Record breaking year for BBB in Western Virginia - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Record breaking year for BBB in Western Virginia

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2012 was a record breaking year for the Better Business Bureau serving western Virginia.  They saw an increase in service, complaints handled, website visits, and business reviews issued.  Contractors and auto dealers once again topped the list for inquiries as consumers continue to do more research on large purchases such as vehicles and home remodeling.

There is a new scam to be on the lookout for. The BBB says they've been getting a lot of complaints about loan modification companies that claim to help with debt consolidation or refinancing your mortgage.

"The first thing these companies tell them is stop paying your mortgage company. That is absolutely a big red flag in my eyes we're starting to look at that," said Julie Wheeler, the BBB president.

She says the scammers tell you for the better rate you need to start paying them instead of your mortgage company.

"You don't ever break communication or payments with your mortgage company, that's a good way to lose your house" said Wheeler.

New scams like this one are just one of the reasons 2012 was a record breaking year for the local BBB.

In 2012, they handled more than 3500 complaints, a 14-percent increase from 2011. They also saw a 12-percent jump in service to more than 772,000 and they saw an almost 30-percent increase in web visits.

"I think in this time people are doing their homework, they're taking their time, they're checking out offers, they're checking out companies before they do business. They're calling us just to make sure they're dealing with reliable, ethical businesses" said Wheeler.

"It's a good resource for our individual agents because we recommend contractors all the time" said Steve Hoover, the BBB chairman and a partner at MKB Realtors, who uses the website's rating system. "We want to be sure when we recommend somebody, like a plumber, that we know we're making a good recommendation."  

With more scams popping up all the time, the BBB expects an increasing need for their service.

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