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Searching for a Legitimate Internet Home Business

Aug 17, 2007
A general search for an Internet home business opportunity from a major search engine yielded 11,800,000 possible results. Indeed an overwhelming number of results to sort through!

The sad fact is that many of these so called Internet home opportunity vendors represent an opportunity for one person and this of course is, you guessed it, themselves.

While you certainly can find a legitimate and promising business opportunity on the Web, just how do you tell the real from the pretend? Below are the most commonly asked questions about the legitimacy of business opportunities, and their answers.

The first question, which should certainly be asked, is where you can get the company pre sale document of disclosure. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires that a business offering a franchise or business opportunity must provide prospective buyers with this document.

The FTC does not insist that the firms keep these documents available to the public. This makes them less than easy to find. 13 states in the USA do keep the franchise papers on file.

26 states require that anyone having a business opportunity to sell must file a disclosure statement. These files are available to anyone who wishes to look at them if an appointment is made to review them or make copies right there at the office where they are stored. In California franchise documents are available online.

What savvy potential Internet home business opportunity buyers want to know is where they can find out if complaints have been filed about the company, and the dirty details of those complaints. They also, logically, want to know if the complaints have been resolved.

The unfortunate answer, is there is not a good database, either through a state or federal agency, local municipality or private organization. Lovely, huh?

The FTC and the Better Business Bureau keep track of complaints but it is quite easy to change business names and locations once complaints stack up and go start up again some place else. Once in a while you will see stories, just like this, on the evening news.

The best protection is the FTC franchise rule that requires that firms provide potential buyers with the names, addresses and phone numbers of ten other buyers of this Internet home business opportunity. These must be the ten closest to you. This is a good rule.

It is important, for your own investigation into the authenticity and soundness of this internet home business opportunity, that you call these business people and inquire about the firm they bought. What is also important is that you visit each business location, even if at their home.

Doing the above will reveal a lot. Fraudulent business opportunity sellers frequently line up friends and family to handle calls about their bogus business success.

Under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act any person who makes a request is entitled to all information on the potential Internet home business opportunity that the FTC currently has on file.

Another good resource is the Business Franchise Guide, often found in law libraries. This discloses guidelines of each individual state and the U.S. federal government on franchisors and business opportunity vendors. Naturally, every state will be, at least, a little different.
About the Author
James M. Lowe writes original articles about home business issues.
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