Anatomy of a “Best Doctors and Dentists Award” [Marketing] Scam

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What is the value of an honor if it costs $6,000?

By D. Kellus Pruitt DDS

I apologize for misleading those I recklessly told that my name will appear in the December edition of TIME magazine as one of the winners of the Texas Best Doctors and Dentists Award. It’s been an embarrassing learning experience, and my pride is a little wounded from not recognizing signs that an ambitious salesperson in California was lying to me. But I’ll get over it, and will be wiser for the experience.

Wishful Thinking

Looking back on my wishful thinking, I should have known the honor of appearing in TIME magazine simply sounded too good to be true. On the bright side, in preparation for photos that weren’t taken, I did get my hair cut and vacuumed my office for this morning’s interview-turned-sales pitch.

About a month ago, a Texas Best Doctors and Dentists representative calling from a few feet south of the San Francisco Ethics Commission made it past my office manager and got me on the phone. Anthony, whose last name is unintelligible in the recording of our conversation, told me that I had been chosen by the Tarrant County Community to receive the 2012 Award, and would be featured along with other winners in TIME.

“Alright, how much does this cost?”

“There’s no cost to receive the award Doctor, or to appear in TIME magazine. You’ve been chosen based on your reputation in the Tarrant County community.

“OK, what are you selling?”

“We’re not selling anything, Doctor. You know this is the first time TIME magazine is featuring this award and what they are trying to do is they are trying to conduct their readers to the best doctors and dentists from local communities in America.”

Surveys Determine Award Winners?

When I asked him how I was chosen, he explained that the Texas Best Doctors and Dentists Awards firm was hired by TIME to conduct surveys of local specialists and research the popular dentist ratings websites to determine the award winners. Up until he said, “You may be familiar with droogle … “ in two syllables instead of four (DR.Oogle – doctoroogle.com), his pitch was credible. Even though I recognized the faux pas instantly, rather than probing a little deeper and asking him just one more common sense question – perhaps about how the “advertorial” insert in the Texas edition of TIME will be paid for – I apologized to Anthony for rudely assuming he was trying to sell me something. It was then that he knew I wanted to believe him more than experience. That’s the anatomy of a scam, even though no money was exchanged in the lesson.

A Legitimate [Free] Award

The award is indeed legitimate. I won it because of the kindness of my wonderful staff, patients and local colleagues. But I’m by far not the only dentist interviewed in Tarrant County like Anthony said. That was just one more lie targeting my pride – enticing me to consent to today’s interview. Only hours ago, I learned that 100 dentists in the state won the award, so there are probably a couple of dozen award winning dentists like me in Tarrant County.

Declining the Paid Upgrade

Even though I declined to purchase advertisement from Texas Best Doctors and Dentist today, my name will still be listed on the Texas Best Doctors and Dentists Website free of charge, and I’ll also receive a “nice plaque” in the mail in a week or so that will have the TIME magazine logo on it. All I had to do was listen to a 30 minute sales pitch for upgrading my free, ordinary listing on Texas Best Doctors and Dentists Website to something that might attract patients.

Who Needs It?

As far as my name appearing in the advertorial insert in the December edition of TIME magazine, statewide recognition of dentists’ efforts to please patients naturally can’t be given away. Oh hell no. In spite of what Anthony said, a write-up in TIME costs award winners $6,000. I’m certain those who say nice things about my staff and me don’t want us to raise fees to cover the expense of statewide advertising. Who needs it?

Assessment

I don’t think I have room on my wall for a Texas Best Doctors and Dentists Award plaque with a TIME magazine logo. I’m trying to find a place to hang my 1972, B – Team high school basketball plaque I came across while cleaning my office for a surprise sales pitch with no photos.

Conclusion

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20 Responses

  1. Darrell,

    Thanks for your honesty … hubris and ego.

    Mary

    Like

  2. Thank you, Mary

    I’m working on my complaint to TIME about the deception. That was simply dishonest, and it would be wrong for me to just silently walk away.

