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Make sure title changes hands

May 29, 2010 at 12:29 a.m.

Sometimes, the little details can really trip us up. I had a friend contact me last week with a problem. Seems he had sold his mobile home to someone and that the buyer had abandoned the home, stripping it of everything of value. The problem is, that the buyer never secured the title for the home. It is still in the name of the seller. Now, the landlord of the property on which the home sits, wants my friend the seller to pay back rent. The lesson here is simple. When you buy or sell an automobile, mobile home, boat, etc. make sure that the title changes hands.

Regardless if you are the seller or buyer, go to the court house and see to it that things are in order. Titles are so important. I have seen several cases in which people have purchased vehicles and later could not obtain a title, sometimes the vehicle turned out to be stolen.

I came across a website recently that looked like a news report about a work-at-home opportunity that "actually works." The headline reads: "Work at Home Mom Makes $8,795/Month Part-Time." Of course, without reading any further, I said to myself, "Oh, another one of those." Most work-at-home scams, like this company, named Home Income Profit System, are making lots of claims about high income working part-time from home. They ask consumers to pay $2.97 to "unlock" an online link to their business opportunity site. They also claim that they'll pay via direct deposit - that means you accept their offer you will have to give them your bank account information. By the way, the site contains a disclosure at the bottom of the page explaining that, in a nutshell, everything you've just read is false.

BBB has often recommended that consumers make sure a contractor or business (roofer or house sitter, for example) is "bonded and insured." Let's say you're going on vacation and rather than kennel your poodles or rely on the teenage girl next door, you hire a house sitter. When you return after a weekend in Vegas or a week in Waikiki, you discover some pricey jewelry missing. Now what? Or here's another scenario the BBB hears a lot: A homeowner hires a contractor to repair a roof or remodel the basement and midway through the job the contractor picks up and leaves never to return. Now what? The answer to "now what?" is your losses are covered if - and only if - the business or contractor is bonded and/or insured.

I received a call last week from someone wanting to check up on a local Coastal Bend business. Nothing unusual about that but the reason for the inquiry was interesting. The caller was interested in buying the business. If you think about it - it makes sense. An investor certainly doesn't want to buy a business that has a bad reputation. So it's a good idea for a buyer of a business to check out that business with us. Also, it is not a bad idea for people who are seeking employment to check out a prospective employer if they have never heard of them .or, the job sounds a little too good to be true. Job scams are at an all-time high. In fact, the proliferation of job scams is the main thing that happened in scam land as a result of the recent dip in the economy.

Alan Bligh is the executive director of the Better Business Bureau in Corpus Christi. Contact him by e-mail at abligh@corpuschristi.bbb.org.

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