Negative Effects of False Advertising: Criminal Background Checks

Here’s one fact we can all agree on: false and misleading advertising is illegal and unethical.

Here’s one fact we can all agree on: false and misleading advertising is illegal and unethical.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, types of false advertising include untruthful or misleading claims about company products or practices promoted on:

  • Television
  • Radio
  • Billboards
  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Internet/online websites

But did you know false advertisement cases even include misleading background check claims?

Unfortunately, this type of false advertising is a very real threat to consumer safety. Not to mention, the action also goes against U.S. Code.

In this article, we will explain:

  • Why an in-home repair organization is under fire for the promotion of misleading background check claims
  • Negative effects of false advertising verified background checks
  • The simple solution to avoid falsely advertising background checks

Keep reading to learn why disclosure of criminal background check for employment is important for public safety.

False Advertising Examples 2018: Criminal Background Check

In 2018, an in-home repair organization received major backfire for the promotion of misleading information on its website. 

According to California News Wire Services, the San Francisco District Attorney has filed a civil lawsuit against this prominent nationwide in-home repair organization for falsely advertising background checks performed on its service providers and contractors. 

But why?

#1 Reason for False Advertising Lawsuit 

Simply put, the complaint states that consumers can be misled to believe that all workers, service providers, and contractors that may enter their homes have undergone thorough background checks. 

However, this is not the case. The company at fault clearly states on their website that they perform background checks on the “principal/owner or relevant manager of all Certified Service Providers.” 

Nevertheless, in other statements and collateral, the company implies that everyone entering a consumer’s home has been properly background screened. 

This has caused the San Francisco District Attorney to flag the in-home repair organization for false advertising.

Business owner distressed over false background checks

Negative Effects of False Advertising Background Checks

According to the San Francisco District Attorney, these statements are likely to deceive consumers into believing that the individuals coming to their homes have undergone a criminal background check.

As stated by District Attorney George Gascon, “We embrace innovative businesses, but it is imperative that consumers are not misled.”

Here’s the bottom line…

“It is a matter of public safety that consumers are provided accurate information, especially when they are deciding whom to let into their homes,” Gascon added. 

And this is where businesses run into trouble. Even when companies do not advertise their background screen individuals, it is at the forefront of the consumer’s mind. 

In fact, according to a 2011 study completed by MindSpot Inc®, over 83% of consumers believe that when companies send service personnel into their homes, they have already undergone a criminal background screen.

So what is the solution to this problem?

Establish Verified Background Checks 

The solution is simple: require verified background checks

Before companies hire new contractors, they should require all individuals who plan to enter or access a consumer’s property to undergo contractor screening

Furthermore, if a company plans to advertise that its service performs background screens on employees or contractors, then they must ensure that all statements are in alignment with the company’s policy.

Protect Your Assets with PlusOne Solutions

It all boils down to this: false and misleading advertising is illegal and unethical. 

Not to mention, consumer safety is at risk! And no one wants their company to be at fault for a potentially avoidable mishap. 

That’s why PlusOne Solutions is here to help. As a Nationally Accredited Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA), PlusOne Solutions seeks to help organizations with large networks of independent contractors. PlusOne Solutions mitigate risks through:

  • Background screening
  • Drug testing
  • Compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act and EEOC guidelines
  • Document management
  • Insurance verification 
  • Badging and credentialing

Through a reliable and verified background check plan, companies can reduce employee, contractor, and vendor risk.

To learn more about PlusOne Solutions or to discuss your contractor screening program please call us at 877-943-0100 or visit our Resources page.

 

Contents are provided for information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Users are reminded to seek legal counsel with respect to their obligations and use of PlusOne Solutions services.

PlusOne Solutions Achieves Level 1 PCI-DSS Compliance

As an industry provider of compliance solutions, PlusOne Solutions is committed to cybersecurity. We are honored to announce we have again achieved the PCI-DSS V3.2 Level 1 certification and Attestation of Compliance.

More than 10.9 billion records with sensitive information have been breached according to public disclosures between January 2005 and July 2018, according to PrivacyRights.org. Compliance with the PCI-DSS helps to alleviate vulnerabilities and protect cardholder data.

This certification ensures we are taking the steps to protect the data we maintain and maintaining the security standards set by the PCI Security Standards Council. 

To achieve the PCI-DSS V3.2 Level 1 certification and Attestation of Compliance, we commissioned Intrinium, an Informational Technology and security solutions company, to independently examine and validate our compliance standards. This audit included document collection and analysis, vulnerability scanning, penetration testing, and on-site security assessments.

“Our completion of the PCI-DSS V3.2 Level 1 again this  year proves our continued commitment to security as we create a reliable environment for processing critical customer and consumer data.

Using an independent Qualified Security Assessor (QSA) grants us the industry certification status instead of a self-assessment where many companies report they abide by the practices but are not audited for compliance,” Founder and CEO Craig Reilly said.