    Darrell

    Like

  3. I have a complaint, TIME

    Even though I was outwitted by a TIME magazine business partner’s use of a primitive sales strategy called “lying,” I’m nevertheless coming off a huge, tangible victory this week over BCBS of Texas. Without any help from shy Texas Dental Association leaders, I successfully used social network transparency to force the unresponsive dinosaur to abandon their unfair NPI requirement for non-contracted dentists who send only paper dental claims, like me.

    I’ve recently caught a lot of hell from HIT stakeholders for saying this, but the US Mail is simply safer than the internet when security really matters. The relatively small amount of money I spend on postage as a favor to my patients is worth the high level of security they expect. It also helps keep Mike employed. He’s my trustworthy postman.

    I intend to handle my struggle with slow-moving TIME in a similarly transparent manner:

    From: Darrell [mailto:darrelldk@tx.rr.com]
    Sent: Sunday, March 11, 2012 2:50 PM
    To: ‘letters@time.com’
    Subject: I have a complaint, TIME

    Dear TIME magazine, C suite:

    Just how proud should this dentist feel for being selected to appear in TIME magazine’s Texas Best Dentists advertorial if I must pay $6,000 up front? And can the cost of the esteemed honor be written off like any other expensive, state-wide advertisement for a neighborhood dentist?

    A poorly supervised telephone solicitor working for Texas Best Doctors and Dentists Awards, your business partner, lied to me a month ago to get me to schedule Friday’s “interview” in my office – purportedly to obtain necessary background information and prove I’m a real person. Had I known we were actually scheduling a 30 minute face-to-face sales pitch with a PR firm representative, nobody’s time would have been wasted. More important to me, I would have never told my patients, family and friends that my practice will be honored in TIME magazine. Many were so happy for me that they excitedly told other friends and family. Now I’ve got to go back on my word because I trusted TIME’s credibility when I shouldn’t have. It won’t happen again.

    Once I confess that I was fooled by a marketing scam, do you think those dear to me will be more likely or less likely to share future good news about my practice? Even though I’ll never buy another of your magazines, several of those I fail to warn will purchase the December edition – expecting to see my name. What will they think of my credibility?

    Anthony, whose last name is conveniently unintelligible in the recording of our telephone conversation, told me that I had been chosen by the Tarrant County Community to receive the 2012 Award, and that my practice will be featured along with other Texas award winners in December.

    “Alright, how much does this cost?”

    “There’s no cost to receive the award Doctor, or to appear in TIME magazine. You’ve been chosen based on your reputation in the Tarrant County community.”

    “OK, what are you selling?”

    “We’re not selling anything, Doctor. You know this is the first time TIME magazine is featuring this award and what they are trying to do is they are trying to conduct their readers to the best doctors and dentists from local communities in America.”

    When I asked him how I was chosen, he explained that the Texas Best Doctors and Dentists Awards firm was hired by TIME to conduct surveys of local specialists and research the popular dentist ratings websites to determine the award winners. That made me feel so damn proud that I apologized to Anthony for rudely assuming he was trying to sell me something. At that point, I was putty.

    During Friday’s interview-turned-sales pitch, I learned that I’m not the only dentist in Tarrant County being honored as Anthony led me to believe – again, targeting my vulnerable pride with a lie. It turns out that I’m one of 100 dentists in the state who scheduled interviews. Tarrant County probably has a couple of dozen award winning suckers.

    As far as my name appearing in TIME as congratulatory recognition of efforts to give patients my very best care, I pried it out early in the interview that that the honor costs $6,000. I’m certain those who say nice things about my staff and me don’t want us to raise fees to cover the expense of a statewide advertisement. Who needs it?

    You owe it to the nation to stop the damage now, TIME.

