Whilst the power of the new social media channels like Facebook cannot be underestimated, this heartbreaking story is a reminder that you still need to be very careful when choosing who provides you with services, especially if they only advertise on social media.
Mark Higgins and Becky Szenk booked their removal with a ‘man and van’ on Facebook, who collected the contents of their flat in Bilston, and was supposed to deliver everything just 8 miles away in Walsall the same day. However, the van never turned up for the delivery. The Facebook profile was then taken down, and so the couple have lost virtually all their belongings, including furniture and white goods.
Miss Szenk said “For us it’s been a big lesson to learn. I just hope others can be more careful about trusting people they book over social media as I would hate for this to happen to anyone else.”
I suppose it’s easy to be wise after the event, but this highlights that you should always do the following checks before you book or use any sort of service through Social Media.
- Does the business have it’s own website. This is a big tick as it points to a more established company
- Is the service linked to any sort of professional association or trade body – this again is a big tick that the company can be trusted
- Check that the advertising page on social media has been active for several months – avoid anything recent
- Are there comments from previous clients – if so, you could contact them and ask about the service provided
- Is it a page or profile (on Facebook) – pages must be linked to a personal profile (which you can check) whereas profiles can be made up (and deleted) much easier
- Before you pay for or use the service, take copies of any linking profiles or info that will help you to find the person if the advertising page is taken down
- If you can’t find any proof that can be checked, alarm bells should be ringing!
- If the price seems too cheap, ask yourself why that is – would you do that job for the same price?
Often times in life, if it seems too good to be true, it will be.
Just because someone advertises on Facebook or another social media channel, don’t automatically assume they can be trusted.