“We process massive amounts of sensitive and personal data and are committed to continually achieving the increasing standards of data security in this environment of evolving threats and changes to PCI Standards,” CIO Scott DiNucci said.

This PCI-DSS Level 1 certification supplements the company’s Background Screening Agency Accreditation awarded by the Professional Background Screening Association to companies adhering to a strict set of professional standards including consumer protection, legal compliance and data security standards.

About PlusOne Solutions:

For more than 15 years, PlusOne Solutions has been an industry leader in the risk management field by specializing in compliance programs such as background screening, drug testing and administering insurance and license programs for field service organizations that make use of geographically dispersed contractors, vendors and employee networks. PlusOne Solutions protects companies from possible financial, legal and reputational risks associated with contractor and vendor relationships while creating safer work environments for everyone and is an Accredited Background Screening Agency by the Professional Background Screeners Association. For more information about PlusOne Solutions, visit ​www.plusonesolutions.net​.

 

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4 Steps to Ensure Better Coverage of Additional Insured Endorsement

Most companies require their contractors or vendors to name themselves as an additional insured endorsement on their Commercial General Liability Policy (CGL).

However, to verify this information, many companies will simply:

  • Collect the Certificate of Insurance (COI)
  • Confirm the amounts
  • Ensure the additional insured box is checked or that their name as additional insured is in the description box of the ACORD form

On the surface, this may sound like a sufficient process. However, in many cases, this practice is not good enough to ensure coverage.

So what needs to be done in order to adequately ensure coverage?

In this article, we will answer:

  • Why many additional insured practices don’t meet COI requirements
  • How a blanket additional insured endorsement might unintentionally invalidate coverage
  • How to better ensure coverage on a contractual agreement in 4 easy steps

Certificate of Insurance Misrepresentation  

In 2015, the International Risk Management Institute (IRMI) performed a study on a sample of COIs to evaluate the effectiveness of insurance certificate representation and reported coverage.

The results were shocking!

At face value, 100% of the certificates met the client’s requirements. However, when the actual policy was reviewed, only 10% of the certificates met insurance coverage requirements. 

But why did only 10% of the samples meet COI requirements?

The reason is simple: blanket endorsements.

Blanket Additional Insured Endorsement: What to Look For

Generally speaking, blanket endorsements provide adequate protection for companies. Not to mention, they are also affordable options for contractors who work with several parties that may require an additional insured status. 

In cases like these, the blanket additional insured endorsement or policy itself is not the problem. But rather, an issue with a contractor agreement – or, in some cases, the complete lack of a simple contractor agreement – may ultimately invalidate the coverage. 

In other words, your contract might unintentionally invalidate your coverage. 

That being said, blanket endorsements require a valid contract between the contractor and any parties that may require an additional insured status. 

But what does an additional insured endorsement look like? Look no further. Keep reading to learn how to ensure adequate coverage with a valid contractor agreement.

4 Tips on How to Ensure Coverage on a Contract 

While onboarding a new service contractor, follow these 4 simple steps to ensure your contract doesn’t unintentionally invalidate your coverage.

1. Make a Written Agreement

First things first, always be sure you have a written agreement with your contractor that requires you to be an additional insured on the CGL policy.

Note: it is also important to review agreements with contractors who may be on a legacy contract. 

2. Place Agreement Under Company Name

Next, make sure the agreement is under the company’s official name and not their dba. 

An extra tip is to ensure the name on the agreement matches the one on the contractor’s W9. Why? Because more likely than not, the W9 has been verified through the IRS. 

3. Authorize the Agreement

After placing the agreement under company name, authorize the agreement with an official, authorized signature. 

Why is this important?

Many agreements have been invalidated simply because the individual who signed was not an authorized signer of the company. 

In the case of a sole proprietor, he/she must sign themselves. On the other hand, in the case of signing with another corporation or business entity, check the Secretary of State website for a list of officers and ensure it is one of them who sign the agreement. 

4. Proof Additional Insured Parties

If there are any other parties that you require to be listed as an additional insured on the certificate, create a direct contract between them and the contractor as well. 

This will keep everyone organized and well-informed. 

By following these 4 simple steps, your company can go a long way to ensure that you are not the one that has to pay a claim when a contractor makes a mistake or causes unforeseen damage.

Ensure Your Company’s Coverage with PlusOne Solutions

Founded in 2005, PlusOne Solutions is a Nationally Accredited Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA) that specializes in helping organizations with large networks of independent contractors mitigate risks through:

  • Document management
  • Insurance
  • Background screening
  • Drug testing
  • Compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act and EEOC guidelines
  • License management
  • Badging/credentialing

 

For more information on how best to manage your contractor insurance requirements or to learn more about our Insurance Management Services, please contact us

Contents are provided for information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Users are reminded to seek legal counsel with respect to their obligations and use of PlusOne Solutions services.