    I think you agree that at this point, the only ethical thing for TIME to do is to get in touch with every dentist in the nation who was contacted by Anthony to stop them from unwittingly damaging their own reputations like I have mine. It’s only fair that they be warned, and the sooner you do the right thing, the more dentists you will save from personal embarrassment. I can tell you from firsthand experience that Anthony is a gifted liar. So you’ve got your work cut out for you.

    D. Kellus Pruitt DDS

    Like

  4. Unresponsiveness no longer hides dinosaurs

    TIME magazine is too fat and moves much too slow to hide from accountability. Today, I sent the following note to Josh Ozersky – a frequent contributor to “TIME Ideas.” It is awaiting moderation.

    http://ideas.time.com/2012/03/14/pink-slime-and-the-problem-of-viral-activism-2/

    ————————-

    Dear Josh Ozersky,

    From my location in Fort Worth, Texas, the banner advertisement at the top of the page of your TIME article reads “TexasDoctorAwards.com – Find a Doctor or Dentist.” TIME signed an “advertorial” deal with the PR firm a few months ago, and I am one of many dentists whom the contractor misled about appearing in it.

    In describing the benefits of transparency with TIME readers in your article “Pink Slime and the Problem of Viral Campaigns,” you write: “It’s really in those kind forums, where arguments can go back and forth, that what used to be called ‘the public sphere’ still exists. It’s great that viral campaigns actually can accomplish some things, but it’s when they actually get people discussing issues, rather than reacting to them as if they were baby-sloth videos, time wasters amid their actual work, that they do the most good. Maybe we should eat more pink slime, maybe we should eat less: but at least we are talking about it, not just dealing out mindless approval or scorn.”

    What a perfect opportunity! Since I cannot get a response to my complaint elsewhere, your open-mindedness tells me that rather than waiting on an anonymous TIME executive who doesn’t care about business ethics, it is here where I should present this problem. Here is a complaint that TIME can’t face. Maybe you can help, Josh: (See “I have a complaint, TIME,” March 11, 2012)

    https://medicalexecutivepost.com/2012/03/10/the-anatomy-of-a-best-doctors-and-dentists-award-marketing-scam/#comment-11805

    D. Kellus Pruitt DDS

    Like

  5. On TIME

    TIME magazine is vulnerable to accountability. Please allow TIME’s contributing author Mitch Lipka and me show you why.

    Even though it’s been a couple of weeks, I’m still steamed with myself for falling for a sleazy “advertorial” marketing scam hatched in October by TIME magazine’s slow-moving PR fossils and TexasDoctorAwards.com.

    http://www.texasdoctorawards.com/

    Did I mention that I intend to use Facebook to hold TIME magazine executives accountable for stinking up my neighborhood? As luck would have it, Mitch is also a fan of using Facebook to hold huge, insensitive business entities accountable. He doesn’t know it yet, but he’s going to help me – even if by default.

    Mitch Lipka is a frequent contributor to TIME’s Moneyland section and is innocent of his bosses’ bad manners. Nevertheless, the article he posted today is directly under a banner ad for TexasDoctorAwards.com – which financed his “Many Big Retailers Don’t Respond to Customer Questions on Facebook.” That makes Mitch convenient as well as handy.

    http://moneyland.time.com/2012/03/27/many-big-retailers-dont-respond-to-customer-questions-on-facebook/

    What’s even more special, Mitch has a hard-won national reputation for successfully fighting sleazy consumer scams – not unlike TexasDoctorAwards.com’s. He is editor of TheConsumerChronicle.com and is a veteran consumer columnist, editor and reporter. He received the 2010 New York Press Club award for best consumer writing on the web and is the 2011 Best Friend honoree from Kids in Danger for his work covering child product safety. Mitch has been a reporter and editor for more than 25 years and has worked for The Philadelphia Inquirer, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and Consumer Reports. (from his bio). The journalist has much more to lose than I do.

