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Tuesday, December 6, 2022
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Local Realty Firm’s BBB Accreditation Revoked

Business

City of Plano Water Tower | Image by Dallas Biz Journals

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Property management company OmniKey Realty had its accreditation revoked by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) last week.

The Plano-based company failed to “authenticate positive reviews submitted” for their business. In September 2021, the BBB determined that many positive reviews they had received for the realty company were allegedly fake reviews left by OmniKey employees.

The company told the BBB that they do not solicit positive reviews from customers with incentives. They emphasized that their business has struggled with customer relations and reviews since COVID, as their job entails “kicking people out of their homes left and right.”

The company, which has been in business for 16 years, has had 42 BBB complaints since 2019, only nine of which were resolved. In 2022 so far, they have had eight complaints. While all the complaints were answered, none of the complainants officially accepted the company’s response via the BBB, and the complaints remain unresolved.

The positive reviews stopped for six months, only to start up again in March 2022. The BBB accused the company of violating the bureau’s standards as well as the guidelines for reviews that the Federal Trade Commission has set:

Don’t ask for reviews only from people you think will leave positive ones.

If you offer an incentive to consumers for leaving a review, don’t make it a condition of leaving a positive review.

Don’t prevent or discourage people from submitting negative reviews.

The business allegedly admitted to some of the reviews being fake. OmniKey general counsel David Kane apparently stated that some of the fake reviews were left by employees on behalf of tenants, and some were employees’ reviews of their work experience with OmniKey.

BBB spokesperson Monica Horton told The Dallas Morning News there was “ample evidence the reviews were fake.” She said the bureau revoked accreditation for 47 companies in 2021. Only one was for fake reviews; most others were for failing to respond to complaints.

OmniKey appealed the revocation of its accreditation, but the BBB standards committee rejected its appeal.

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