned dollars. Over the past eight years, the vast majority of our CAP members have lived up to their promises
which is why we have been so confident in telling you, our readers, about the benefits of the program and all of the reasons why you should do business with any company that participates in the program. (Rip-off Report started in business about 12 years ago. The CAP program did not start till about 3 years later.)
Because the integrity of the program is so important to us, if it becomes clear that a CAP member is not fulfilling their obligations to consumers, we will not hesitate to terminate our relationship with them. At this time, the claims against Bankcard Empire have NOT been proven and like anyone else, they are entitled to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. Nevertheless, we have decided to take the unusual step of suspending Bankcard Empire from the Corporate Advocacy Program pending further investigation and pending the resolution of the charges that have been made against them. Put simply, we do not know if the claims and allegations that have been made against them are true or not, but this situation has nevertheless placed us in a position where we feel it is appropriate to err on the side of caution. For that reason, we feel it was necessary to suspend our relationship with them until the case against them is resolved.
Again, we do not know if the charges against Bankcard Empire are true, and we certainly hope that they are not. However, until that question is resolved, we cannot continue to endorse them until we are completely satisfied that they deserve our seal of approval. Of course, we will keep you updated with any further news or information as it becomes available to us.
ED Magedson Founder
What Is The Corporate Advocacy Program?
If you have a business with lots of Ripoff Reports or other types of complaints, youre probably asking yourself three basic questions:
1. What can you do to resolve existing complaints from unhappy customers?
2. How can you identify, isolate and fix the customer service or other issues that cause most complaints?
3. What can you do to increase customer satisfaction and prevent future complaints?
Because every business is different, finding a common solution to these questions is not easy. In addition, because they are so close to the situation, many business owners have a difficult time seeing the problems that exist or even admitting that they have a problem in the first place.
Thats where Ripoff Reports Corporate Advocacy Business Remediation & Customer Satisfaction Program (or CAP) comes in. Despite the long name, our CAP program is really very simple. Using our years of experience in the consumer complaint industry, we have developed the CAP program which we believe is the #1 most effective way to help business owners regain control over the operational, organizational, and other issues which generate the majority of complaints.
Now, some people claim that the CAP program works like this join the program, pay a fee to Ripoff Report, and well remove the complaints. Nothing could be further from the truth. Removing complaints (which is NEVER part of the program) is like putting a band-aid on skin cancer. It temporarily conceals the problem, but it does nothing to fix it. Thats why the Corporate Advocacy Program does NOT involve removal of complaints.
Rip-off Report knows from many years of experience that consumers love to do business with a company or individual that can demonstrate how they fixed problems and made things right with those from the past
. Consumers have more respect for a business that can show how good they took care of their customers and when they can admit, maybe there were mistakes made and demonstrate how they erred on the side of their customer. Who wouldnt want to do business with that company?
Okay, if we dont remove complaints for CAP members, what DO we do? A lot, actually. Although the program is tailored to the specific needs of each member, we generally include at least three basic steps in every plan we create for our memebers.STEP 1 - ADMIT THERE'S A PROBLEM
The first and most important thing we do is to get our CAP members to understand our philosophy you cant tell an unhappy customer that they are wrong (even if they are wrong). Trying to resolve the complaint of an angry customer by telling them they are wrong is like trying to extinguish a fire by smothering it with gasoline. Try that sometime and let us know if it works.
So, we start by asking companies to admit that if customers are unhappy enough to post complaints, then regardless of whether the business sees them or not, problems must exist that need to be investigated and fixed. If thats something you dont agree with, then CAP isnt for you.STEP 2 - FIX THE PROBLEM
The second thing we do for CAP members is to reach out to all the unhappy customers who filed a complaint on Ripoff Report and see what can be done to make things right. How do we do this? We send an email to every person who has posted a complaint on Ripoff Report asking how we can resolve their complaint. Some people want refunds. Some want an apology. Some people were already taken care of and were not in need of any further assistance. Whatever it is, we let these unhappy customers know that the company involved has joined our Corporate Advocacy Program and has made a commitment to 100% customer satisfaction. Of course, you cant please all of the people all of the time so we dont expect companies to give a $1 million refund to a customer who was unhappy with a $10 transaction, but during this step we expect our CAP members to talk to their customers and find an acceptable solution to their complaint.