    Here is the comment I posted following his article which celebrates internet transparency (outside TIME magazine Headquarters). Mitch Lipka and I were destined to meet the instant the fuzzy contract between TexasDoctorAwards.com and TIME magazine was signed:

    ———————–

    Mitch Lipka, you cannot imagine how happy I was to read your informative article in TIME magazine titled “Many Big Retailers Don’t Respond to Customer Questions on Facebook.” I also noticed the banner ad for TexasDoctorAwards.com which paid for your work.

    According to your article, Jordy Leiser, the CEO of the customer service evaluation company STELLAService, said that if you want to use Facebook to deal with a retailer, one should be concise and polite, and include all relevant information needed to get an answer. As you will see in the email I sent to TIME magazine (follow link below), I tried that.

    “If you don’t hear back within 24 hours, Leiser suggested using another means to get in touch with the company.” It’s been over 2 weeks, Mitch. So I’m going for another means to get in touch with TIME – you.

    Would you please remind your boss that I’m still awaiting their response to my complaint about TIME’s advertorial scam? Just like many of the businesses you criticize, your own boss is unresponsive.

    Mitch, just today I had to apologize to another friend for leading him to believe that my name will be listed in the December edition of TIME magazine based on a TIME business associate’s lies. With that in mind, I politely ask you to remind your boss that my opinion of TIME magazine’s ethics was picked up on March 10 by the Medical Executive-Post under the title, “Anatomy of a “Best Doctors and Dentists Award” [Marketing] Scam,” and that this letter to you will probably be picked up as well.

    https://medicalexecutivepost.com/2012/03/10/the-anatomy-of-a-best-doctors-and-dentists-award-marketing-scam/

    What’s more, shortly after “Anatomy” was posted, it rose in popularity to number 1, and even returned to the top dozen favorites for a short time just this morning (before the above link was posted on several Facebook Walls). Be sure to tell your boss that the ME-P has almost 400,000 readers – many of them are doctors who might have otherwise fallen for TIME’s marketing scam like I did.

    I’m so glad you are out there fighting scams perpetrated by huge, insensitive business entities, Mitch.

    D. Kellus Pruitt DDS

    Like

  6. Did you ever receive your plaque for being “selected”?

    J. Eric Hibbs, DDS

    Like

  7. Not yet, Eric. According to what I was told, I should be receiving it any day. I’ll try to post a photo once it gets here.

    D. Kellus Pruitt DDS

    Like

  8. Answer my complaint – TIME

    Here is a comment I posted today on TIME Techland concerning my unanswered complaint about TexasDoctorsAwards.com. It’s not over.

    ————–

    http://techland.time.com/2012/04/03/arizona-looks-to-outlaw-internet-trolling/

    Jared Newman, do you know what I find annoying? The banner ad for TexasDoctorsAwards.com which paid for your TIME article, “Arizona Looks to Outlaw Internet Trolling.” Please forward this to your boss. I’m trolling for accountability.

    How about it, C-suite?

    As one of TIME’s “Texas Best Doctors” who was fooled, it’s only fair that I warn your readers, and especially naive dentists and physicians, that neither TIME nor their business partner, TexasDoctorsAwards.com can be trusted.

    Now, imagine someone airing grievances like this on the internet while standing in Arizona following the governor’s approval of House Bill 2549 – making it “unlawful for any person, with intent to terrify, intimidate, threaten, harass, annoy or offend, to use ANY ELECTRONIC OR DIGITAL DEVICE.” If I should use an opportunity like this to remind TIME executives that I’m still awaiting their reply to my complaint about TexasDoctorsAwards’ dishonesty, could I in turn become hassled by TIME’s attorneys for being annoying – even if TIME’s business partner annoyed me first?

    Nevertheless, Doc, if a “Best Doctors” representative calls to inform you that you won a statewide award, go ahead and accept the plaque, but don’t waste your time with scheduling time for an interview. All the PR firm wants is a one-on-one appointment to sell you one-time statewide ad in TIME for $6000. The cost of the advertorial won’t be revealed until the interview, and expect the caller to even lie about it if asked.

