December 08, 2011, 7:12 AM — I received an email early this morning that both concerned and surprised me. It read as follows:
The Better Business Bureau has been filed the above mentioned complaint from one of your clients on the subject of their business relations with you.
The details of the consumer's concern are explained in enclosed file.
Please examine this case and let us know about your standpoint.
We kindly ask you to click here to reply this complaint.
We look forward to your prompt attention to this matter.
Better Business Bureau
What concerned me about the email was the possibility that I had disappointed one of my clients to the point where he or she filed a complaint with the BBB.
What surprised me is that I really don't have any "clients" to speak of, other than freelancing clients -- none of whom pay in advance for work or are reticent to contact me directly if they're dissatisfied with something.
The email, of course, is a scam. The poor language ("Please examine this case and let us know about your standpoint"?) was one tipoff. Another was the URL that showed up when I moused over "click here": whatisyournight.net. Not exactly a typical BBB online destination.
The scam is fairly new, and the real BBB on Wednesday issued an urgent alert warning people to ignore its contents, delete immediately and, most important of all, "Do NOT click on the link."
The (real) Better Business Bureau site also includes some fascinating statistics about consumer complaints broken down by industry. The two industries receiving the most complaints from U.S. consumers in 2010: Television (cable and satellite) and cell phone service and equipment, with 30,408 and 24,876, respectively. The good news is that the vast majority of complaints for each industry were settled (98.6% and 95.1%).
Among the industries with no complaints from U.S. consumers in 2010 were planetariums and pole fitness.
Planetariums and pole-fitness instructors: Keeping it real for the people.