People can vote for as many essays as they choose, but only get one vote per essay. Students are encouraged to share their essay with friends and family or on social media to generate more votes. Only votes from the scholarship website will be considered. Only one essay per state will be chosen to receive the $2,000 scholarship. 

Elizabeth Drew Stern – Bozeman High School

How to Know That You Are Dealing with a Trustworthy Company

In today’s day and age, many people shop online and never actually set foot in the store that they are purchasing products from.  People are finding the convenience of shopping online too alluring to pass up.  A simple click of a button gives us access to goods and services from all over the world.  Although it’s quite easy and convenient to shop this way, there are also risks associated with this type of consumerism.  Unfortunately, many people who purchase online end up not getting anything in return for what they paid.  Luckily, there are some things that consumers can do in order to prevent being scammed by an online fraudulent company.

One of the first things that a consumer can do to check on a company’s legitimacy is to visit the web site of the company that they are dealing with in order to verify the company’s phone number and physical location (if there is one). A trustworthy company would allow the consumer to contact them via a phone number that can be found on their web site. Placing a phone call to the company in question and speaking with a representative would help in verifying the company. If a phone number is not easily obtainable on the company’s web site or if the phone number listed on the web site does not get answered by an employee of the company, this might indicate a problem.

Another step that a consumer can take to ensure that they are dealing with a dependable company is to thoroughly go through the company’s web site. If there are mistakes regarding the products being offered or contradictions on the web site, this could be an indication that something is not right. One example of this would be misspelled words or grammatical errors.

Most companies will have a terms and conditions link or a terms of use link that will allow consumers to see this part of the company’s business policy. If these policies are no where to be found on the web site for the customer to access, this could be another sign of a non-reliable company.

Finally, one of the best sources of information regarding a company in doubt is the Better Business Bureau. Consumers can contact the local BBB for the city from which the company is conducting business.  The BBB often has data on local companies as well as information on previous disputes that companies may have had with other consumers.  If a company is a member of their local BBB, it’s a good bet that they are a trustworthy company to do business with.

Although it’s very convenient to shop online, it is necessary for consumers to do their homework on the company they are going to do business with.  A little time spent researching who you are doing business with can go a long way towards preventing an unpleasant experience.

About BBB Northwest + Pacific Torch Talk

Torch Talk is an online and printed resource for both consumer and business news. It serves as a tool for businesses and consumers to learn more about the latest news and scam alerts, helpful business tips, BBB events and programs, and more. For more information or to subscribe, visit