    My complaint about the poor business ethics was picked up by the Medical Executive-Post as a featured article on March 10, and it has become very popular. (See: “Anatomy of a ‘Best Doctors and Dentists Award’ [Marketing] Scam”).

    https://medicalexecutivepost.com/2012/03/10/the-anatomy-of-a-best-doctors-and-dentists-award-marketing-scam/

    So if HB 2549 is approved, would that make the ME-P an accomplice in annoying PR specialists and TIME executives?

    By the way, great article, Jared Newman.

    D. Kellus Pruitt DDS

    Like

  9. TIME censors complaints

    Know how TIME magazine PR geniuses handle internet complaints? They delete ‘em.

    Today I submitted a second comment to follow Jared Newman’s article posted on TIME Techland titled, “Arizona Looks to Outlaw Internet Trolling.”

    http://techland.time.com/2012/04/03/arizona-looks-to-outlaw-internet-trolling/

    ————

    Jared Newman, I see you censored my complaint against TIME and the PR firm, TexasDoctorsAwards. Perhaps you weren’t aware that censorship is aggression. What’s more, the TexasDoctorsAwards ad sitting next to this article about internet trolls continues to help pay your salary while further inflaming your insult to this troll.

    A month ago, a TexasDoctorsAwards sales rep visiting my office sincerely apologized when she discovered that before I scheduled the “interview” with her, I was told over the phone that the award was free – twice. I even offered to play the recorded conversation for her, which she declined. Embarrassed and furious, she revealed that this wasn’t the first time a co-worker had lied to award winners about TIME’s advertorial. As she was calling her supervisor to complain in my presence, I told her that the caller said his name was Anthony. “That’s the one,” she replied.

    From listening to her side of the conversation with an unnamed TexasDoctorsAwards official, it became clear to me that TIME’s partner has winked at deceit for a while – probably from the beginning of the joint advertorial campaign a few months ago. I imagine that until I complained to TIME officials in an email last month, they honestly had no clue that customers are being told lies to sell ad space.

    Jared, though you offered no warning or explanation before censoring my comment, you simply must have shared it with your bosses like I requested. I would think that by now, there is at least one TIME official who recognizes that ambitious, well-meaning company leaders accidentally entangled the publishing giant in a marketing scam run by an unscrupulous PR firm.

    This time, I’m asking you to inform your boss that my complaint which you successfully hid from a dozen or so of your fans was picked up by the Medical Executive-Post – which has a readership of almost 400,000. (See: “Answer my complaint – TIME,” April 5, 2012).

    https://medicalexecutivepost.com/2012/03/10/the-anatomy-of-a-best-doctors-and-dentists-award-marketing-scam/#comment-11964

    I feel confident that TIME’s leaders will eventually choose to accept ownership of their public relations disaster. Because until that happens, an infuriated customer they evade is likely to raise hell in the front of their store any time I see a TexasDoctorsAwards ad – and just for grins. I bet more than one reformed good ol’ boy at TIME has learned that transparency makes flouting accountability far too risky. In the land of the free, even TIME’s most annoying customers are ALWAYS right, and now we are also empowered.

    It’s actually not at all unusual for anonymous, secretive leaders of huge, unaccountable organizations to helplessly whine about trolls. As a matter of fact, your article reveals that trolls have caused shy, but well-connected CEOs and politicians so much embarrassment that Arizona lawmakers have voted to outlaw customer complaints.

    I bet that idea works just swell with Arizonians in the summer heat.

    D. Kellus Pruitt DDS

    Like

  10. Darrell,

    As a financial advisor for decades, this and similar ad ploys have been around for years; sorry you were so naive.

    Jimbo

    Like

  11. The end of innocence

    Just as you learned years ago, Jimbo, regardless how plausible a scam sounds, hindsight ends both naivety and amicable trust in others.