The goal of the second step is two-fold. First and most obviously, we want to see existing complaints resolved so that customer is satisfied. Second, we want to be able to show consumers proof that the CAP member has made steps to fix the problems which are causing complaints. Honestly, educated consumers know that EVERY business receives complaints. Thats not what is important. Instead, smart consumers only care about one thing what did the company do to fix the complaint? If the company acted quickly, fairly, and reasonably, then the complaint can actually be viewed as positive proof that the company will stand behind its product/service if a problem occurs in the future (as they usually do).STEP 3 - PREVENT FUTURE COMPLAINTS
The third thing we do relates to prevention of future complaints. After the CAP member has communicated with anyone who posted a complaint in the past, the business owner should have a pretty good understanding of what caused those complaints in the first place. Armed with that knowledge, the business owner can then focus on making operational changes as needed to remedy that root cause.
But what happens if a future complaint is received about a CAP member? While we hope this wont happen, the reality is that sometimes it will. When it does, Ripoff Report will act as a liaison between the CAP member and the customer. We will immediately forward the complaint to the company and ask them to investigate and respond with the expectation that whatever the problem is, it will be promptly fixed to the customers satisfaction. If the company refuses to make things right, we will take whatever steps are necessary including terminating our relationship with the company if necessary. At the end of the day, we expect CAP members who make good faith efforts to change their practices and follow our advice will see a huge decrease in complaints and a huge increase in customer satisfaction and new business.
ARE THERE OTHER OPTIONS? YES!
Although we feel strongly that Ripoff Reports CAP program is extremely useful for many businesses, we know it is not right for everyone. If you are an individual, or if you only have a handful of complaints then the program is probably not a good solution for you. Also, if you believe that all of the reports against your company are untrue or were written by angry ex-employees, then the program may or may not be right for you. We only want to work with companies who agree that change is needed, so if thats not you, then you should look into other solutions.
But what other options are there? Quite a few!
you always have the option of posting a rebuttal that explains your side of the story. Rebuttals are 100% free, and when done correctly, they can turn a negative complaint into a positive example of why your customers should trust you. Want a good example? Take a look at this rebuttal from a company called Overnight Mattress: http://www.ripoffreport.com/Bed-Bath/Overnightmattress-co/overnightmattress-com-over-n*g-355ee.htm This is exactly how a company can turn a negative into a positive by stepping up and showing that it is willing to customers. After reading this, who wouldnt want to do business with Overnight Mattress? (Full Disclosure Overnight Mattress is NOT a member of our CAP program nor have they paid us a dime. Weve never even talked with them. We just think this company is a good example of how to use a rebuttal properly).NEW ARBITRATION PROGRAM Second,
we have recently launched a new arbitration program that allows parties to dispute the accuracy of a report in an informal expedited process. Although the program does not include the removal of reports, it does include a written ruling from a neutral arbitrator (our first arbitration panel member is a retired Court of Appeals judge) who will decide whether anything in a report is untrue. When and if, such a finding has been determined, the report will then be modified to reflect the arbitrators decision in a clear and unequivocal way. If you are interested in this program and want more information, please send an email to Abtitration@RipoffReport.com and we will send you a packet, in an email which will contain more information, including a sample complaint form, as well as the rules for the program.Third,
you can always take your chances with a search engine optimization or SEO company. These fly-by-night Reputation Management companies promise to help you hide a complaint for the low, low price of $5,000 or more, but what they wont tell you is that in many cases, these fixes are only temporary and, worse yet, some SEO practices are prohibited by most search engines including Google. In fact, if you hire the wrong SEO company, the result may be a death sentence for your business you may be completely banned from many search engines so that no one can find your company! Some companies market themselves using dozens of different names because they end up blackmailing customers forcing them to continue to pay them, threatening they will make things worse.. Consumers will always find negative comments if they are out there, even if they have to search past page 3 or 20 on search engines, they will find it. Honestly, if you really dont care about your customers and simply want to hide complaints about you, then SEO may be right for you, but why not step up to the plate and confront the problem head-on? Thats what customers want to see, and thats what Ripoff Report is here to help businesses do! Remember, filing a rebuttal is completely FREE..
ALL COMPANIES WILL GET COMPLAINTS HOW THOSE COMPANIES TAKE CARE OF THOSE COMPLAINTS IS WHAT SEPARATES GOOD BUSINESSES FROM BAD BUSINESSES
ED Magedson Founder
Read about Rip-off Report Corporate Advocacy Business Remediation & Customer Satisfaction Program,..A program that benefits the consumer, assures them of complete satisfaction and confidence when doing business with a member business.