    The representative of TIME magazine, a trusted news institution that has been around for decades, repeated that the award was free even when I asked him a second time. Anthony (last name unintelligible) added it was TIME’s way of honoring dentists who are respected by both patients and colleagues in their communities. That fits.

    Yep, I was fooled by a talented liar. I’m not proud of it, but those things happen. I know now that I should have asked Anthony how he spells his last name and how the advertorial was being funded… But he would have probably lied about that as well.

    The end of innocence.

    Hopefully my story has stopped Anthony from telling lies to other naive doctors and dentists who still have a tendency to trust people. At least that’s something positive.

    Darrell

    Like

  12. Dental Media

    The reason dentists are unfairly represented in the media is because nobody knows us.

    To start things off, dentists as people are mysteries to at least half of the population which rarely if ever visit us. That makes it even easier for reporters, who also may have never known a dentist, to define who we are according to the needs of the story rather than reality.

    But it is our traditional, silent stoicism some would call “professional behavior” which sets us up as defenseless, mute stooges for ambitious reporters who easily create popular outrage over professionals who are assumed to be rich. Unlike other areas of the economy, transparency hasn’t yet reached dentistry. That makes our brand vulnerable. Just look at the influence insurers have over treatment decisions of our patients – just because dentists don’t complain.

    It’s our own obsolete, maladaptive habits which help news sources to attract revenue at our patients’ expense.

    Darrell K. Pruitt DDS

    Like

  13. C O N T I N E N T A L B R O A D C A S T I N G N E T W O R K I N C

    Darrell – I received this email today. I wonder if it is just another marketing scam, of similar ilk, to the one you noted above?

    #####

    July 3, 2012

    It is with great pride I announce your candidacy to be published in the time-honored “Who’s Who” publication of professionals and executives. We are dedicated to the recognition of excellence, spotlighting men and women who strive to achieve their goals and are making a difference in their respective fields.

    We request that you submit your biographical profile A.S.A.P. Once completed our clients and additionally our member roster will be able to consult and do business with you. Our Editorial Director can coordinate and work with you, so that we may meet our publishing timetables.

    We wish you much continued success.

    Published biography:
    http://www.DavidE.Marcinko.verified-professionalsdb.com

    Marcy Kingston
    Publishing Coordinator

    Like

  14. I think I can help you with this, David

    As one who is happy to share the important lesson I learned about allowing pride to overrule common sense, my mistake was failing to ask who was funding the “Texas Best Dentist Award” before going to the trouble of cleaning up my personal office for what turned out to be a one-on-one sales pitch.

    I’m still awaiting the plague I was promised – signifying that TIME magazine’s advertising department thinks I’m a swell dentist … even if I didn’t spend $6000 on their ad campaign.

    I think TIME magazine changed its mind about my skills.

    Darrell

    Like

  15. Dog Nearly Fetches Prestigios Financial Advisor Honor

    According to money journalists Max Tailwagger and Allan Roth of MoneyWatch, the trade publication Medical Economics Magazine [“advertising supplement”] nearly listed a dog on its’ 2013 list of Best Financial Advisors for Doctors.

    Indeed, being listed as a top financial advisor in this publication would enhance any advisor’s credibility as well as reach a high income readership. For example, several advisors in the Financial Planning Association, mentions this prestigious award year after year. And, the NAPFA organization of fee-only financial planners has issued press releases when member advisors make this annual list. In fact, in 2008, it touted that 52/150 listed FAs were NAPFA members.

    Yet, the dog is well known in the financial advisory world, having allegedly received a plaque as one of 2009 America’s Top Financial Planners by the Consumers’ Research Council of America, and has appeared in several books including Pound Foolish and Money for Life.

    The fee for Maxwell Tailwagger CFP® [a five year old Dachshund] was reported to be $750 with $1,000 for a bold listing. Colorado Securities Commissioner Fred Joseph is reported to have said, “Once again, Max is gaining national notoriety for his astute, and almost superhuman, abilities in the financial arena.”

    The only two qualifications for the listing were to pay the fee and not have a complaint against them. In 2009, James Putman, then the NAPFA chairman who touted his own Medical Economics award, was charged by the SEC for securities fraud. NAPFA spokesperson Laura Fisher allegedly opined that “NAPFA no longer promotes the Medical Economics Top Advisors for Doctors list. We felt promoting a list that included stock-brokers was inconsistent with NAPFA’s mission to advance the fee-only profession.”

    Lessons Learned

    When an advisor name drops an honor to you, congratulate him and then ask how s/he achieved the award. Ask how many nominees versus award recipients there were. What were the criteria for selection and how were they nominated. Ask if they had to pay for the honor. Then get online and check out the organization.

    Then ask yourself this question: If your financial advisor is buying credibility, do you really want to trust your financial future to her?

    Source: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/dog-nearly-fetches-prestigious-financial-advisor-honor/

    Adam
    http://www.amazon.com/Insurance-Management-Strategies-Physicians-Advisors/dp/0763733423/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1275315795&sr=1-3

    Like

  16. Consumer Info

    Giving consumers information and data on providers’ quality of care and clinical results is one important path to enhanced transparency, patient engagement, and better health care.

    http://thehealthcareblog.com/blog/2016/04/12/all-providers-are-not-equal/

    But, all providers are not the same.

    Hope Hetico RN MHA

    Like

  17. Thank you for spreading the voice

    The same ‘Top Rated Doctors’ organization approached our office not long ago with the same ad ploy but to appear in a Dr. Oz segment, the exact same gig but just replace TIME with Dr. Oz.

    Fortunately we were very skeptic in the beginning and didn’t hurt our own reputation by telling our patients, friends and colleges of the forthcoming Dr. Oz appearance, but after the sale pitch was reveled as the real deal behind the choosing of our practice we conclude that it was an elaborated scam and this article really help us to avoid becoming another victim of ‘Top Rated Doctors’.

    Thank you for spreading the voice.

    Archaio

    Like

  18. If you can’t say something nice …

    Imagine your dentist threatening a lawsuit if you say anything bad about the practice. How would that make you feel?

    “Texas consumers won a big case in late August for their right to complain about a company online — as more people are complaining about companies trying to keep them from exercising that right.” (See: “Beware of gag clauses designed to thwart online complaints about businesses” By Teresa McUsic for the Fort Worth Star Telegram, October 21, 2016).

    http://www.star-telegram.com/news/business/biz-columns-blogs/teresa-mcusic/article109678962.html

    McUsic: “Angie’s List excluded four companies from its list in the past four years because of the [nondisparagement ] clause — two dentists, a property manager and a lawn irrigation company.”

    Cheryl Reed, spokeswoman for Angie’s List tells the Star Telegram, “We see these clauses as huge red flags. Either the company doesn’t trust their customers will tell the truth or they are not concerned with their service to change their practice when they meet negative reviews.”

    Personally, I cannot imagine trying to coerce my patients into signing a nondisparagement clause. What’s more, I made improvements in my practice based on information from each of the 3 negative reviews I have received over the last decade.

    https://www.idoctoroogle.com/83147-fort-worth-dentist-dr-darrell-pruitt

    The other 153 reviews are very nice.

    D. Kellus Pruitt DDS

    Like

  19. Here is my review I posted on Pissed Consumer today

    Yelp is a scam! I wish I would have read Pissed Consumer before I fell for Yelp’s ad. I thought I was getting $400 of free advertising and it turned into over $700, including $525 after I cancelled my account … And I never received even one new dental patient for my effort!

    Yelp is worthless! I have been hearing rumors about Yelp for years but I didn’t believe them. I wish I had. All their bad reviews are true. Do not ever agree to advertise with the company.

    Yelp is the most dishonest company I have ever done business with. STAY AWAY FROM YELP!

    Darrell K. Pruitt DDS

    Liked by 1 person

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